Question about mother constantly asking when she is going home?

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If you look at my past posts you will see that this is like a soap opera. Anyway, my 92 year old mother is in a home. We have not told her that she will not be coming home. She keeps asking my step-dad when is she getting to come home and he keeps telling her that she can't come home till she gets better. I would think at some point she will realize that she isn't coming home. I'm not sure about that. How does one handle this type of issue???

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I totally understand your situation. My wife is in a memory care unit of a senior living center. She has been there 4 months. She is only 73. Every time I visit her, she wants to go home with me. I have explained to her where she is and why she is there. It doesn't stick. She will ask to go home every time. Strange, that before she went to the center, she ask to go home while sitting in her living room/den.

I use clever ways to leave without causing a commotion. I have to go to the office, have to meet with staff or I am not going home, I have an appointment, etc. the next time I see her, she does not remember by previous departure. It just a sad situation. We are trying to do the best thing for our loved ones, even though they cannot understand what is for their own good.

You may feel like not going to visit because of this re-occurring question. But go anyway. Show that you care. Rest assure, that you are not alone in dealing with "I want to go home." Look for ways to re-direct. Staff may be able to help you to leave without your loved one getting upset.

Good suggestions on this site. Just do your best.
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Reply to ed812day2
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You posted, "I would think at some point she will realize that she isn't coming home."
That would require a mind ABLE to rationalize that she's going to live there forever. Dementia sufferers don't have rational thinking. They can't put 2 and 2 together. They've lost the ability to think clearly and do complex computations, such as;
"I'm here because of a failing mind and increased need for mental and physical care. So, as I progress in this illness, I'll need more and more care that my family can't give. That's why I'm here and that's why I'll never be able to go back home to live."
They don't have the ability to do this type of complex thinking. It's not her fault. But they have the ability to get fixated on one thing and ask you the same question 50 times during your visit.

I agree with how your step dad is handling it. It is an answer that gives HER hope and doesn't kill her dreams of one day returning home and also pacifying her for the moment. It's an open ended answer with the "blame" put on the doctors' judgement.

Use distraction as a way to get off the subject. Right after her question is answered, point her attention in another direction....Mom, how about if we pick out what you're going to wear tomorrow? or Let's go get a cookie in the sitting room.

I think you're expecting too much on your mom's part. Please read about the different levels of Alzheimer's and what to expect. Alz.org is a good place to start. Of course, this site has amazing info also.

Good luck.
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Reply to SueC1957
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Ahmi and Susan both offer good advice. In the meantime, what can you do to make the placement SEEM more like home? Does your mother have memories that aren't specifically home related? Favorite objects, photos? Other than moving her back home, what could be done to make her current residence more like home?
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Reply to GardenArtist
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Ahmijoy is exactly right. It's tough to transition to a nursing home setting in the best of circumstances, but when you add in memory loss, dementia, etc - it just gets 100 times worse.

Think about it this way: if he were to keep telling her every time she asks that she's never going to get to go home, she would be in a constant state of agitation and upset, which wouldn't be good for anyone, especially your mom. It's best to keep up the "therapeutic fib" for as long as it takes her to settle in. She may still ask occasionally when she's going home.
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Reply to AnonymousMember
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Your stepdad is handling it exactly as he should. And, you should all support him in this. All “be on the same page” and if your mom asks any of you, tell her the same thing. We call this the “Therapeutic Fib”. It’s like a little white lie. It’s not uncommon for people in a facility to beg to go home. A lot of times, they don’t remember their most recent home. My mom wanted to go to her home back in the 30’s and live with her parents. Just like everything else, this is just one more upsetting thing for loved ones of dementia patients to deal with.
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