Going "home" / leaving home

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by Loj, Nov 22, 2015.

  1. Loj

    Loj Registered User

    Nov 22, 2015

    I am new to TP. My mother suffers from dementia and I am looking for feedback on what to do when she tries to leave home. She has recently prepared a suitcase and wanted to leave the house she has shared with my father for many years because "she is sick of having to do all the work" (my father does everything). This is also, I believe, linked to a desire that she expresses quite often of wanting to "go home". Her behaviour is much more erratic towards the end of the day (sundowning, we think).

    Any feedback on similar experiences and what to do (or not) would be appreciated.
    Thanks very much.
  2. doodle1

    doodle1 Registered User

    May 11, 2012
    Hi and welcome to TP.you will find kindness and support on here.i have no experience of the packing the bag type of behaviour but would perhaps suggest you read the compassionate communication link ( dinosaur me can't find it but someone will be along who can post it) I would not argue with her but gently agree that enough is enough and where would she like to go etc.sometimes just entering into their world changes the mood.worked with my mum with hallucinations.
    Does she live with you? Do you live close by?
    Thinking of you
  3. 1mindy

    1mindy Registered User

    Jul 21, 2015
    I have had the packing bag thing going on for a number of weeks now . My oh packs all sorts of random things dirty cups , bowls,ear defenders ,cushions to name but a few. Already to go home. With the dark nights I tell him its too late to go and we will go in the morning . He insists we need to leave for 6 or6.30 , so I assure him I will set the alarm. I never question where he thinks he is or where home is .He seems happy with this. No big deals just go along with what your mother believes. I find he does carry on about why the people let us stay here for nothing when we get in to bed.A new one tonight is he can't u derstand why I want to stay as there is nothing wrong with us. I assume this is now some kind of hospital . Again I said its too late to go home and it is quiet nice here. Apparently it's not nice as there is nothing to do.
    Hope this helps .
  4. fizzie

    fizzie Registered User

    Jul 20, 2011
    I so agree with Mindy. We just went along with it. Sometimes we were on a bus going to visit 'mum' - off we went, had a lovely visit, then it was time to come home!! We went to all sorts of places, some nice, some not great and some absolutely horrendous apparently, we all went, whoever was there at the time, and we all did it together. I suppose some people thought we were bonkers but Hey who cares. The one thing we always did was AGREE with her!
    Good luck thinking of you x
  5. Bod

    Bod Registered User

    Aug 30, 2013
    "I want to go home"
    Very common, it's thought, what's meant is" I want to go somewhere where I feel safe"
    Often a childhood place.
    When the sufferer can't cope with day to day reality, they want to go "Home".
    Packing to leave is common, also not recognising that the house they have lived in for maybe 50 years is home.
    All you can do is ensure they cannot leave, by whatever means it takes, and constantly unpack.

  6. Loj

    Loj Registered User

    Nov 22, 2015
    Thanks for your reply. I agree that "home" is not necessarily a geographical location and seems to show that Mum is uncomfortable or doesn't feel safe where she is. Mum often doesn't not recognise that she is in the house she has lived in for many years with my Dad. It is no longer "where she lives".
  7. Loj

    Loj Registered User

    Nov 22, 2015
    Thanks Mindy. Yes, after quite a bit of trial and error, we have adopted the same approach. I was able to persuade Mum recently that she should stay put "for tonight" as it was not a good idea to be outdoors at night time and that we would "discuss the best options in the morning". It took some time but we managed in the end.

    LOU_JONES Registered User

    Nov 18, 2015
    My nan started this when my grandad was taken into hospital for a couple of weeks. My mum - her daughter stayed with her and my nan kept asking when she could go home and putting shoes and coat on late at night.
    At first my mum would argue back as not dealt with it before but she learnt to deal with it by saying "oh you're going out now, it's very late and cold, I'm not going out in that I'll stay here in the warm" nan never did actually go out but mum says she would deal with it one step at a time.....
    Definitely agree and not argue we've found is best.
  9. Loj

    Loj Registered User

    Nov 22, 2015
    Hello Doodle1, thanks very much for your message. It is such a help to be able to ask questions and to receive kindness, understanding and help in return ! We have since learned that it is of no use at all to try to explain that what Mum "believes" is not actually reality. As you said, entering her world certainly helps. My father cares for Mum; I live abroad which adds a few more complications into the mix.
  10. Loj

    Loj Registered User

    Nov 22, 2015
    Thanks for your response. Yes, we've found that entering Mum's "reality" is really the only solution. Agreeing and reassuring are much more fruitful tactics.
  11. Nelson1969

    Nelson1969 Registered User

    Nov 27, 2015
    "Wanting to go home"

    Hi...I'm delighted that I've found a forum where I can tell others in the same boat what my concerns are! So thank you
    My mum has dementia, and my dad cares for her, I'm in and out most days too. For the most part mum is fine during the day, she does get confused and forgetful but our difficult time is the evenings when she constantly wants to go home! My dad is 83, mum is 84, and he struggles to know what to say when she wants home, she can get aggressive when he tells her she is home!
    What are some of the ways others have found helpful to divert the conversation?
  12. looviloo

    looviloo Registered User

    May 3, 2015
    As Bod says, I think they are yearning for somewhere to feel safe.. wherever that might be. Not that their home isn't safe, but I imagine that internally the frustration and anxiety brings about a very unsettled feeling :-(.

    At least that's how I think my dad reacted, when he had to move first to the hospital and then to the care home. Later, when he was more himself again, he started talking about home and wanting/yearning to go back again. He got (as usual) quite agitated about it. Then suddenly he looked up at me and giggled... saying "I was thinking about the wrong home, I was thinking about the home I grew up in". It was a bitter-sweet moment x
  13. Amy in the US

    Amy in the US Registered User

    Feb 28, 2015
    Nelson 1969, welcome to Talking Point. I hope you will find help, advice, support, suggestions, and loads of sympathetic ears on here, as others of us have. I'm sorry to hear about your mother.

    You asked for advice about ways to divert the conversation from "going home." I am not saying any of this will work, but here are some of the things I've seen suggested here:

    -compassionate communication (there is a factsheet that I can never find the link for, but some kind person will help out with this) works for some people some of the time

    -distraction with an activity, food, cup of tea, going for a walk, et cetera

    -inviting the person to tell you about "home"

    I hope others will have other suggestions for you.

    There is lots of good information on the Alzheimer's Association website; if you've not had a chance to look around there, you might do so. I also find lots of helpful info and ideas from searching here on TP and reading old threads. You will see that "going home" comes up a lot.

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