Until last year my grandmother lived in an adorable small town in northern CA. Last year after some health issues we moved her to the Portland area, where we can keep a closer eye on her. She has some early to mid stage dimentia. She always wants to go home and is constantly wishing that she had a car so that she could. Our whole family has many happy memories of her house and hometown and other than being vacant this last year it is pretty much intact. We would all like to take a family vacation down there and would like to take our grandmother for a visit. But we don't want her to refuse to come back home when it is time and we don't want to make her longing for home worse. Do you think it is a good idea to take her to her old home for visits? She has some friends and family still in the town but others have also moved away to be closer to their families.

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Yes, I think it could be a good idea for her to visit her previous home. If you do indeed take her, possibly you could have something special planned for your return, that way she would be focused on looking forward to possibly a get-together with friends, etc. when you return, and she may not think so much about the past upon your return.
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We went thru this with my mother-in-law after she fell and broke her OTHER hip and was forced to go directly from rehab into asst. living. She never got any closure about having to leave her house, so kept wanting to 'go home' all the time. My son and his wife are currently renting her old house, so it's there and available for her to see NOW. But when she went into asst living her house sat empty at first, and there was no way we were going to take her to see it during that time. Our question was, what will we do if she refuses to get back in the car? Are we going to drag her kicking and screaming? The answer was NO, so she didn't see it for almost a year. Now when I pick up my daughter-in-law to go somewhere and my mother-in-law is with me, I make sure to pick her up first so she can see the house. She's more wistful about it now saying, "there's my house, I sure did love living there". She's not exactly sad, which is why I said 'wistful' in a longingly but knowing she can't ever go back way. Also, I figured out pretty early on, when she said she wanted to 'go home' what she was really saying was she wanted to go back in time to when her husband was alive, her boys were all living there and things were good. She wanted a time machine basically, not her little old house. It was what it represented, a happier time. I would tell her during that first year that I know what she's saying, that I knew she wanted her old life back again, and that I knew she missed how it used to be. That seemed to be enough, just knowing that she was being heard and validated. I guess that's what any of us really want, to be heard and validated. ♥
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