My 92 year old mom with dementia was recently hospitalized for two weeks, then lived with us for a month before being placed into a memory care assisted living. She can no longer live alone safely. She is adjusting slowly to her new place, but she continues to ask to go to her home which she lived in for 65 years. She hasn't been there now for about six weeks. We will be selling the house within the next few months so it already looks different than it did when she lived there. It breaks my heart that she will never return there or live there again. I know it is best NOT to take her there again, but wondering what others have done in their situation.

I took my mom back to her house before we sold it. I was nervous that it wouldn’t go well, but it was ok. My brother died there and she took a few moments to sit in his room and have a little conversation. I wouldn’t recommend it for everyone, but it wasn’t the big drama I was warned about. She put up a fight about taking almost everything back to her AL apartment, She got to say her goodbyes and we left. She still asks about going home, but I don’t think she means that house. Home represents something else to her now. Best of luck in your choice.
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Reply to LoriF1

Pictures. My daddy held his pictures in a box. He had ripped them out of the photo albums and put them in a box. He would tell me stories of the "good ol' days". Dementia patients live in the past so sit down with the pictures and let them tell you stories of the "good ol' days"
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Reply to Ohwow323

I'm with Geaton on this one. It's been proven that when someone with dementia asks to go home that it is often NOT the home they lived in more recently but in fact their childhood home, where they felt safe with their parents.
Because dementia robs folks of their short term memory first, all that remains is their long term when they were much younger. And so it makes great sense that one would want to go back to their childhood home.
So I would leave well enough alone and when she brings up wanting to go home, you can tell her any kind of little fiblet, like the house is getting some work done and that you'll let her know when it's finished, or just try and redirect as in changing the subject.
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Reply to funkygrandma59

Don’t do it. It would be a difficult day, and then there’s the aftermath. Better to repeat that she’s already in her home, and it’s almost time for (dinner, bingo, exercise). She’ll stop asking soon, probably.
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Reply to Fawnby
Lovemom1941 Feb 20, 2024
18 months in my mom is still asking. The answer is always “soon” as no would upset her and I don’t do anything g I know will upset her.
You tell us:
"I know it is best NOT to take her there again, but wondering what others have done in their situation."
In my humble opinion you just answered your own question.
When she is more adjusted to her situation help her make a scrapbook of memories around this home.
I think it is clear from what she is saying that she is not saying "Can we walk through one more time so I can say goodbye", (for to ME, our homes are almost sentient beings). What she is saying is she wants to go home. And that can't happen.
It's heartbreaking, isn't it. And it is worth grieving, so allow her that and be honest with her.
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Reply to AlvaDeer

Please don't. My mom wanted to see the house, but I felt it was more distressing to her. I also had a very real fear of her getting in the house, then refusing to leave, as she wanted to go inside.

The nurse is at the assisted living told me a story of one family that takes their loved one by the house. Whenever he asks. Then they bring him back to the assisted living and he starts lashing out at everybody. I certainly wouldn't want to do that to the people that are caring for my mother.
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Reply to darts1975

Are you sure she isn't in fact "sundowning"?

Asking to "go home" is a very common dementia behavior and they are really thinking "home" is their childhood home.

My (now deceased) Aunt lived in her own home and had adv dementia. Every afternoon like clockwork she'd start getting agitated and wanting to "go home". Even though she was sitting in the house that she'd been in since 1975.

My MIL has short -term memory impairment and was transitioned into AL. We handled downsizing her home ourselves. She asked to go see it (it was empty and in foreclosure). Since it was in foreclosure and she no longer had ownership of it we told her no (and there was no real point to just "drive past" it). It would only serve to make her sad all over again. She kept asking for a while and we just kept making a reason to not do it (therapeutic fibs, redirect the conversation or distract her). Also, she was barely mobile and overweight and just the effort to get her into the van was a deterrent. There was just no upside of taking her... it wasn't going to help her "process" anything emotionally since her memory problem would prevent her from doing this. It would just be Groundhog's Day.
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Reply to Geaton777


I know that nostalgic feeling. It always reminds me of the play and movie “Trip to Blessing” by Horton Foote and the great gospel singer Cynthia Clawson who sang “Softly and Tenderly” in the movie version.

It’s a bitter sweet proposition that only you can decide for you and your mom. We have in life a few times where we know in advance this will be the last time. Regardless of life being full of losses we also can find great joy in a bowl of vanilla ice cream and as much as I promise it will be the last time, here we are again.

Hugs to you DaughterJ57, you have a tender heart.
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Reply to 97yroldmom

I belong to a support group through our local ALzheimer’s association. They offered an online session with a geriatric psychologist. When I asked about taking my dad back to his home for a day-trip, the doctor would it would only cause more confusion. He said I would also have a very hard time getting Dad to come back with me. The best way to handle this is to say, ok, we’ll go next week. (or tomorrow , or in a few days.)
Helpful Answer (6)
Reply to BigSis1

It is normal for people with dementia/alzheimer's to want to "go home". It is theorized that what they are really seeking is comfort. I had the same situation as you describe and I did take her past her house that she had lived at for the last 50 years before we sold and surprisingly she didn't really recognize it. I didn't tell her we were going to her house, I drove by slowly and pointed it out and said it looked like a nice house. She had no response indicating that it had been hers or that she missed it. After that, I took her to her childhood home in Detroit and when I pulled in the neighborhood, she remembered everything and even picked her house out! It gave her great joy. I agree with others about putting familiar house items around to give her the safety/comfort of "home" she is seeking.
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Reply to jimlindac

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