Things To Avoid When Someone With Dementia Wants To Go Home
One of the most important things to keep in mind when an individual with dementia wants to go home is that home may represent a concept rather than a physical location. So even if they are home, its usually not a good idea to argue with them.
Being insistent that your loved one is already home might lead to increased agitation and anxiety. The information you explain may not be processed the way you want it to, and they will feel like you arent listening to them. Additionally, they may feel like you are preventing them from doing something that they wish to do.
Finally, you dont want to raise your voice, no matter how hard it can be to hear your loved one insist on going home. Your tone of voice and choice of words can have a direct effect on their feelings, and a harsh tone can lead to increased stress or upsetedness.
Kind Calming Ways To Respond To I Want To Go Home
These suggestions will put you on the right track, but its a good idea to get creative and come up with responses that are tailored for your older adults history, personality, and preferences.
1. Reassure and comfort to validate their needsSometimes saying I want to go home is how your older adult tells you theyre tense, anxious, scared, or in need of extra comfort.
Approach your older adult with a calm, soothing, and relaxed manner. If you remain calm, it often helps them calm down too.
If they like hugs, this is a good time for one. Others may prefer gentle touching or stroking on their arm or shoulder or simply having you sit with them.
2. Avoid reasoning and explanationsTrying to use reason and logic isnt recommended when someone has a brain disease. It will only make them more insistent, agitated, and upset.
Dont try to explain that theyre in their own home, assisted living is now their home, or they moved in with you 3 years ago.
They wont be able to process that information and will feel like youre not listening, you dont care, or that youre stopping them from doing something thats important to them.
3. Validate, redirect, and distractBeing able to redirect and distract is an effective dementia care technique. Its a skill that improves with practice, so dont feel discouraged if the first few attempts dont work perfectly.
Why Alzheimer’s Patients Often Want To Go Home
Often, asking to go home relates to feelings of insecurity, anxiety, or depression. Since Alzheimer’s disease initially affects short-term memory, it may be that “home” reflects long-term memories of times and places that were secure and calming. One reason a loved one may want to go home, even though she is already in her home, is that she is thinking of her childhood home that no longer exists.
“Home” might also be representative of the longing for something familiar. Because of the memory loss in dementia, nothing may feel familiar anymore, and the person may subconsciously connect “home” with the sense of familiarity and belonging.
Instead of viewing “home” as a person’s usual residence, a more relevant definition may be “the place in which one’s domestic affections are centered.” It is this notion that is likely being expressed by many people with dementia the importance of nurturing comfort and the value of shared and loving intimacy experienced in family life. This desire to reconnect with the part of your mother’s life that provided the most security, intimacy, and comfort is what she is likely expressing.
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When A Senior With Dementia Says I Just Want To Go Home
I want to go home.
Nearly every dementia caregiver has heard this heartbreaking plea from their loved one. They may already be at home or they may be struggling to accept their new surroundings after a move to long-term care, but this simple statement is still jarring. Home means different things for different people, but dementia tends to take this concept to a new and confusing extreme.
Take A Break From Caring
Taking regular breaks can help you to look after yourself and better support you in caring for someone with dementia.
Family and friends may be able to provide short breaks for you to have time “just for you”.
Other options include:
- day centres social services or your local carers’ centre should provide details of these in your area
- respite care this can be provided in your own home or for a short break in a care home
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What Support Is Available For Me If I Care For Someone With Dementia
When youre caring for someone else, it can be easy to overlook your own needs. But looking after your health and making time for yourself can help you feel better and more able to cope with your caring role.
Caring for someone with dementia can lead to feelings of guilt, sadness, confusion or anger. Unlike with other conditions, it can be difficult to share these feelings with someone with dementia, leaving you feeling very isolated.
Its important to acknowledge these feelings, and to remember that theres no right or wrong way to feel. If youre feeling anxious or depressed, or you’re struggling to cope, talk to your doctor who can let you know about the help and support available to you.
