Things are much better since I told Mom the truth.


I was having a great deal of difficulty with mom (with dementia) wanting, begging and demanding to go home from assisted living. I tried to divert the conversation, "therapeutic fibbing", putting her off, etc. and nothing worked. Finally, I just told her the truth. I said, "mom, we are not taking you home"! "You are so much better now than you were at home and you are safe". This is where we feel that you need to be". After getting angry, she settled down and has not mentioned going home again. I'm not saying that this will work for everyone, but I just couldn't bear the thought that she woke up every morning expecting to go home. I know she may forget this in a few days, but I will just consistently say the same thing and keep moving forward. I've told my family to say the same thing to her if she asks them about going home and everyone has agreed.

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My mom lives with me now and always says "I want to go home." At first I would tell her "mom this is home." and would try and explain to her what happened and why she is here now. But after doing this so many times. I finally figured out that when she says," I want to go home." it simply means, I want to go lay down. So now when she asks to go home?, "I ask if she wants to go lay down?" ... she nods her head.

It sounds like you did the right thing, Abby. There is much advice for how to handle situations and conversations with people with dementia, but people are different. We have to tailor the advice to what we feel might work for our individual case. Each person has a distinct personality before dementia and damage in different areas of the brain after. Someone who knows the person knows if the advice given will work with their loved one at that point in time. (Of course, what may work today may not work next week.)

I think you did and said the right thing. My mom's story was different and there were a couple really hard things I never told her, but then she did NOT want to go home unless she could walk, did not even want to visit her home or mine, but just wanted to hope and imagine things could get better and she would someday. Under these circumstances that was a brave and honest thing to do and framed in a good way, so not at all unkind...I hope it "sticks!"