Serving Seniors: Living with the unexpected changes | Lifestyle

Good morning! Have you ever thought all is well, then out of nowhere, the bottom falls out from under you and your left wondering “how could this happen?”

If you have a cold, you take medicine to relieve the symptoms. You get a flu shot to prevent the virus. Then there are more serious diseases of which there is no cure. Some things are simply out of our control.

Parkinson’s disease

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Parkinson’s disease is slowly progressive, leaving people with a difficult gait, rigid limbs, tremors, shuffling and a loss of balance. My dad had Parkinson’s disease. His gait was affected, thus his balance was also affected. The disease eventually started affecting his brain causing hallucinations.

I remember my mom called telling me that my dad was talking to me the night before and I was across the room. They lived in Alabama. I live in Florida.

When I talked on the phone with him, he said “I was talking to you last night, and now you’re not here. Where are you? ” I told him I ran some errands and I would be back soon. Patience is key. It wasn’t his fault. He had no control over it.

Alzheimer’s disease

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia. Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive, neurodegenerative disease that occurs when nerve cells in the brain die. The disease often results in impaired memory, confusion, impaired judgment and personality and behavior changes. When I brought my mother into our home, I noticed strange behavior. She though the bedroom was a hotel room.

She woke up one morning desperate for me to help her get ready for the Presbyterian Women’s Conference. (She was bedbound.) I told her the meeting was rescheduled and she had plenty of time.

I then asked what she was planning to wear. She was very detailed down to her shoes. Patience is wise. The ones who suffer from this disease or other forms of dementia have no control over it.

HPH Hospice in Lecanto will hold a presentation soon regarding these neurological diseases and conditions that are appropriate for hospice services, plus other support services available to help you with your loved one.

And just a reminder; HPH Hospice invites you to our volunteer opportunities meeting on Wednesday, June 8, from 10-11 am Call 352-359-8373 or email lucass@chaptershealth.org to RSVP or for more information. Light refreshments will be served.

Until next time, take care, stay well, and remember “what may not be altered is made lighter by patience.” —Horace

Katie Lucas is the volunteer coordinator at HPH Hospice, an affiliate Chapters Health System in Lecanto. She has a bachelor of arts degree in marketing and public relations from the University of Alabama. She is married with three children, five grandchildren and has lived in Citrus County for 32 years. She is available for speaking engagements. Lucas may be reached at lu-cass@chaptershealth.org or call 352-359-8373.

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