My mother gets confused, agitated, and wants to go home. What can I do?

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when she IS in her home of 51 years. My mother gets confused and agitated and wants to go home. My parents built this home and have lived there for 51 years. She doesn't remember it. Then she gets upset with dad or one of us when we try to tell her she is "home". What can we tell her to calm her down? I thought she was suffering from Sundowners, but today this started around 2 pm. Her dog is there at the house with her, but even that doesn't faze her. Pointing out familiar items in her house will sometimes work, but usually only for a moment . I am afraid she will wander off in search of home. Dad doesn't want to put deadbolt locks on the doors yet. She still has days of clarity, and she gets irate when she feels she is being treated like she is crazy. Any suggestions?

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"This house looks just like mine." I hear that every day. Well, at least when I tell him that we're married, he seems to be glad to learn it!

"You can go home tomorrow, or in an hour." "Tell me about your home." I once told a newcomer at the nursing home that no one could pick her up today because of the snow. I reassured her that she didn't need money to pay for the "hotel room" because they would send her a bill. It worked for a while.
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My 93 yr old mother frequently says she wants to go home. Yes she too has been in her home for 56 years. She says "this house looks just like mine". We try to change the subject, and at first would try to tell her the familiar things about the house, the trees outside, the neighbor across the street who she remembers. It helped for a while, but still says quite often that she wants to go home. Changing the subject to something she is familiar with helps, for a while at least.
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Your poor dad. He's going to have an especially hard time of it if he refuses to "lie" to his wife. For her sake as well as his I hope he can bend enough to reflect her reality and not insist on his concept of "truth."

My husband's "I want to go home" started very early in the dementia and lasted a few months. I was new to caregiving and tried to convince him he was home. Lost cause and just frustrated me without comforting him. For delusions later, when I was more experienced, I found it much more effective to go along with him and find a way to either distract him or give him what he needed/wanted but wasn't able to articulate.
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Thanks to everyone for your comments. I started reading the other threads, and have printed pages to give to my dad. A lot of good ideas, just not so sure what will work with her. She is very stubborn and independent! I know that can be a good thing and has served her well over the years. She helped to take care of her mother when she had Alzheimer's and acted as POA for her parents. But that was then and this is now. Dementia + stubbornness is not a good combination! If she has in her mind that she wants to go home, I'm not sure how easily we will be able to divert her attention. My father says he won't lie to her, and he is getting very creative in his responses to her. But it is wearing on him.

She is on medication for anxiety, taken in the morning. I'm thinking we may need to increase the dosage, but she is on so much other medication, I hate to do that. We've been giving her an extra dosage when she will be doing something out of her routine. We have a big day coming up in two weeks that has us all nervous. It's a benefit ride for cancer in memory of my brother who passed away in December. Not sure how we are going to get through that day with her. I am SO THANKFUL for family and extended family who are willing to help out. I can't imagine going through this alone. Thanks to everyone for your comments and encouragement.
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I would discuss the risk of her possibly leaving the house with your dad. If she did wander, she could get hurt by traffic or strangers. I'd insist that he explore ways to keep her secure.

You probably have read all about redirecting, staying positive, etc. I think it works to a certain extent, but nothing can really stop that kind of behavior. It can be very disconcerting and living in that environment 24/7 can be very stressful. I suspect that is one reason that caring for a person who has advanced dementia can be difficult to do in the home.

Of course, you might discuss medications with her doctor, since, undue anxiety could be causing your mother's distress. My loved one had good results with medication.
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As my mother died this past Feb 2016, from dementia/alzheimer , where prior she was constantly saying she wanted to go home, but yes was living in her home of 45 years. But yes, she meant her childhood home, with her Mom, and other siblings. Understanding ones mind is difficult when they are not in the same place mentally as you are. To disfuse anxiety and agitation I always distracted her with memories of the family now, her granchildren & her successful Nursing Career! The day she told me her Mother wanted her home, I knew her time on this earth was limited. I called my family together, and 1 week later, she was at peace. Don't ignore the signs of death, peace, loneliness, or confusion. Embrace the moment your loved one is in. My act of love now, as I promised my Mom is to take care of my father, whos health is physically& mentally declining until he's ready to be at peace. Its tough, but I will have no regrets.
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PALynn, click on the link below, then scroll down to the articles... arm yourself with enough information regarding Alzheimer's/Dementia so when these strange moments happens in this so very complex journey, you can say to yourself "ah, this is part of Dementia".

https://www.agingcare.com/Alzheimers-Dementia

My Dad has what appears to be sundowner. Dad's starts around 4pm unless it is storming out then it will start sooner. I understand how rattling it can be when our parent doesn't understand they are home. I ran into that with my Dad when he first started this sundowner journey couple months ago. Dad thought he was in a motel and he would be checking out tomorrow. Even with me saying does the furniture look familiar? He said yes, but his mind kept looping that he wasn't home. It's hard to play along and tell them "maybe tomorrow we will go home" as this is so new to us.

Last night my Dad was sent to the ER as he fell in his senior living facility and had a cut on his head. I met him at the ER. Everything checked out fine and he could be discharged. Dad told the doctor that we had a long ride ahead, we were driving to Iowa..... (we were in northern Virginia only 15 minutes from his senior facility). The doctor looked at me, so I glanced at my watch and said "it's 9pm, Dad is in Iowa".... then she responded "got ya". Apparently she wanted to make sure there wasn't further injury due to Dad's strange remark.
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My mom also wanted to go home and she was in her home of fifty-three years. She didn't recognize anything. She would even ask at breakfast when she was going home. She would also comment that it is a very nice home. Asked who's home is this? The thing that worked the best was to tell her she was going home tomorrow. To which I would respond it has been wonder having you here for this visit. It worked very well.

Do not try to straighten her out by correcting or arguing with her. That will onky cause agitation.
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Rainmom is right on the money. "Home" may be where she grew up or (and I love this phrase) a "foggy concept". A state of mind. A sense of security and safety.

Sundowner's doesn't necessarily begin at sundown. It can be at any time of the day or night when someone regularly becomes agitated.

I know it's an automatic impulse to want to familiarize your mom to her surroundings when she becomes agitated and is wanting to go home but what she actually wants is probably out of reach. Try to soothe her instead by fixing her a snack or looking through a photo album with her, you can read to her if she's a book lover, anything to distract her from her anxiety. Try to calmly redirect her until her anxiety passes.

Does your mom take anything for anxiety? That might help as well. And I too urge you to look through all the posts on this subject. There's a lot of great information here from people who have been where you are now.
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I haven't experienced this with my mom - thank God, but have read about it here frequently. Seems the root of the problem is that the person is really looking for a familar place to feel safe/happy/secure. Often it's a home from childhood or earlier in life but sometimes it's just a foggy concept. Do take a look at the previous threads for tips on how to handle it. I'm afraid I have no good advice but wanted to say I'm sorry you're having to go through this - it must be heartbreaking.
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