My mother keeps packing her things at the nursing home, and insisting I'm taking her back home. Every day. What can I say to her? - AgingCare.com

My mother keeps packing her things at the nursing home, and insisting I'm taking her back home. Every day. What can I say to her?

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She went to the nursing home about a month ago. She has stage 4 lung cancer, but doing ok with that so far. She has dementia and hears a man singing to her, and sees people that aren't there. Every time I visit (several times per week), she insists I am going to take her home that day. How do I handle this? She was falling at home and getting hurt, so going back is not an option. She's so miserable and hates it there. She accuses the staff of shoving her (not true), etc.

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Are the staff paying attention to the hallucinations? Some types of pain relief can cause these (though n.b. so can dementia), so it's worth asking what she's being given and whether it might want adjusting. I'm sorry for how upsetting this is for you, as well as her.
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I Mom was always asking about home, but at first I thought it was the house that she had shared with Dad, who at the time was still living in their house. Then later Mom would ask if the cattle were in the fields.... ok, that was a huge clue as all the homes that she and my Dad shared, none had cattle. It was her childhood home where she grew up that was a dairy farm.

Any time my Mom [98] asked about going back home, I would say "maybe next week" as her parents and siblings were busy this week. She accepted that.
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I agree with suggestions above. I might say whatever works in the moment. Just to keep her content and having good thoughts for the future.

I'd keep in mind that even if you took her home, she may still pack a bag and want to go to another home. Home is sometimes a place in their mind of comfort and not a physical location. I'm not aware of any way to prevent her from asking about it. Even if she accepts an explanation, she would likely forget and have to be reminded.
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Karen, one part of dementia behavior is rgressing to anothr time of one's life. Asking to go home typically means a home of long ago. When my Mom began with dementia, she 'wanted to go home'. She was in a CCCC in the independent side with a live in aide. She walked all over the complex looking for 'her home'. Some gentle story telling may get her through this 'hump'. Mom, they are paining the house and we can't go back until they are finished. Same story each time. Simple and it is over. Can you bring her some treats to make her more comfortable? A photo or decoration item from her home? A food treat? Some music? Try to get her out of her room to a communal area and visit there. If it makes you feel any better, this is VERY typical behavior.
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You might tell her that you're having some changes made to the house to fix it up for her. Then there can be a material shortage, contractor gets sick, or other excuses.

I wouldn't tell her she's not going home; thinking of returning might be all the hope she has to cling to right now.

Ask the facility's staff if there are any support group meetings for people dealing with cancer, and/or contact the local Gilda's Club to see if you can get some support for yourself. Ours has sub groups specifically for various cancers.
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