It’s just been in the last week that she insists on being picked up. She's sad and scared. I call the nurse and that helps, but it’s heartbreaking either way. I think it’s part of sundowning, especially with it getting dark sooner.

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Imho, "to go home" could mean a myriad of things, e.g. childhood home, first home purchased, et al. The topic is difficult for the elder to grasp. Prayers sent.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to Llamalover47

Although your profile says your mom moved to MC 2 weeks ago, profiles aren't dated, so it isn't clear how long she has been in the facility. If it was only 2 weeks, she hasn't had nearly enough time to adjust. HOWEVER, even when given time, some never do adjust, but others seem okay there. They may still refer to home, some residence in the past, and ask to go there. Often we don't even know which residence that is!

For about 9 months after moving to MC, my mother harassed my YB any time he visited, asking to be taken back to her condo. That was her last residence. Thankfully she never asked me! During a visit after those 9 months, after asking me to drop her at her mother's on my way home (gone about 40 years!) and I deferred it until "tomorrow", she asked if I had a key to the last place they had lived, sold 25 years before that (she knew the address.) When I told her I didn't have one with me, she said she would go stay there if she had a key! Don't think the current owners would appreciate that!!! From various topics she has brought up, she's living her life about 40+ years ago. If she regresses further, it could be any number of places we or she has lived before that place!

Most of the times we took her out was for appts. There were only a few "outings" not related to medical or dental. Early on when we arrived back at the facility she would rummage for her keys, then ask if I had one. She would question where we were and/or why we were here (facility.)

I am very surprised they are allowing outings in your location. Where we live is outside the "problem" areas in the state, but we are not allowed into MC and they are not allowed out except for necessary medical treatment. They will, currently, schedule short meetings in the cafe area just inside the building (it is IL/AL/MC), but that could change if the numbers in their county keep rising - her town is right next to mine, but it's a different county. That town is really at the outer limits of the county, and the increases are much further east, concentrated in the cities and larger towns, but decisions are made by county.

If you do still take her out, on return you can try to deflect her attention to something else, something she might like, ice cream or other treats, for instance. Just say we're stopping here for X treat, then get her settled in and find an excuse to leave without mentioning home (need to use bathroom can work, so long as you can exit without her seeing you!) Staff should take over and redirect her attention elsewhere.
Anyway, perhaps it would be best to limit visits on site, rather than take her out. Bring fun things, snacks, treats, etc. Generally sun-downing occurs later afternoon/early evening, BUT can occur at any time of day. If there is a pattern in her sun-downing, avoid those times and visit when she is having better times, such as mornings or lunch (assuming she's a later-in-the-day sun-downer.) Another option is anti-anxiety meds. The lowest dose of these can reduce the problem without impacting her much. Mom was still mobile and could do more self care, but her first UTI after moving to MC resulted in severe sun-downing (perhaps have her checked?) Mornings she was absolutely FINE! The problems would start later afternoon and she was difficult to control/redirect. The anti-anxiety took the edge off and kept her calm while the antibiotic for the UTI did it's job. Once UTI was treated, we stopped the other medication and all was well. Doc at the time didn't want to renew it, as there is a small issue with balance, but at the lowest dose, it did NOT impact my mother and she NEVER fell while on these meds.
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Reply to disgustedtoo

Back before COVID, when I visited mom in memory care from across the country, I took her out for lunch or simple shopping for several days in a row, culminating in a big restaurant lunch with her memory-care boyfriend, his daughter, and a couple of their friends. They seemed to enjoy most of it, but by the end of several days, mom and her boyfriend were both mentally and physically exhausted from all the activity, and they struggled more than usual to just do the simple routines of daily life in their room. So for the rest of that week, we just took walks on the grounds, sorted greeting cards in her room, watched Hollywood classic movies on TV, played along in group activities. With my coaching, mom took literally 2 hours to address a couple of envelopes. Slow down to their pace, include them in conversations, let the visit really be about them.
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Reply to Beekee

Marcykong, I'm familiar with your dilemma. I no longer take my mother out of her MC environment. My mother's world has gotten smaller, so taking her out of what she knows is very confusing for her. Sad as it is, and as hard as it is to accept, her safe haven is now MC. My mom refers to "home" too. I understand that what my mom means is a memory and a feeling of a home that she used to know.

