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What to do when 'los abuelos' need assistance according to Matrix Home Care

MIAMI (Business Wire)

MIAMI (June, 2010) - In many Hispanic families, los abuelos provide a strong foundation for younger generations. That can create a difficult situation when an aging abuelo (grandfather), abuela (grandmother), tio (uncle) or tia (aunt) needs assistance. "Hispanic families know that aging is a natural part of life," said Alexander Fiuza, PhD, director of client services for Miami-Dade and Broward Counties, Matrix Home Care. "Our abuelos have worked hard in this country and deserve to be treated with care, dignity and respect."

A native of Miami with Cuban roots, Fiuza holds a doctorate in psychology, and works closely with Hispanic families facing care-related issues. "Abuelos frequently look at an outside caregiver as someone who will take control of their lives," he said. "Their biggest fear is losing their independence and privacy. Therefore, it is important for younger family members to honor those values."

When taking with your abuelo, Fiuza says it's mportant to be both positive and supportive. "You could tell a forgetful grandparent, 'I know you have a lot on your mind, so I will help you by handling your checking account and paying your bills.' That's a good example of how a family member can provide assistance."

Preparing meals for their abuelos is another way that family members can demonstrate their care and concern, said Fiuza. In Cuban-American homes, that could mean cooking potaje (stew), soup or porridge with chicken or beef. However, other Hispanic cultures may take a different approach to nutrition, such as serving smaller portions to an ailing abuelo. "It's important for younger family members to agree on a caregiving strategy, even if they have different backgrounds," Fiuza said. Because families have traditionally been the sole source of support for aging abuelos, many younger Hispanics are not aware of the wealth of Spanish-language resources available for aging relatives in South Florida. Fiuza said adult day care activities, transportation services, meal delivery and other programs can significantly improve an abuelo's physical and emotional health, as well as overall quality of life.

In any case, Fiuza says abuelos should be treated with honor as they age. "Our abuelos are sacred to the family," he said. "Whenever we have extra time, we should stop by, say hello and give them a hug. We should celebrate our abuelos now, because one day they will be gone."

About Matrix

Based in West Palm Beach, Matrix provides a complete array of services, home health care, disability management so injured employees can quickly return to work, independent senior care based on the needs of the elderly and specialty nurses' services, including wound care, infusion therapy and rehabilitation nursing. Certified as a woman minority owned business, Matrix serves Southwest and Southeast Florida from locations in Tampa, Bradenton, Venice, Boca Raton, Pompano Beach and Coral Gables. For more information, www.matrixhomecare.com.

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