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My wife suffers from some symptoms of dementia including memory loss, confusion and occasional temper outbursts. Just recently, she has added the notion that she is not living at home, even though we've lived in the same house for 17 years here in Texas. Each day, she asks what time we are leaving tomorrow for us to go "home". No amount of discussion on my part will disabuse her of her need to "go home".


I see on chat boards that this is a fairly common problem and it's a frustrating problem for me to wrestle with. Any advice ?


TonyInTexas (from Virginia).

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I have found that arguing with them is useless and just causes more anxiety. When my dad wants to "go home" I will say well.... I have to work this week but maybe we can arrange something next week. Then offer something to do or eat. This seems to satisfy him then of course by next week he has forgotten what I promised him about going home.

"Going home" means different things at different times.. sometimes he is referring to going back to a time when he was healthy and independent.
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I am dealing with my dad and the same issue. Can someone share what they have done to distract or calm the person down wanting to "go home" all the time. My dad gets irate that I won't take him home to a place he has not lived for 55 years and we know NO ONE any longer. He is dead set he is going back there to live and is upset I don't want to drive 4 hours to and from work or quit my job and move there.
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This happened at my parent's household as well. Married 52 years, lived in the same house for 14 years. My father was a few years into dementia and started asking about going home, stated he was not at his home, and also said he had only known my mother for 3-4 days. My mother constantly contradicted him and tried to "correct" his ideas. That only made him more confused. I told her it was the wrong way to handle it but she refused to change her approach. As things ramped up, my father began the notion that she was an intruder and had to go - threatening every day to call the police, a lawyer, etc. He started some wandering. They argued ALL of the time. I think my mother was overall cruel and it's something I will have a hard time getting over. I had to place him in a memory care assisted living facility this year. I think their living situation would have gone better if my mother hadn't argued with him about everything and approached it the way jeannegibbs suggested. You might need to get in touch with a home health agency and explore services such as respite care if you would like to keep your wife at home. It's a difficult stage to be at and I wish you the best. Like others said, you will likely need support from somewhere.
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Tony, Have you watched any Teepa Snow videos? I'm told she is to drawer at getting inside the dementia person's point of view.
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Does anyone know of a book speculating on seeing life through the eyes of a dementia victim? I know its impossible per se but I am hoping someone may have written such a book just for the information value.
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I have another question. Is anyone aware of a trustworthy book about "seeing the world through the eyes of a person who has Alzheimer's?"

I know that's not possible but I'm wondering if there might be a collection of experiences of those us who are living through this daily, and how to turn that into help for our loved one. Most of you have dealt with this far longer than me.
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I'll look into that for sure. Many thanks. Tony
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Hi Tony,
Welcome! Use us as a sounding board, information source and friends in the same situation. My heart goes out to you. It must be awful to watch the decline of your spouse. (Somehow it seems easier to accept when it's your parents.)
About the repetitive questions (when can we go home?) I agree with Jeanne. It is futile to argue or try to "set them straight". Their brains are no longer capable of comprehending. I know it feels like lying but, honestly, it's best for both of you.
Please check into Social Services to see if you could get a respite caregiver to give you time to do things while your wife is looked after. The library (in my area anyway) has a free senior directory for all services for seniors (with and w/o dementia). In many cities there are senior dementia day care services (like a daycare place for kids) that is low cost. You need a break every now and then to keep your sanity. We're here for you.
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Thanks again for your replies and support. Right now I'm pretty much alone in her care ... no family nearby ...fortunately my wife seems perfectly lucid about 50 % of the time but that can change quickly.

I do appreciate all your comments and caring.

Tony
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Do you have much in the way of support, Tony? I'm so sorry to read of what you and your wife are going through. Many people say it helps to know that they aren't alone in their experience; so I just wondered if you have understanding people around you to lean on.
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Awe, fisherman, so sorry.
I'm picturing you and your lovely
wife throughout all the years...
Must be really tough going through this phase if your lives.
Keep coming here for guidance and support from ALL the caring/WISE people!!! They have been a life/heart saver for me amongst my grief and questions!
And has calmed me down enough to be able to reflect on fun/beautiful memories with my parents... even listening to the same story a thousand times I try to soak them I n and just be there for them.  I am not constantly wondering why they, and I are going through this painful time. It's not always easy being there and seeing them in assisted living... on those weak days in my mind and heart, I come running to this site and know someone will always be there no matter what time it is !!  Doesn't matter what kind of mood I'm in,  if I need to vent or share some happy news......SOMEONEis always here and I appreciate that and love them all!

I will be thinking of you every day fisherman!

Smiles, 👍 Hang in there, Bella
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What a mess this dementia/Alzheimer's disease is. The personal effect on me has just hit. My wife and I have been married 54 years .... and we "went steady" in high school and college for 3-4 years before that.

I feel so helpless.
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As the condition progresses, there are times when the person may not mention going home for weeks or months, and then they will bring it up. It really does vary, though, from what I have seen that questioning is very common in the early stages, but, not as much in the later ones. I think it depends on the type of dementia as well.
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Follow-up question: Does the urge to go back "home" vary from day-to-day or is it pretty much constant? In my case the "go back home" yen was occasional ...now it seems to getting almost constant ... no matter the day or time. To add to this, my wife now thinks we have JUST moved into the hause where we have lived for 17 years.

All input and comments are appreciated. This is maddening .... but I do feel very sorry for her.

Thanks, Fisherman,
TonyInTexas (from Virginia)
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Thanks for your reply.
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Yes, that is a common problem in dementia. In the beginning I tried to convince my husband, Coy, that he was home. Waste of time and frustrating to both of us.

Much later in his dementia, with a lot of training and reading under my belt, here is a conversation we had.

I was cleaning up the kitchen one evening when Coy came walking very unsteadily through the kitchen toward the garage door.

me: Where are you going, Hon?
Coy: I have to catch a bus!
me: (Looking obviously at the clock.) Oh dear! I'm afraid the last bus of the day left a half an hour ago. Where did you want to go?
Coy: (very disappointed) I want to go home! I am so tired and I want to sleep!
me: Well I'm sorry there is no bus. But I know a nice place where you can sleep tonight, and we can check the bus scheduled tomorrow.
Coy: OK
me: Come lean against this counter while I get your wheelchair, and I'll take you there.
As we get to the door of our bedroom
Coy: This looks just like my bedroom at home!
me: Yes, I thought you'd like it.
I help him get ready for bed and give him his night medications. He doesn't wonder at all how his pajamas happen to be there. I kiss him goodnight and finish cleaning the kitchen.

Earlier in his disease I would have scolded him for not using his walker, tried to convince him our garage was not a bus station and/or that he was home. I learned that these were all futile. Getting him what he really needed was much easier on both of us!

Fisherman, I suggest you might try to just go along with her and then redirect her. "I don't think it will be tomorrow, dear. They haven't finished with the street construction yet. But probably by this weekend. Isn't it good that we have this nice place to stay in until they finish? Let's go into that lovely sunroom. I'll make us some coffee."

Having a spouse with dementia is extremely hard. You are doing the right thing by reaching out for information. I wish you the best.
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