I'm heartbroken over mom's wanting to go home from the nursing home. What else can I do?

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My mother has been in a nursing facility for five months, and she cries and wants to go home. I can't tell her that it isn't possible for her to do so, because it would break her heart and mine. She isn't able to walk, is incontinent and has mild dementia. There isn't any way to take care of her at home. I feel so profoundly sad when she looks at me and begs me to let her go home. I would rather be dead than go through the agony of seeing her this way. I try to bring up cheerful subjects when I am with her, but she still gets emotional and cries. What else can I do?

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Your mom likely wants to go to her childhood home, because that's probably where her mind is right now. Obviously, this isn't possible. Knowing this, however, may help you a little. It's not the home that you took her from - it's a home from long ago.
Distraction and redirection - even therapeutic fibbing - seem to be the only responses that work. AD has stages, and this stage will work into something else, if that's at all comforting.
Please try to be patient, get help from the staff so everyone is on the same page,
and let go of guilty feelings. You are doing all you can in this heartbreaking situation. You will get through it.
Take care of yourself, too,
Carol
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I am a retired lawyer and I recall a case where an elderly woman was bedfast in a nursing home and in very bad shape but who passionately wanted to go home. I knew it was hopeless but it was too hard to say so. My client was bedfast with no hope of ever getting on her feet. So, I told her that she could be going home when she could get out of bed and go to the bathroom by herself. This worked and every time I saw her after that she told me how she was getting stronger and it wouldn't be long before she could go to the bathroom by herself. Of course, she never got that strong but she was far happier knowing she only had to reach a goal. I didn't lie to her, I just helped her handle a sorrowful circumstance.
Now, my wife of sixty two years is suffering dementia and constantly tells me that she wants to go home although we still live in our home of many years. She also asks me to take her to see her mother who had been dead for over 30 years. I handle both cases by telling my wife that I will take her there as soon as she gives me the address. That seems not to disturb her but it is an end to the discussion. I love my wife and I would not hurt her for anything. However she brings these things up several times a day. How easy it is to simply divert her attention.
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She may literally want to leave the nursing home and go to her house. But be aware that many dementia patients cry to go home EVEN WHEN THEY ARE AT HOME. If you could change her care setting it would not necessarily solve this particular problem. My heart goes out to both of you. You both want the world the way it used to be. That world is over.

Dementia progresses. If she has mild dementia now it is not going to go away or improve. The best you can hope for is that it progresses very slowly.

Can you talk to the NH social worker? In his or her experience, what approaches are helpful in cases like this?

Have you talked to her doctors? Do they have any suggestions for ways to improve her level of happiness? Is she taking anything for the dementia? Should she be?

Again, my heart goes out to you. I hope that your profound sadness is not tinged with guilt. This is not your fault.
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Springrobin, I am so sorry that you have this burden to carry. I went through it my self for 3 years. My mom didn't have dementia, but there was a lot she didn't understand- like that my marriage was crumbling around me while I struggled to care for her at home. My sister had moved to Ohio [8 hrs away] and came to see her ONCE and then attended mom's funeral! Mom couldn't understand why my sis didn't visit [not that I understand it, either!] She didn't understand how frail she had become and that she couldn't do things to help me around the house, like cooking and running the vacuum, which would make my husband not resent her being there, so she thought. She would cry, which would make me cry and feel even worse. mom passed away in March, and I pray that she understands that I tried my best. If you can, keep writing here and connect with others in your position. And try to know within your heart and soul and mind that you are doing your best. Jean
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planeman, that is how my husband's geriatrician handled his pleading to be allowed to drive. She agreed that when he could pass the special driving exam at the rehab facility she would sent a letter to the state asking for his license to be reinstated. He never improved enough to even take the exam, but it gave him hope for a while and it did help him accept that the driving restriction was not arbitrary or because people were being unreasonable.

Maybe instead of saying "No" we can think of ways to say "Yes, when ..." and let the No take care of itself.
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Thank you for your kind words, and for your understanding. I wish things weren't as they are, but I am realizing I have done my best by my mom, and that is OK. The place where she lives has small rooms, and she has a roommate, which makes bringing in things from her home pretty impossible. I do have pictures of the family, and all that does is make her think and cry. She cries every time I leave, and she talks about how lonely she is. She is in bed all day, and is unable to walk, so it's hard for her to join in any activities. It's just sad. Thanks to all of you, again, for being here for me. I hope if I can help any of you, I will be happy to.
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SpringRobin, As to what else you can do, you can visit her often and love every minute you spend with her. Unless you beat her to it, your mother will die before you do, and two things will happen. 1) you will miss her and 2) you will regret every moment you could have spent sharing warmth in her presence during which you did something else. Your mother is going through what she is going through. Go through it with her, as this will benefit you both. Love her dearly, as this will benefit you both. Give her all the time you can, as this will benefit you both. Good Luck. God Bless You.
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As a nursing home administrator, I often took male and female residents back to their farm place or home. They would look around and tell me many stories of their memories. When they became tired of walking or talking, they would say, take me back home." (to the nursing home). It seemed to give them peace and contentment to see the old places. I never had a problem with them returning to the nursing home.
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My mom did the same thing while she was in Senior Apartments and then a care facility, so I brought her to my home...and she still does it! I try to understand because she spent 47 years in that house, but it is heartbreaking.
Can you bring some things from that house to make her room feel more like home? Like maybe some paintings or a china hutch with some of her things in it? That might help.
I got a letter from her doctor that gently said it is unsafe for her to live alone and that she needs help with daily living, so the nursing home is best. That way it took the responsibility off of me. But it is still a daily struggle.
Hang in there, try to understand it is her desease making her say these things, not her. We are all out here for you, you're not alone. Use the support of others and keep posting!!!
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I feel for you. My mil just went into a home aprox 3 months ago. She keeps asking when she can go home. It is breaking my husbands heart. She wants to go to the home she left, not her childhood home. There isn't any way we can tell her this is permanent. We just tell her it's up to the Dr's. She has major dementia and there isn't any way to keep her at home due to all her health issues.
Your post sounds like it could have been written by my husband. Take care of your self and know sometimes there comes a time when we have to do this.
My prayers are with you.
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