A unique story testifying to the bond between father and daughter has set parts of the internet on fire.
Luis, a 78-old-year old dad living in Spain, was forced into a retirement home because of a loss of independence.
This separated Luis from his inseparable, 38-year-old daughter, Estefania, who was born with Down Syndrome.
Although Estefania lives in the same centre as her father, their necessary level of care requires separate dorms.
While Luis, who suffers from dementia, could still see Estefania, his dementia complicated the heart-wrenching goodbyes, every time father and daughter were separated.
Aleteia, one of the few English-speaking news sites to cover the heartwarming story, recounted that Luis, ‘didn’t understand why his daughter was being taken away.’
Staff struggled to ‘explain that his daughter was going to have a snack or that she was going to do activities with her companions.’
Helping Luis resolve his separation anxiety, centre psychologist Vanesa López Manchón decided to work with his strengths.
Luis ‘retained the ability to read’, Manchon said.
The psychologist then came up with the idea of writing him a note, to remind Luis that staff would help him see his daughter if they were asked.
This was accompanied by a ‘distinctive sign’ which allowed Luis a way to connect with Estefania through their windows.
Luis and his daughter’s rooms are divided by a garden, with Luis’ window facing directly out at his daughter’s.
Having ‘dedicated his life, and heart’ to his daughter’s care, Manchon said, the team decided to put a red heart on Estefania’s window to help Luis identify her room.
The dad-and-daughter caregiving strategy worked.
Manchon’s note and symbol helped Luis understand that regardless of living in separate dorms, his daughter wasn’t too far away.
Not only did Luis find peace, the psychologist explained, ‘so beneficial were positive steps he’d made’, the centre ‘started calling Luis to participate in activities, even recreational activities’.
This allowed the dad to spend more time with his daughter. Aleteia recported that the process has ‘been beneficial for both of them because Luis goes on outings and excursions. Every time they see each other they are very happy because they help each other.’
Dads are indispensable.
The pro-dad approach appears to be part of the Casaverde Centre’s overall core philosophy of care.
For carers, the ‘involvement of family is essential to promoting the independence, autonomy and quality of life of the person’ in need of long-term care.
Vanesa Manchón and her team’s groundbreaking work reinforces the importance of healthy family bonds.
In Luis and Estefania’s case, drama-free quality time with each other has been the best medicine.
Promoting Barbie Randall’s 2018 kids’ book on prioritising family time together, the University of Alabama (UAB) backs the idea.
UAB encouraged a return to being mindful of who, where, with, and in what, we invest our time.
Randall said her reasons for writing the book were God-given, stating, “families need to focus on quality time with each other, despite hectic schedules”.
The UAB alum added,
“Put down the phones, computers, and electronic games. Spend more time interacting with each other. Our children will forever remember the quality times.”
For time-poor mums and dads, dinner is some of the best quality family time there is.
There’s good news on this front too — parents are re-discovering the communal power of the dinner table.
San Francisco-based Stanford Medicine reported a discernible decrease in families ‘eating on the run.’
They applauded the shift back to family dinners, nodding to its health benefits.
The ‘a family who sits down to eat together’ will have improved physical, and mental health.
Traditional family dining ‘helps families eat better. As well as handle the stresses of daily life and the hassles of day-to-day existence,’ Standford noted.
By making room for communication, dinnertime also offers a time for ‘respite from the hustle-bustle of everyday life.’
Photo by Kampus Production.
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