keeps asking to go home

Discussion in 'ARCHIVE FORUM: Support discussions' started by gladys, Dec 21, 2004.

  1. gladys

    gladys Registered User

    Dec 21, 2004
    I have been taking care of my 82 yr old mom. For the past couple of days, she keeps asking for me to take her home (she's already in her home). I tell her that she's already home and that everything is okay. I am not sure if this is the right response. She looks so confused and bewildered, and it's breaking my heart. I would greatly appreciate your thoughts and advice.
  2. Anne54

    Anne54 Registered User

    Sep 16, 2004
    Dear Gladys
    This seems to be very common, it is your mothers childhood home she wants to go to, distraction seems to help “lets have a cup of tea while we are here”, it may not work but worth a try. I seem to remember someone said they put their coats on walked round the block and arrived back home with a cheerful “here we are home again”
    But it’s not easy.
  3. gladys

    gladys Registered User

    Dec 21, 2004
    Thank you so much for your reply. I was wondering if it might be her childhood home, which by the way, is only a couple of miles away from her current home of 45 years. I took her for a ride one Saturday (late autumn) and we passed by it and saw the owner sitting on the porch. I pulled into the lane and we all chatted about the house's history and the owner invited us back to come inside (she had her mother there who was expected to pass that weekend and we graciously declined to visit inside. she certainly had her hands full).

    Do you think it would do her more harm if I took her back there? She hasn't lived in that house for 70 years but has often spoke of it and the happy times spent there. Much of her adulthood was filled with sadness from the unnatural early deaths of her children and an abusive spouse (my father). But, God has been with her thru it all, and she has managed to live a somewhat happy life, inspite of a heart attack and being diabetic for 40 years. I would have never thought AD would be the disease that would cause us so much pain.

    I would do anything to make her feel safe and happy. Gosh, it hurts so much to see her suffering look of fear and anxiety. Please let me know your thoughts on taking her to visit her childhood home. Thanks again. Gladys
  4. Brucie

    Brucie Registered User

    Jan 31, 2004
    near London
    Hi Gladys

    I think the problem is something called 'sundowning'. This usually seems to happen in the afternoons, as the light levels drop, though it can happen other times too.

    It probably won't help to take Mom anywhere really, but hey, why not try it anyway? Try anything that may distract her, or help her feel more at ease.

    Be aware that Mom may sometimes get very worried when she is in the car, so make sure the door is locked and she is safe beside you.

    Generally, sundowning is treated either by diverting the person's mind [in the early stages], or by medication [at later stages].

    Sundowning is one of the most horrible stages of a horrible illness, because there's not really very much you can do. There is no magic pill.

    Try making a search here on Talking Point for 'Sundowning' and you will find some of the conversations we have had this past year.

    Good luck!
  5. gladys

    gladys Registered User

    Dec 21, 2004
    Thank you so much for the quick reply. I will look for the sundowning thread. I certainly need to learn more about it. And a big THANK YOU to the people operating this forum. I am so happy that I found you!

  6. Sheila

    Sheila Registered User

    Oct 23, 2003
    West Sussex
    Hi Gladys, My Mum used to do this often, and yes it was sundowning, that time in the late afternoon when things seem to reach a peak. I used often to just walk her round the block and then say shall we go home now and have a cup of tea. This sometimes worked, other times we'd be back round the block again later. It is a difficult one, distraction is one of the best solutions. I found Mum would happily knock up a cheesecake from a packet for pud some nights, obviously she needed a bit of help, but once that was in the fridge, a "sherry" - really alco free wine while we waited for dinner to cook got us through. (She got very violent if she had alcohol so I had to do the best I could.) Sometimes she would start again later and we had to resort to more tactics and"lock down", keys hidden, baby gate across stairs to prevent a fall, come on lets sort the washing up, will you help me with this please, these shoes, this table, etc. needs a good polish etc. You need the patience of a saint and the cunning of the devil!! Love She. XX
  7. nikita

    nikita Registered User

    Jul 31, 2004
    wanting to go home

    my gran lately has been asking me to take her home when i ask her where home is she takls about where she lived as a girl and how her mum will be worred her mum has been dead over 70 yrs, i fiind distraction with food help as shes like a child with sweets.
  8. Chesca

    Chesca Guest

    Hello Gladys

    Sorry to hear about the time you are having, it's awful, isn't it? The pain of seeing a loved one struggling with no answers to give.

    I care for Mum, 81, who has been in a nursing home for the last 18 months, following us caring for her at home for many years. Like the other members, I understand a little of what you are experiencing with the sundowning.

    It won't do any harm to your Mum to be taking her 'home' but you will be out of your own mind if you start this, because you will never stop. As an illustration: Dad started to take Mum back to her chilchood home (the house is still occupied by her nephew) and she'd arrive outside, ask what she was doing there - didn't want to be there, and Dad would bring her back to their home only for her to start again, she wanted to go home! This went on for many months until Dad was at breaking point. It's not the bricks and mortar she is after, it's 'home' and all it means to her - her mother and her childhood which is where her mind is at that moment.

