Is 86. Has a history of Schizophrenia. 4 yrs ago got off her meds, went into Psych hospitals for over 3 months. Came out of it like new. Went home, lived and cared for herself. Even drove locally. This latest episode began w/ the typical Urinary Tract Infection and is going on for 4 months (3 mos. in Awful Psych facility and 1 mos in the nursing home). She was diagnosed w/ "moderate to severe" dementia. During this time, she has gone from hallucinations (talking to herself, dead persons, etc) along w/ delusions (Adult children and grandchildren living different places, old relatives moving to other countries, etc.).

The hallucinations have ended. There are still some delusions, but not as severe. She is unable to live w/ any relatives. Her children have made the decision for permanent nursing home. We are about to apply for Medicaid. They take good care of her in NH, but she is much more highly functional than the others in home. Thinks she is in w/ all of the depressing, old people, and she is correct. Since she is a flight risk, she cannot go to a nicer area of the nursing home. She has recently asked "when she is going home"? The nursing home staff says to tell her, "we are working on it", just keep getting better". I (one of her children) feel terrible about this. How should I handle this?

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Wanting to go home is so common with dementia. I've seen it over and over and now my Mother wants to go home almost daily. More often than not, the home they want to return to is the place where they were happiest (often their childhood home). You need to remember that her mind doesn't work like it used to and it will get progressively worse. The NH is handling it the right way. They are comforting and reassuring her. Don't feel terrible - it sounds like she has compassionate and experienced caregivers. Encourage her in her new surroundings. If possible, bring her some of her belongings to make her feel more "at home" where she is. Bless you for your kind and loving heart. I know it must be very difficult for you to see her like this. So many of us understand what your going through. You're not alone.
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Don’t commiserate with her and join in with her lamentations about wanting to go home or apologize for her being there. It won’t make you feel any less terrible and will make both you and your mom feel worse. Be kind but firm that when the doctor says she is better, you’ll talk about it. And don’t visit every day for hours. She needs to get to know the staff and they need to get to know her. That’s not possible if someone from her family is always there.
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They all want to go home, even the sickest among them; the nurses are saying the right things. And I bet there are several people there who don't have dementia but have physical limitations and are still fairly functional.
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