A Family’s Devotion

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When the term caregiver is used, the typical assumption is that it is an adult child caring for an elderly loved one. What Brenda Fiorini’s parents prove, however, is that roles do not always reverse, but the devotion to one’s children always lasts forever.

Now 47 years old, Brenda was born mentally disabled with a seizure disorder and severe speech issues. While her father was a bricklayer and owned a hardware store, her mother tended to all of Brenda’s needs. However, about 10 years ago, her mother started experiencing health problems.

“With our mother’s many health issues and frequent hospital stays we thought it would benefit Brenda to have a daily structured environment,” said Donna May, Brenda’s youngest sister.

For Donna and her other sister Karen Cunningham, both having families of their own, taking care of Brenda is difficult in the years to come.

The family turned to funding from the Developmental Disabilities Administration of Maryland but was very unhappy with the two facilities that would provide services in their area.

Donna began searching for various adult day medical centers that Brenda could attend. Fortunately, she soon found Active Day, an adult day care center in Parkville that Brenda now attends Monday through Friday every week. Transportation is provided to and from the center.

“Since artwork is what she most loves to do, their huge art room is her favorite part,” said Donna.

Brenda also enjoys the music programs, dancing and socialization of the day center as she is well known for her hokey-pokey dance.

Referring to Active Day as a “country club,” Donna has noticed a positive and friendlier change in her sister since she began spending her weekdays there. “She is more independent,” she said. “The people there just do really well with my sister and we’re very happy with them.”

Brenda’s family is delighted to have found not only a structured environment for her, but a place where she can have fun with others on a daily basis. Families can face different struggles and Brenda and Donna’s prove that caregiving, no matter the roles, is about working together to ensure each other’s happiness.

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