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My 83 year old mother lives with me. She has middle stages of dementia. For the last several months she talks about being homesick and wanting to go back to Texas. (We moved over 35 years ago).
I have read that toward the end of life some seniors will make unusual requests (I even read about one woman wanting a face lift in her 90's)
I checked and my job is able to transfer me to our Texas office, but before I uproot myself and the rest of my family I want to be sure I am making the right decision.
Any advice?

I would not return to Texas to live. Chances are your mother will get more confused and unhappy with the change . My mom occasionally wants to :go home". We visited her childhood home quite a few times in the past and it seemed she was content with driving down her street, reminiscing about the good old days .Your mom is in a different stage of her life and she needs to be in a familiar place. Her dementia could get worse with the change in my opinion. The best to both you and your mother.
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No place I lived 35 years ago bears any resemblance today to the place I lived then. Your mother wouldn't recognize it in a million years. As others have said, she's homesick for a time and an era, not the actual place.

Absolutely do not uproot your family for your mother's sake unless you want to do it anyway. If you have pictures around from that time, pull those out and look at them with your mom. That's what she's looking for, not the Texas of today.
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When you were 15 your mom did not give you a choice in the move to Arizona. Now that your mother is 84 with dementia she does not get a say in where she lives. You are now the parent and she is the child.
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disgustedtoo Jun 14, 2021
This is a rather brusque comment. While certainly her mother shouldn't be the one "driving" the bus, it could have been addressed differently. More along the lines of those who have already commented.

You also feed those who get riled up accusing us of treating our older LOs like children. Yes, we often have to be the decision makers now and keep them from harm, but it is NOT the same and they are NOT children.

With dementia (sometimes even without), there is often that wistful desire to return "home" to a simpler time in life. The bigger problems, as others noted, is that idyllic place longed for is likely unrecognizable after 35 years and even if it was unchanged, the memories might not match the reality.

She's entitled to express her wishes... very often even adults don't get their wishes, do they?
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Texas is not a place, it was a time in her past. Maybe the best years of her life, but going back would just put her in another unfamiliar place. She wouldn't be able to relate to any of it. The move might be something exciting and new for you, but only cause confusion and angst for your mom. Don't live your life satisfying your mom's wishes.
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mbphoenix Jun 14, 2021
Thanks sjplegacy

I appreciate you taking the time to answer my post. It is very hard to try to care for her and balance my own life.

You have definitely giving me something to think about.
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So, one more thing I want to flash a warning light about is co- mingling your money, since you said you might buy a house.

Before making any serious moves, I would investigate whether Medicaid in either state will pay for Assisted Living or memory care.

If you co-mingle funds and buy a home together, don't do so without consulting an eldercare attorney about the ramifications. NOT a real estate attorney, an eldercare attorney who is knowledgable about Medicaid.
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mbphoenix Jun 16, 2021
Ooooo good idea
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The Texas remembered from 35 years ago will not be the same Texas. Relocating a younger person after 35 years in one place is high stress. Moving an 83 year old with cognitive issues will triple the stress. If she continues to be wistful about Texas… decorate her bedroom with Texas decorum… pictures of Bluebonnets, Texas landscapes, etc… all are available online. I know many might scoff at this idea, but it might meet some level of a need for your mom.
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mbphoenix Jun 16, 2021
Thanks Sunnydayze
I like the idea of decorating her room with a Texas theme
Great Idea
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No, do not move. Dementia slowly robs our LOs of their ability to reason, think logically or act conscienciously regarding others. My 92-yr old mother wants to buy a new car yet she hardly drives, doesn't have the money and won't be able to navigate all the new technology in even the most basic vehicle. Yet she's very insistent. As her PoA do I let her buy it just because she pines for it? Nope.

The caregiving arrangement only works if it works for both parties. You uprooting your life to relocate in TX is most likely not going to satisfy her once she gets there, because the desire is based on some romanticized notion about her hometown that doesn't exist anymore. Caregiving is very challenging and you need all the security and support you can get, and this means staying put so that you are surrounded by family, neighbors, friends, church, etc. The sad fact is that eventually your mom may not even remember that she ever lived in TX, it she could lose this memory sooner than later. Moving won't be beneficial or therapeutic for her and but it will be very unhelpful to you. Please do not feel guilty over this. Caregiving is a marathon, not a sprint so you must pick your battles and reserve your energies for the long haul. Please read other posts on this forum by loving adult children who are burning out trying to "please" or accommodate their LOs' dementia-drive desires. I wish you all the best and peace in your heart that it is ok to make yourself a priority so you can do right by your mom in the long term.
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mbphoenix Jun 14, 2021
Hi Geaton777

Thanks for your post.

I have family, friends, and neighbors in Arizona (where we live) that help out A LOT.

Honestly I hadn't considered that until I read your post.

While I wouldn't mind moving back to Texas it might be something to consider when it is just my sister and I.

I know I have to consider my mother's feelings and desires but I keep forgetting I need to take care of me so I can take care of her.

Thanks for the reminder.
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Change is not good for folks with dementia. Your mother's brain is broken and she is feeling yearning for when she was young and healthy.

What if you get to Texas and she says she wants to go back to the last place she lived?

I think it is unwise to plan your life around the sometimes fleeting desires of dementia patients, especially since you can't know if she will acclimate.
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mbphoenix Jun 14, 2021
Thanks BarbBrooklyn

I know we are going to have to move next year as the lease on our apartment is up and we were considering a house.

But you have a very valid point on planning my life around her fleeting desires.

I need to consider MY desires in the equation.

Thanks for your help
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Hey there. From my experience with my own mother, she is constantly wanting to go "home" no matter where she is. I think the truth is, she just wants to go back to a place where she can function and where the world does not seem so confusing. In her mind, that is home. With dementia, she will sadly never find home again in this life...that place does not exist anymore, anywhere. I believe your mother is "homesick" for days with more clarity. Moving to Texas will not change that and the stress of moving might actually cause her dementia to worsen. My mom is older than yours and further along in her journey with the dementia. There is so much you will be dealing with as the disease progresses you cannot allow it to lead the direction of your life. So, my advice: don't move unless it's the right thing for yourself and even then, be prepared for your mother's continued yearning for home.
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mbphoenix Jun 16, 2021
Thanks Ishep
I appreciate the advice
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As dementia progresses they pull out more memories from the past - it may not be so much Texas - as her memory of Texas and what it evokes. Memories of her past life with now gone friends and family. I imagine if you did move back to Texas - she would be disappointed to find that the memories won't match the reality - she's dealing with a memory - not reality.

I would not uproot the family - especially if you are happy where you are. And uprooting mom could do more harm than good. With dementia routine is best. When mom tells you she's homesick, ask what she is homesick for and see if she can't tell you stories of what she remembers - maybe share what you remember. Try and divert her to another subject.

Your mother is no longer able to make rational decisions and as her caregiver it is up to you to make those rational decisions with her best interest in mind. Your job is to keep her safe.

As her dementia devolves, she will be moving more permanently into her alternate universe that her broken brain creates and will rarely have a relationship to "our universe." Sometimes you will need to visit her reality to calm her agitation.

Make sure you also take good care of yourself. Make sure you get some "me" time - even if you have to hire caregivers (that mom pays for) to come in a relieve you a few hours a week. And go in search of humor - you will need that - a good laugh can lighten the burdens off your shoulders for a few minutes.

Best wishes.
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