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FIL wanted never to go to a nursing home, so family is killing themselves to care for him at his own home, where he has lived for decades. He says he wants to go home. He doesn't mean heaven. He is convinced that he is not in his own house and "they" are going to throw him out or bill him. His wife, also 85, is distressed by this because she wants him to know he's at home just like he wanted; so she argues with him and tells him he is at home, which just gets him mad. His son just tells him that it's OK for him to stay there for now or maybe they'll go home later; but Mom keeps up with the arguing. Any ideas what to say to either of them?

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I don't know what to do any more. I am taking care of my mother 24/7 in her house that she lived in for 24 years. Every night she gets agitated and wants to go home. She just woke up from sleeping all afternoon and she thinks she is in the car and wants to drive home. She doesn't know why there are no pedals. I can't reason with her, whatever she thinks is her own reality. I want to take her to the bathroom, but she wants to stay in the 'car'. No amount of reasoning means anything to her. I just strain my voice trying to bring her back to reality. When I talk to doctors and nurses they just tell me that is the way it is. I don't know how long someone can live like her.
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Sunnygirl1, Ah, yes. He's been off that topic for a couple of days again and is back to saying that his sins are too bad to be forgiven. Another topic that Mom and one son want to argue with him about. My suggestion is to reply, "All have sinned and fall short; is there anything good to eat around here?" Sadly, it's some of the family caregivers who feel convinced not to comfort him but to convince him he's wrong. They are also too tired to think properly AND they refuse to give him prescribed meds because they don't want him "all doped up."
It's a sad situation, and I hope that it's a warning to everyone to make arrangements for your care that don't lay the guilt trip on your loved ones to try to do a job that they are really not capable to do for you.
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My SIL's father stayed at home until he was in the last stage. When visitors would come, he would ask them for a ride to his home. (The house is was living had been his home for over 50 years.) My brother and visitors would just say, yes, they would give him ride later on. Of course, later he forgot he had asked, so it was just a matter of repeatedly telling him that they would take him later. With little to no reasoning and memory, the options are limited. It takes so much patience and control. As others have posted above, it's extremely emotional draining on the caretakers.

I would explore medication with his doctor if he seems to be anxious about going home. Also, keep in mind that he may leave that phase and stop making that comment at some point.
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Jeannegibbs, Thanks for the suggestion about getting an outsider to explain to Mom that arguing about his delusions is not productive. She has not accepted that explanation from her family, but maybe we can have the Hospice nurse explain it to her.
We also thought about when she starts telling him he is at home and he argues, maybe we can say, "Dad, Mom's having a hard time with you being sick, and she's kinda confused. You know it doesnt do any good to argue with her, so let's just drop it, OK?" That will probably make her mad, but it is true and might restore the peace once she sees the truth in it.
Nasmir, if you meant the question about hygiene for this discussion, he is way beyond that. He has no control of any ADLs, and requires constant care and supervision.
Thanks to all who offered help.
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I'm laughing, Nasmir. I think you are on the wrong thread. You must have intended to respond to a question about showering or hygiene and then opened a different post. This thread has absolutely nothing to do with hygiene. You aren't the first person this has happened to. Hope you find the post you meant to respond to!
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Poor Mom! When your spouse has dementia you lose them little by little. You are in almost constant mourning or denial. Your mother no longer has the husband she married -- and that is very, very hard to accept!

Is there anyone outside of the family who might be able to explain some aspects of dementia to her in a way she might not accept from family?

When my husband first had dementia and wanted to go home, I tried to convince him that he was at home. I wanted him to relax, and I also wanted credit for keeping him home! I discovered over time that arguing with the delusions of a person with dementia was a lost cause. He thought our house was a hotel or a train station or even a high school!

The "maybe we can go home later" approach is very appropriate. Life will be easier for everyone if someone can convince Mom of this.

For what it is worth, these kinds of delusions only lasted a few months for my husband and then only came up again when he was very tired. With luck, your FIL will move on to other fixations.
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Nasmir, where does that question come from? Seems like a strange response to the issued presented.
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I think the son has the right idea. Agree and then change the subject. Hope you can get Mom to do the same.
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Sometimes the home they long for is one from their childhood or a previous time in their life. Some say they are looking for that feeling of safety and confidence they have lost to the confusion of dementia. All you can do is pacify and redirect. "We can't leave today because the room is paid for until next month" (or the car is out of gas or it is too late in the day or there was an accident and the road is closed, you get the idea)."This is a pretty nice place, I wonder what they have planned for dinner, lets go see". I know, easier said than done. It sounds as though Mom is a big part of the problem, she needs to understand you can't argue with dementia.
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