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Over the past couple months my 91 year old Grandmother's health has gone down drastically. Lately she has been eating practically nothing. Maybe a slice of toast a day. She is always complaining of stomach aches, that her back and shoulders are hurting a lot more than normal, and complaing that she's freezing. The past couple days she keeps saying she wants to go home. She's at her house though. She's lived here for over 30 years, so I don't know why she doesn't recognize it. She get fatigued very quickly, but is still able to at least go to the bathroom by herself, with help walking there. She has Alzheimer's, pulmonary fibrosis, gerd, kidney disease, hypothyroidism, high blood pressure, and neuropathy. I know she's getting to "that point", but the part I'm most confused about is why she keeps saying she wants to go home.

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My husband repeatedly asked to go home early in his dementia. He was home. This really puzzled me. He was not at end-of-life and his belief system was such that I doubt he meant he was ready to die. I also doubt he longed for his childhood home, since his childhood was troubled and he spent much of it in an orphanage. But I do now think that he wanted to go back to a time when life made sense to him, and when he knew where he was. He thought our house was a train station. Given that, the desire to go home makes more sense.

Some people with dementia who want to go home mean it literally. But often I think it is more symbolic than literal. Sometimes when things aren't going right I think or even say, "Waa ... I want my mommy!" I don't literally mean I think she could help. I just wish I wasn't in a position to be responsible for whatever isn't going well. I think "I want to go home" is a similar kind of wish.

I, too, wonder if hospice care might be appropriate at this time -- or at least an evaluation.

Reassure her that she can go home "later" but that right now you would like to make her comfortable. "Let me get you a sweater and gloves to help you feel warmer, and how about if I make some hot chocolate/tea/coffee?"
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KayKay, usually when an elder who has memory issues say they want to "go home", it is usually their childhood home where life was fun and happy.

My Mom, when she was in long term care, would ask to go home... and at first I thought she wanted to go back to the house that my Mom and Dad shared and where he still lived. It wasn't until I read articled on AgingCare and read some forums that I realized my Mom wanted to go to her childhood home... eventually she would ask to see her parents and siblings, all of whom had passed decades ago.
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Dear KayKay,

My father did this as well before he passed. The last week of his life he was in the hospital for heart failure, the whole week he kept asking to go home. I felt so bad, we never made it back to the house and he died at the hospital.

My friend's dad 88 also died in hospital. And she said he did the same thing, he wanted to go home.

Its not easy getting into your 90s. She sounds very strong despite all her ailments but maybe she has had enough and ready to let go now. Being at home means being at peace.

Thinking of you.
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KayKay the usual explanation for this has nothing to do with where she is now physically but more of being ready to die. If you are spiritual it is to be with the Lord, if not simply that she is ready to go.
At this stage again if you are a believer a visitor from a minister of her faith could be comforting.
Do you have hospice coming in to help you? If not and you want them their presence can be very reassuring and there is someone available 24/7 just a phone call away.
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I think the wanting to go home is something mental than a place. I think that they want to be in their 20's, calling all the shots, being independent with no aches and pains. I can't remember which celebrity said but she said that old age is no place for sissies. I'm 34 and I'm not looking forward to getting old but there isn't a damned thing about it.
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