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Grandma has dementia. She asks all the time when she can go home, we tell her that she needs more care than Grandpa can give her right now, so she has to stay until the doctors say she can go home. The last few days, she has been suddenly very confused. This morning when I arrived for a visit, she had all of her stuff packed. I put it all away. Later in the evening, my Dad went to visit and she had started to pack again. She is saying that a doctor came to see her and told her she will go home tomorrow or this weekend (obviously not true). How do we handle this? Should we keep putting her stuff away. Who do we 'blame' for keeping her there if she thinks the doctor said she can go soon? This is breaking my heart!

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I moved my mom into a place thinking she could have much better care. After 3 months there she declined and lost 30 pounds. I recognized the signs of depression and failure to thrive even though the place told me she was eating. I then moved her to another place and it was no better. She refused to do anything but sit in her room. Her doctor started giving her Lortab for pain which she became addicted to. I saw what was happening, made her go through withdrawal and removed her. Finally, the third place did the trick. They worked with her and me to get her out and talking with others and we kept bringing her food she used to love to cook for us even though her place had good food. We took her out when we could. She spent her last six years there and loved every minute of it, passing at 98. I know it breaks your heart to see your mom like this. Can you keep looking? She knows she not home. Can she take trips home? Are her medications overdosing her and confusing her?
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Reply to SuzanneFLORIDA
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Not sure regarding NH placement, but I moved my mom to MC to begin with, and for the first 3 weeks, it was for respite care, and my mom was okay with that.  Then, I signed a month long contract, and that is when she began to pack everything she had with her and would sit by the front door waiting for me to come and "take her out".  I got numerous phone calls about this, plus the fact that she would not let them shower her, that they were "stealing her clothes" from the room to launder them, etc.  After 3 weeks, we had a meeting, and I wound up moving her to a different MC in a different facility that was much smaller (19 bed unit) and more one-on-one with the residents.  They began immediately to allow her to intermingle with the AC residents because she was so high functioning, and I asked if she might, with different meds, ever be able to go to AC and get out of MC.  They monitored her, and after 5 weeks in MC, they offered me the option of AC on a "trial basis" which lasted nearly 3 years!  She is back in MC now, and she knows why she is, it is unlikely that she will ever leave MC now, but I take her places unlike any of the other MC people get because they don't have family willing to do this, and she is still high functioning, but she is deteriorating both physically and mentally now, so MC is a good fit for her at this stage.  Possibly your GM's PCP might offer different meds to your GM and see if they would work?  My mom was on Namenda which caused the change for her.  She is now off of it because it ran its course, and the neurologist has put her on different meds which help her.  Keep an eye on GM and keep her knowing that you care.  It will make a difference!
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Reply to debbiesdaz
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What is she packing her stuff into? Can the staff take care of her with the stuff packed? Or does it being packed prevent/delay them from finding Grandma's clothes/soap/shampoo/lotions when they are needed? Is the room crowed with the packed stuff sitting around?

If the staff can tolerate/handle the packed stuff and it doesn't hamper moving around in the room, I would allow Grandma's stuff to stay packed for a day or two. Some obsessions last for the day and then disappear; some will run for several days, disappear for a while and then return with the cycle repeating. If she's got the idea in her head, then unpacking right after she has packed probably won't work; she will just start packing again.

The next time you unpack for her, can you remove whatever she is packing her stuff into so it's not available? Can you unpack while someone else visits with her in another room (dining?), so everything is unpacked when she returns?

Instead of the doctor, you might do better telling her Grandpa isn't well enough to care for her right now or that some repair/upgrade needs to be completed before she can go home (install a ramp? remodel the bathroom?).
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Reply to TNtechie
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There were TWO things that hurt most when this happened to a loved one recently.
The first was that she wanted to live with me, but because I take care of another disabled relative, I wasn’t able to welcome her, and the second was that she and I BOTH loved and cherished the impossibly inappropriate home she was living in.
The only REAL option I had was to place her in a very good AL about 5 minutes from where I live.
It took about 7 months for her to settle in, but she has now become quite content with her surroundings, enjoys our several days a week visits, and retains her feistiness, although her short term memory is hardly even minutes.
I did “You can’t go home yet”, and “You’re safe here if you fall”- no reference to a non-existent future, always focused on her immediate and quickly forgotten present.
Am I comfortable having to do this? Absolutely not. Do I know this was the only choice I had in terms of her care? Without question.
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Reply to AnnReid
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Oh, gosh, I know how this hurts. I’m so sorry. Chances are the “home” Grandma wants to go back to doesn’t even exist anymore. My mom (age 95) wanted to go “home” too to sit on the front porch with her mother and father. I kept telling her that “Daddy” was at work and “Mummy” had gone shopping so there was no one home. We had to wait until “later”.

First of all, if the confusion was sudden, have her checked for a urinary tract infection. Then, you will need to be very creative with your therapeutic fibs. You’ll figure out something to tell her. Then one of you take her for a nice visit to the lounge or even outside for a bit and the other unpack her stuff.

Sending hugs to you and Grandma.
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Reply to Ahmijoy
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