My 86 year old mom has been in an Assisted Living for memory impaired people for five weeks. Much to our surprise, she has adjusted well. She is participating in activities, engaging with staff and residents and looks better than she has in a long time. However, when she is alone with us, she becomes very upset and says that this place is ok and but she wants to go home. She cries and insists that she doesn't want to spend the rest of her life in the facility. We have tried to focus on, "this is what is best for now" but it does not seem to give her comfort. I'm sure that this is a common occurrence but am looking for suggestions for how to best handle the situation.


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You are her go to person for manipulation, this is not uncommon. She is doing well, just let it be. Say "Ok, I understand" and change the subject, or "When your doctor gives us a written letter saying you can go home, we will consider it".
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dorib2, please note when a person who has dementia is saying they want to go home, the home they are referring is their "childhood home".

My Mom did that when she was in long-term-care. It took me a while to understand that she wasn't referring to the house that she and my Dad were sharing, but the house where she grew up. Mom at 98 wanted to visit her parents and her siblings.

What I had to do was use "therapeutic fibs" such as when Mom wanted to visit her parents, I had to say "oh, they are visiting the old country" and Mom was ok with that excuse. I had to be more creative when she wanted to visit her siblings [all of whom had passed].

I really believe when we are visiting an elder who is living in senior living, it is very common for them to grumble about something, and the main topic is usually "wanting to go home".
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Sympathetically - how would you feel if you thought you would never see your home again? - but then as smoothly and quickly as possibly divert her attention to - well, anything else, really! Supper, family news, activities you've noticed going on, what's on tv tonight, how happy you are that she's looking so well, how much you enjoy visiting her here.

Just, I always think, don't say anything that might sound like a contradiction of how she's feeling. Yes, this is her new home. Yes, she's thriving, and you must be hugely relieved that she's doing well. But still. It isn't her home, and she isn't with you, and she misses her past, and it is sad for everyone that she needs to be here.

If she really only ever feels like this when she is alone with family, maybe stick to communal areas such as lounges or gardens so that she isn't triggered into being upset. There are patterns and habits governing how we behave, to a certain extent; so perhaps disrupting the pattern a little might help.
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