My mother, Lucille Hughes Duncan, was one of seven children born shortly after the turn of the 20th century to Elmina Love Temperance Thomas and George Hughes.
Back in the day, her great-grandfather, Colonel William Holland Thomas, was a legendary figure in western North Carolina. He was a state senator, a lawyer, a Confederate colonel and was most well known as “Little Will,” the first and only white chief of the Cherokee Indians. It is an honored legacy to my mother, and all of us. But today, at 95, mother is the only remaining sibling of her generation, and the legend of Colonel Thomas is fading from her memory. She has dementia.
My parents were good to me growing up and I am appreciative, so now I am trying to do as much as I can for as long as I can. I have found a helpful resource in CarePartners Hospice.
While CarePartners has many service areas that provide care for the elderly, it is the hospice team who is giving me the weekly help I need and the focused care mother needs. A certified registered nurse comes once a week to check her vitals and see if she needs any changes in medication and treatment. This is a big deal because it keeps me from having to upset mother’s routine and take her to the doctor’s office so often. Routine is so important to her well-being now.
Another highlight in her week is the visit by the certified nursing assistant. There is always a smile on her face, and mother enjoys her bath and getting her hair curled, something I’m not very adept at doing. We also have a social worker who comes monthly.
I often reflect on family ties and the rich history of our patriarch, Colonel Thomas. He is largely credited with keeping 1,000 of the Oconoluftee tribe in their beloved mountains. In the end, while his legacy remains unharmed, his life was destroyed by what we believe today to have been dementia. He ended up alone in a state institution in Morganton.
I am grateful to the CarePartners Hospice team for the expertise and helping hands they provide for us. They show a level of concern to try and be understanding, jovial and pleasant with her; to be a fresh face for her. The memories may never come back, but because of the compassionate care Lucille Hughes Duncan is receiving, she remains in her family home with her dignity intact.
Early hospice intervention provides greater comfort for both the patient and loved ones. For more information about CarePartners Hospice, call 828-255-0231 or visit carepartners.org.
By Paul Duncan II