Distract With Something Pleasurable
If youve tried telling the truth and found your loved one became even more irate, saying for example, But Ive changed my mind about moving! I want to go home! Its probably wisest to give up gracefully getting locked into arguments about whose decision it was to move and why they cant go home now, isnt helpful to either of you. Instead, try suggesting you do something enjoyable together, such as going for a walk, eating a cream cake, or listening to some favourite music. Once theyre absorbed in a pleasurable activity, theres a good chance theyll feel calmer and stop asking that question for a while, at least.
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How To Respond When Your Aging Parent With Dementia Says I Want To Go Home
One of the most heartbreaking things you can hear from your aging parent with dementia is: I want to go home. While its not unusual to hear this from people who are living in a memory care community, it is distressing for those who love them. If youre a caregiver whose loved one lives with them, you may hear this phrase as well.
When your loved one has dementia, explaining that theyre already home or they cant go back home doesnt work, says Andrea Campisi, Marketing and Admissions Director of The Reutlinger Community, a Continuing Care Retirement Community in Danville, CA. Logic doesnt work, so we as caregivers or adult children need to look at the situation from a different perspective in order to help comfort and calm our parent.
Oftentimes, when a parent is saying I want to go home, they arent actually meaning that they want to go home. Its more of a request for comfort, says Andrea. Their current environment isnt familiar to them for some reason, or theyre hurting in some way or theyre simply afraid. In this case, home is shorthand for a place that is familiar and comfortable, so we as caregivers should focus on reassuring our loved ones and figuring out what is really bothering them.
Assess The Possibility Of Other Problems
Sometimes when a person repeatedly asks to go home, they are in discomfort. Their discomfort could be emotional or physical, or both.
Check on the possibility of pain, and make sure that all their lab results are current, especially ones that check for urinary tract infections. Urinary tract infections are common as people get older and can lead to confusion and even delirium.
A person with dementia may have difficulty communicating how they feel, so you will need to sleuth out potential problems. Your loved one may be lonely or depressed.
Talk with the care staff to determine if they have noticed behavior changes, such as increasing isolation or agitation.
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What It Means When A Person With Dementia Says I Want To Go Home
If you are the family caregiver for a senior with Alzheimers disease, a phrase youve likely heard them say is I want to go home. In most cases the older adult is already home, but home is an environment that no longer looks familiar to them. While it might be that memory loss is causing them not to remember their surroundings, the phrase might also mean something else.
Communicating with a Loved One Who Has Dementia
Adults with Alzheimers disease and other forms of dementia often lose some or all of their verbal communications skills fairly early in the disease process. This makes it hard for their loved ones to understand what is wrong or what the senior is trying to say.
Sometimes a person with dementia is searching for home because of unmet needs or because they are feeling isolated and alone. Heres what they might really mean:
Redirecting a Senior with Alzheimers Attention
When a senior with Alzheimers is frustrated and agitated at not being allowed to search for home, redirecting their attention is often the best solution:
Memory Care at Five Star Senior Living
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Because we specialize in a continuum of care, our residents never need to worry about leaving the community they call home or wonder what will happen when they need some more care. Residents and families alike can have peace of mind knowing that there are full-time licensed nurses available, along with activity coordinators, social workers, caregivers, a concierge and Rabbi who focus solely on helping each resident thrive. Even better, our services and amenities are equal to those of a state-of-the-art resort. This is the lifestyle and care that your loved one deserves.
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Dementia Behavior: Sleep Problems
While quality sleep tends to decrease as you age, people who have dementia experience more sleep disturbances than other seniors. In fact, sleep problems affect as many as a third of seniors with dementia.
Common sleep issues may include:
- Difficulty getting and staying asleep
- Agitation and restlessness when trying to sleep
- Thinking its daytime when its night, going as far as getting up, getting dressed and wanting to start the day, Hashmi says
Sleep disturbances are hard on patients and caregivers alike, Hashmi says. Its physically and mentally exhausting to be up night after night.
How Can I Support Someone As Their Dementia Progresses
As a person’s dementia reaches its later stages, they become increasingly dependent on others for their care.
They may have severe memory loss and no longer recognise those close to them. They may lose weight , lose their ability to walk, become incontinent, and behave in unusual ways.