It's hard to watch them suffer and it's even harder for us not to be able to comfort them. Much love to you and your loved one. We're all in this together.
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Reply to AbbyRose

When my MIL was in NH she was also allowed for some outings but they always warned to never take her past her home.  Some residents can be taken out without any issues, others not so much.  If this becomes more of a problem, it might not be wise to take her out especially if she is getting upset about needing to go back to the facility.  its not worth the upset.  Maybe take in an old photo album and look at pictures or get a book on places around the world to look at, but I also wouldn't take pictures in of her home, it might cause upset.  Maybe she could work on some puzzles or coloring books.  Wishing you luck.
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Reply to wolflover451

Going out in the fresh air is good for anyone, but going out to eat, etc is not a benefit for anyone right now with Covid going on around the world. Also, I found with my mother and now my husband, any change in location can be a stress to them. We think they need it, but really they don’t. They are quite content in their smaller world.
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Reply to Marylepete

The outings are more for you than her.
It brings some sense of "normalcy" to her life, your life.
When you visit take a walk around the grounds if possible or walk other parts of the building. Bring her a treat that you can share. If you normally go to lunch bring a lunch in. Sit and talk. Share photos.
When you leave tell her you will be back, don't say "I have to go home".
But I would cut out the outings. And as she declines getting in and out of the car will become more of a challenge anyway.
I just read your profile, it has only been 2 weeks she is still getting settled in. Give it time. And she picks up on your feelings so if you are sad and scared she will pick feel that way as well.
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Reply to Grandma1954

Don't take her out late in the day. Make it a couple of hours for lunch. If she is anxious MC may put a stop to the excursions as they had to in my mom's case. It was just too hard to settle her down upon return.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to gladimhere

Just curious: How much are you paying for MC in your location?
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Reply to Worriedspouse

I totally agree with the other posters here. If it upset her stop taking her on "outtings" at least for the present. Having spent some time in the elder care industry, I also think that it is far too soon for her to have outtings. It will only serve to confuse her and get her anxious as you can now see. Moving into a new residence is a huge change for anyone and it is even larger as we age especially if there are existing memory issues. Sometimes the MC staff will suggest family not visit for a specific time just so the resident can "settle in" to their new environment. She needs time to adjust and quite frankly so do you. This is a major change for both of you. Emotionally you are feeling pain and guilt for placing your Mom but in your mind you know that you have done the right thing. You are ensuring that she is safe and well cared for, that you have time and energy for your husband and family and that when you do see your Mom you can be a visiting loving daughter and not an anxious tired caregiver.
Hang in there.. this is not an easy road but most of us travel it and you are not alone. Keep us updated on how things go.
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Reply to geddyupgo

If hard to get her back to MC, then don't take her out. I know you want to give her a little fun and some fresh air, but really not fair to her. In her mind you maybe taking her home. They just can't understand.
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Reply to JoAnn29

Taking someone out of MC is not recommended because of what you've experienced. Rather than take her out for outings, bring the outings in to her. You can reserve a room in the facility and bring your goodies or whatever into the room. The evening calls to you could very well be sundowning effects. Sundowning causes anxiety and confusion. Mention this to the facility staff so they can address it. It'll take a while for your mom to adapt to her new home. Be patient.
Helpful Answer (6)
Reply to sjplegacy

Although to those of us who are caring for someone in resident placement a week or two can seem like a very long time, the adjustment period may need to be quite a bit longer.

Some residences request that off site visiting not begin until a specified time into a resident’s stay, and others just watch for signs that the resident seems comfortable and relaxed about the new surroundings.

Wanting to go “home” is a pretty familiar comment, and often, “home” doesn’t mean what we’re expecting it to mean. She may express sadness and a sense of loss, but even if you were to take her back to living previously, she might well continue to express the same feelings.

Many of us feel uncomfortable and guilty when we decide to place a loved one in full time care, and some continue to suffer those feelings for some time. It helps to consider the care we placed in finding the nicest residence we could, and remembering that our LO’s safety and need for more care than we were able to provide by ourselves prompted our decision making.

It’s never a pleasant thing to have to do, but you’ll find, a little at a time, that for both of you life will gradually become a pleasant place again.
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Reply to AnnReid

If it causes your mother anxiety to take her out of her MC, then avoid doing it. Go there for visits instead, and take her some small treats and gifts. When my mother went through a phase where she insisted she was living with me and not in the Memory Care ALF she's been at for quite some time now, I would gently remind her that I wasn't coming to pick her up, that she was already 'home' and that all was well.

The ups & downs that go along with dementia/Alz are continuous, and I notice that my mother does particularly poorly if/when new medications of ANY kind are introduced.

The goal is to keep them as anxiety free as possible, whatever is required. I agree with you that the upcoming time change will NOT help a darned thing, too. Lately, my mother keeps saying it's an ugly day outside when it's dark out and she's seeing that instead of the 'cloudiness' she thinks she's seeing. She'll insist it's going to 'rain' when it's 6 pm and that would be great, since our state has been burning down for months now due to LACK of rain and ongoing forest fires.

If your mother doesn't calm down with wanting to go home, I suggest getting her a baby doll to swaddle. Oftentimes, with dementia, people get a great deal of comfort from taking care of a 'baby' again and feeling useful. It keeps them occupied, too, and less anxious in general without added medications.

Good luck!
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Reply to lealonnie1

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