    I discovered that my Mum was, in fact, worrying about HER Mum (don't for God's sake tell your Mum her own mother is dead if the occasion arises, she will go into mourning because it will be new to her - a huge mistake I made at the beginning which I deeply regret to this day). I learned to play the game, go with the AD. I would tell her that her Mum was fine, had just called in to see her and she was making an apple pie and looking forward to seeing her later, or variations thereon. It worked, still does, although it works better now that she is on medication that calms her.

    It took me a long time to cotton on, though, with many tears, much frustration and trying to reason with the unreasonable. Maybe this tack will help. You know your Mum best so try to create the cosy familiar scenario at her home to make her feel secure, telling her everything is OK, nothing to worry about, and she will hopefully move on until the next time. The secret is not to fight AD - a fight you'll never win - but to go with it, play its game, however painful it may seem at the time.

    I hope that you can find your coping mechanism to help with this time. Take good care of yourself too in all of this, you are very special, don't forget it!

    Many best wishes
  9. gladys

    gladys Registered User

    Dec 21, 2004
    Chesca, Nikita, Sheila, Brucie, Anne54--(and anyone i missed),

    Thank you all so much for giving me your insights and your experiences. I have read and re-read all of your posts and will hold them closely to my heart.

    I have been playing the A.D. game for the past year, wondering all the time if I had been doing the right thing. I am so relieved to know that I have been. There's alot to be said for "trusting ones instincts".

    I am about to call mum's neurologist to schedule the follow-up appointment and to go over the results of her MRI and EEG, and all the bloodwork. I am hoping that he will meet with me alone because getting mum there is a big job. I don't think that the doc will meet with me because then he cannot bill Medicare (USA healthcare payor for the elderly) for the visit if she's not there. I am almost tempted to pay cash out of pocket. Anyway, confirmation of what her illness is (premliminary diagnosis is AD) whether vascular or otherwise, will not really change the path we are on.

    My goal is and always has been is to keep her safe (she falls alot and her must have meals sat infront of her to eat) and happy in her own home as long as I can. It has been extremely difficult thus far, but as long as I have a breath in me, that is what I will continue to do.

    I keep telling myself that I will look back in time and see that these are the good days because I know she will get worse. I dread the day when I will have to seek care in a facility.

    Thank you all again. I feel very blessed to have found you. I will keep in touch.

  10. Emma-Rebecca

    Emma-Rebecca Registered User

    Dec 17, 2004
    Gladys, my heart really goes out to you. My grandmother went through this phase of the illness. She actually lived quite close to where she lived as a child, and one day we realised that she had gone missing. We called our Doctor who suggested we look around where her old home used to be. There we found her, inside, having a cup of tea with the medical students who happened to live there. They later told my Dad that they had twigged immediately what was going on. God bless them. My Mum and grandfather then looked for ways to stop this happening again. I know that eventually Grandma was given medication which seemed to calm her and make her less nervous. But - as the others have already said - what really worked was distractions. Doing something physical, whether it be the dishes or some tidying, seemed to keep her focussed in the present time.

    Gladys, I can feel through your words that you are having a hard time with this. Even though it was hard, my Mum always tried to take a little time out for herself from time to time. It really did help her to relax.

    Take care of yourself,

    Love Emma
  11. Chesca

    Chesca Guest

    Dear Gladys

    Try not to think to much into the future. You can't control it, but you can have today and still those special times with Mum, even though they may become fleeting. She's a lucky lady and you're a loving, kind lady. Who could ask for more? That's what will keep it all hanging together.

    Kind wishes
  12. Norman

    Norman Registered User

    Oct 9, 2003
    Birmingham Hades
    sundowning!! 7 years and still we get it.
    Only tonight my wife was going home,she is in bed now and tells me we will be home tomorrow.
    You have had a lot of good advice,this is the last bit for tonight and used by many of our members,day to day,tomorrow will be better.
    Best Wishes
  13. gladys

    gladys Registered User

    Dec 21, 2004
    Emma, Chesca, & Norman,

    Thank you so much for your wisdom and kind words. I have muddled my way thru this disease process and one thing i have learned is to expect the unexpected. Taking one day at a time and not planning too far inadvance works for me.

    I feel blessed, for the moment, that she can still eat without choking, and can walk from her living room to the kitchen and bathroom, some days better than others.

    I must say that one thing that really threw me for a loop was a bladder infection. Upon diagnosis and treatment with a 5 day course of antibiotic, her mental status and mobility improved immensley! The doc warned me that i would see a noticeable improvement but that it would not last. He was so right. I was astounded to learn that a urinary tract infection could alter their state of mind! She said tonight that her side hurt her, so I'm wondering if maybe she is not completely cured of it. I will have the doc check her out.

    I have been able to share this burden with my sis. She truly has been a God send and she is so kind and caring to our mother. Between the two of us, we will keep truckin on until the good won't be good enough. Thanks again, for everything. I hope to able to contribute to the group as I go along. I'm still learning, thru the curve balls and all.....

  14. Chesca

    Chesca Guest

    I know what you mean, but you're not just doing good, Gladys; you and your sister are doing the very best that you can and will always, whatever the future brings. In the final analysis that is all any of us can do.

    Do stick around, I am sure I can speak for everyone when I say we're very glad of your company and input.

    Lots of love for now

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