Advice for my dad during lockdown

Gemal696

New member
May 28, 2020
2
Hello

I’ve just joined as I’m looking for any advice to help my dad. My mum was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2016. Health wise she is physically well, though has a lot less energy and stamina. During lockdown, we’ve been unable to give my dad much support. We live in the same street and do shopping, cooking and regularly contact him. Recently my mum keeps “packing” she thinks she is on holiday, obviously realising that things are different. Every day my dad has to unpack everything she plans to take home. We initially thought this was sweet and meant mum was happy, if she thought she was on holiday. It’s really frustrating my dad, so I wondered if anyone had had any similar experiences and offer any advice I could give my dad?
 

lemonbalm

Registered User
May 21, 2018
291
Hello @Gemal696 . I don't have experience of this myself but, if you type "packing to go home" into the search bar, you will see that there are quite a few threads on this subject, so you might be able to pick up a few tips there. I'm sure other members will be able to offer advice and support too. I do know that it is a common problem and that the person with dementia is normally wanting to return to another time or a childhood home.
 

Sarasa

Registered User
Apr 13, 2018
1,405
Hi @Gemal696 , frst of all welcome to Dementia Talking Point. It seems from what you've said you are doing a lot for your parents lockdown or no lockdown.
Wanting to go home is very common in people with dementia. Often they don't recognise where they are living and want to go 'home', which is often their parent's house or somewhere they lived when they were much younger. It seems to be tied in with a feeling that things aren't right and if they move somewhere else they'll leave the confusion they are feeling behind. Certainly when my mother was in the early stages of dementia and knew she was in her own home, she often talked about escaping or going home even though she admitted that was a 'silly idea'.
Anyway the best way is probably to distract your mum, to say yes she can go, but not today as there are no buses, its teatime or whatever. If you look at some of the other posts from people you'll find some very creative excuses. This thread Compassionate Communication with the Memory Impaired will help with ideas, though I must admit I never found it easy to follow it through with my mum.
Does your mum go to day centres or have anyone coming in to give your dad a break? A bit tricky at the moment, but worth exploring as lockdown eases off. It may be worth contacting social services for an assessment too, though if your parents would be self-funding they might not do a lot. Also at the moment local councils should have extra support in place. Look on their website and see what's available. I guess some will be better than others. Mine has a service where volunteers are phoning up vulnerable people to check on them and have a chat. Just hearing a different voice might be good for your mum, I know I am missing seeing the people I usually do. This link might be of use too Find Support Near You.
Anyway keep posting, you'll find lots of support, help and advice here.