My Mom seems to enjoy her ALF but when family comes, she wants to go home. Any advice?

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My mom is at an assisted living home but keeps asking to go home.

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Even without dementia, people in declining health understandably want to go back to "better times." Home generally signifies comfort and safety, a refuge from the world. So, visiting families may remind the person of life as it was before and their response is wanting to go home, even though "home" isn't what they think it is.

When dementia is added to the mix, it's even more complicated. Home could mean a childhood home that no longer exists or it could mean the home that the person once shared with a spouse right after marriage.

However, in the end, the result is the same. The person wants to feel safe and loved and the word home signifies that.

Sunnygirl and Lucysmom both had wonderful responses. This is a common occurrence that needs to be handled somewhat differently depending on the circumstances. For a person without dementia, logic may work. "Mom, this has been great for you and you've enjoyed it. You're just having a moment of nostalgia." But for people with dementia, it's best to use some form of validation such as was suggested. "You can go home as soon as the house is ready," or "it won't be long now." Then distract the person and let it go.

Don't feel guilty. This is a terribly difficult thing to deal with, but it's something we must cope with. It may help some to read this article: https://www.agingcare.com/articles/home-is-all-about-heart-especially-for-elderly-166113.htm

Take care of yourself,
Carol
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I think that is rather common with dementia patients. I would read a lot about dementia and what going home really means to the patient. Sometimes going home may mean a place they recall from childhood. Sometimes it means comfort and love and not a physical place at all.

The disease causes them to get things confused and while they may say they want to go to your house or the house they lived in previously, they may not really mean that. You could take them to the house and then they still say they want to go home, because they never find that place in their mind. There are people with dementia who live in the house they have lived in for 50 years, but they still keep saying they want to go home. It's a difficult thing to deal with.

My loved one is in Memory Care and she used to say she wanted to go home a lot, but she stopped that and I don't think she remembers that she has a home anywhere except for her room at the facility. We call it her apt. and she always tells me how much she likes it. So, there is a chance that your mom may eventually stop saying it or maybe not.

I would think of something that comforts her to say and if it works keep saying it. She will likely forget it from visit to visit.

When my loved one used to say it, I would tell her that she would be going home as soon as her health improved and the doctor gave the go ahead. I would say, you are getting stronger and stronger everyday and soon, you'll be going. That satisfied her. Of course, each visit, she would forget that I had said it at the visit before.
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My dad has been in Assisted Living for just about 3 months. When he could no longer stay in his home, thankfully there was a leak in the upstairs bathroom that came through the kitchen ceiling. He saw the mess and the workman repairing the ceiling. I told him that he had to go to a hotel while the house was being repaired as they would need to turn off the electricity and water and that he couldn't live in a house with no water or electric. He never questioned it.

At first when I went to see him in AL, he would ask how the house was coming along, if I was checking the house and if I was getting the mail. Then that all stopped. Last week, I found his trousers piled in a chair in his room. What's this Dad? Oh, I have to take them to the dry cleaner on my way home. Ok. This week they were still on the chair but I never mentioned them nor did he. He never asks about the house or asks me about going home. I think it may just be a thought that runs through their heads at one time. Dad will never go home as beside his age (95) and the dementia, the house is being sold. It's killing me to dispose of his belongings while he's alive, but it's necessary in order to keep him in AL. I would just continue to tell him that they're working on the house if he were to ask.
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We are caring for my m-i-l who is in end stage dementia. I also spent most of the last three months of my dad's life with him. He had suffered from confusion secondary to metastatic prostate cancer. Often in those months he would talk about going home but couldn't define where that would be. We spent an incredible night before he became unconscious. He was amazingly lucid and would talk about seeing deceased family members. Periodically he would say "I have to go home honey." I then realized " home" was heaven. I am getting that same feeling from my m-i-l. I just love on her and tell her when she is ready that is OK but in the meantime we are privileged to take care of her in our home.
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One thing to be aware of when someone wants to go home is that they may want to go to the home from which they were taken. Remember, there is a chance that someone could wise up and realize something is definitely off after a reasonable time. When they do, you could very well have a serious fight on your hands when they realize it. Not everyone who's in a nursing home slips into a different state of mind and stays there all the time. You never know what was in that person's house before they were taken if they happen to live alone. Some of their valuables are irreplaceable, especially if they happen to be antiques for expensive jewelry. Sometimes a person may want to go back home not only to be with loved ones, but also to be near their favorite stuff. Another thing to consider is if the person had a favorite chair or a comfortable bed. Consider putting yourself in that person's shoes and realize what kind of furniture you have at home. Consider how that furniture feels when you use it, and how your bed feels at night when you're sleeping on it. How would you feel if you were suddenly taken away from all of that and put into a foreign place? Now you should understand how old the person is probably feeling when they're put into a nursing home away from the comforts of home. This is why there is now a move toward keeping elderly people in their homes longer and out of nursing homes as long as possible. There are now in home health aides through local home healthcare facilities that help to keep the elderly at home longer, providing that they're able to do their part. I knew someone who had home healthcare until he became lazy and stopped doing his part. His behavior change for the worse, forcing whoever was over him to put him into a nursing home. This was very sad because he could've stayed home until the day he died because he was well able to take care of himself if he would have been determined enough to do it. It's very sad anytime someone has to be taken from their home and placed into a very foreign place away from the comfort of home. Anytime someone is taken away from home, this opens the door to all of that person's stuff being stolen, sold or given away, all of which is very unfair to that person. Anytime someone your visit asks to come home, please bear all of this in mind each time they ask. Put yourself in their shoes and try to understand what they are feeling and where they're coming from, because their shoes can easily fit our feet if we are ever yanked away from our homes. People feel homesick for a reason.
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When Mom still lived in her own place, where she had been for 60+ years, and would ask about going home, I was at first alarmed. Then I read here and other places that "home" meant something entirely different to her than it did to me. I wish we realized sooner that she didn't feel safe and comfortable there any more but couldn't articulate it. She is now in Assisted Living and less and less she would ask about going home until she stopped entirely. That is when we knew she felt safe and comfortable there.

Now she asks about leaving with us and we have learned to say "ok, let's see how you feel when it is time to leave", which appeases her. That said, we always leave when it is time for her 3:00 nap, she is exhausted, and all that appeals to her is her bed and her comfy throw blanket.
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I was told the other day by a geriactrics specialist that when they stop asking, more of the brain has died. And it just killed me.
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I would just tell this is her home now. Use the same words each time, and assure her you will visit her there again.
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to babygirl54 - sounds like you need to have her re-evaluated by a specialist and maybe some therapy (speech) to help her to remember how to swallow. I know in the NH when one of the people start having swallowing issues, they give them some speech therapy which sounds dumb but I think its to teach them how to use their tongue, etc in helping to swallow. please take care of yourself also, sounds like you are in pain yourself.
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my husband's grandmother lived with her daughter for a long time. she wanted to go home and one day walked out of the house and they found her down the road. she was heading home to WV but they lived in PA. My mother-in-law would say she wanted to go home, but her son was in the process of selling her (actually his house) so she could not have went home. I told her how lucky she was to be in NH because she had her meals prepared, her clothes washed, people to play games with and didn't have to worry about doing anything, it was like being on vacation. it helped until the next time she asked.
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