Mom lives in her house with my brother. She keeps wanting to "go home." She asks daily. What can we say to keep her happy? -

Mom lives in her house with my brother. She keeps wanting to "go home." She asks daily. What can we say to keep her happy?


She asks when "Uncle George" (or whoever is the name of the day) is coming to get her. My brother says "he'll be here tomorrow." Then she is ok. Later she asks again and again. She gets frustrated and anxious. The next day she is asking again. Sometimes she gets angry and waits by the door with her purse, ready to leave.

What can we say to keep her content? We are running out of excuses and stories.

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This has been an on-going issue for me for the last year and a half! Nothing works! It can be VERY aggravating, but I have to remind myself daily that to mother nothing is recognizable any longer. Just take each day as it comes. Some people go through stages of doing this... some, like mother, will do it the rest of their lives! Mother is on her death bed now and still tries to get out of bed to "go home". Best of luck!
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My husband went through a period of that behavior. He wanted to go home, packed a little bag and stood by the door waiting. He thought our home was a train station or a school or a nursing home or, most often, a motel. Not knowing better back then I tried to convince him that he was home. Total waste of time.

When similar behavior occurred later in the dementia, I was better prepared. I went along with where he thought he was and then redirected him. "The train is many hours late because of bad weather in Montana. Let's have a cup of cocoa and some cookies while we are waiting." That would usually be it for the day, but he'd want to "go home" the next day. "I'm sorry, honey, but there are no buses running today. It is a good thing that this is such a nice motel. I've already checked that we can keep our room tonight. Do you want to want a Sherlock Holmes episode?"
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some oldtimers just need to get out and move around. if i ask my mom to go somewhere in the car i shit you not she is dressed and in the car before i can get my freakin socks on. depressed elders especially need to get out almost daily. they get cabin fever and it literally can drive them mad ( er ) .
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Dear KathyAnn,

Try redirecting her attention. Instead of excuses and stories try to get her attention on something else. Anticipate this behavior and make a pre-emptive strike. What does she like? What were her hobbies? Does she enjoy a particular tv show? Get out a photo album before she becomes frustrated and anxious and sit and go through pictures with her. Does she have years worth of jewelry? Ask her if you can borrow a bracelet and then have her talk about her jewelry. Routine is usually a good idea but not if it includes these episodes that end in frustration for everyone. Can you take her for a short walk? Or ask her advice on something, that was something I commonly did with my dad. Did she cook? Does she have a recipe box? Can you ask her if she could find a particular recipe for you?

Redirection isn't surefire, there will be days when nothing works. Is she on medication that helps her anxiety? If so, again, anticipate these episodes and regardless of where in the pillbox the medication may be, give it to her before these situations end with her frustrated and angry.

We all know there is no cure for dementia but there are little helpful tricks and tips that have worked. It's been my experience that little tricks I come up with will help for a while and then stop helping as the dementia progresses. Then we have to come up with all knew ways of coping.
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