Not everyone will show all these signs, and some people may show them earlier on in the illness.
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How To Communicate With Someone Who Has Dementia
As dementia progresses, it affects peoples ability to express themselves so you may need to learn new ways to understand and communicate with the person you care for. Here are some tips:
If youre struggling with unusual or challenging behaviour, speak to the persons GP to get a referral to your community mental health team. The Alzheimer Societys factsheet Aggressive behaviour has more useful information including how to react, working out triggers, and dealing with your own feelings.
It’s worth bearing in mind that distress and confusion may be caused by other health needs than dementia. Always discuss any concerns with the person’s GP so they can check for physical causes of symptoms.
Helping Someone With Everyday Tasks
In the early stages of dementia, many people are able to enjoy life in the same way as before their diagnosis.
But as symptoms get worse, the person may feel anxious, stressed and scared at not being able to remember things, follow conversations or concentrate.
It’s important to support the person to maintain skills, abilities and an active social life. This can also help how they feel about themselves.
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Thoughts On My Mother Always Wants To Go Home But Shes Already Home
My mother has mid to late alzheimers as of now she shares a room with my great aunt . In a few months my great aunt will be moving out and I am nervous at the fact that my mother will be sleeping alone in her room, my room will be next door, but I sleep with my husband.Whenever my aunt even goes out and takes out the trash my mom looks for her. My mom is very use to my aunts company any advice of what can help when my aunt is not around my mother follows her every move and Im more than sure she will do the same to me.
When People With Dementia Refuse Help
When a person with dementia is unwilling to do something that we want them to do, this may be described as refusal or resistance.
As with other areas of a persons behaviour that we may find challenging or distressing, we need to try to find out what the person is telling us through their refusal in other words, the reason why they are refusing. And rather than expecting the person with dementia to follow our wishes, we should be focusing on how we can co-operate with their wishes.
Being forced into things makes us upset or aggressive, even fearful.
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A Person With Dementia Doesnt Always Fit Into One Stage
Dementia affects each person in a unique way and changes different parts of the brain at different points in the disease progression.
Plus, different types of dementia tend to have different symptoms.
For example, someone with frontotemporal dementia may first show extreme behavior and personality changes. But someone with Alzheimers disease would first experience short-term memory loss and struggle with everyday tasks.
Researchers and doctors still dont know enough about how these diseases work to predict exactly what will happen.
Another common occurrence is for someone in the middle stages of dementia to suddenly have a clear moment, hour, or day and seem like theyre back to their pre-dementia abilities. They could be sharp for a little while and later, go back to having obvious cognitive impairment.
When this happens, some families may feel like their older adult is faking their symptoms or just isnt trying hard enough.
Its important to know that this isnt true, its truly the dementia thats causing their declining abilities as well as those strange moments of clarity theyre truly not doing it on purpose.
Remember: Your Needs As A Caregiver Matter Too
Dealing with dementia behaviors can quickly wear out a caregiver or family member, causing caregiver burnout.
If your loved ones dementia behaviors have progressed to the point where you cannot manage them alone, help is available. Senior care options like home care or memory care can help relieve some of the caregiving burden while also helping to keep your loved one safe.
If you are feeling resentment, anxiety, or depression, seek help. A caregiver support group, counselor, friend, or family member can offer camaraderie and advice.
Other families, other caregivers, are going through the same thing, Hashmi says. They have a lot of common challenges and common solutions to share. And often those are the most effective, because theyre going through exactly the same process.
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Why Do People With Dementia Want To Go Home
Dementia is an umbrella term for memory loss and impairment in other cognitive abilities that are severe enough to interfere with daily life. Its caused by damage to brain cells, which can interfere with the ability of those cells to communicate with each other. This affects thinking and behavior.
When a person with dementia asks to go home, the chances are slim that they actually want to go to a specific, physical location. Home represents comfort, memories, and people that they might miss or feel unable to connect with. In short, the request to go home is often more of a request for comfort rather than a change of actual location.
Responding with compassion and understanding is one of the best things you can do, even though hearing this request can be frustrating at times.