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Keeps packing his things to go home

Love&Hope

Registered User
Jun 24, 2019
15
0
Hello. My dad has been in an elder care home for people with dementia for four months now. He initially went in under a three-month contract to give my mother some respite (my mother has metastatic cancer). He returned home after the three-month stay, but his return didn't last a week. ...his delirious thoughts were out of control, and he kept thinking that my mother and I were plotting against him. It was unmanageable, so I pressed to have the home accept dad on a permanent basis. He's there now and the home is great. Of course the days are long...some activities are planned, but dad feels he's trapped there. He keeps asking me to take him home. At first he would pack his things regularly, and I would have to go there and place everything back in its place... then he stopped doing that so I became hopeful that he'd finally grown to accept his new residence. But I talked to him yesterday and he told me that he'd been waiting since five o'clock in the morning, with his things all packed and ready to go. I honestly don't know what to do anymore. Dad is under medication now, so his anxiety is less prominent, but nothing I can say or do will make him understand that he's not coming home. It's heart-wrenching for my mom and me to see him like that. Dad is physically ok, so he doesn't think he belongs there. He doesn't understand that his dementia is serious. What can I do? Any shared experience or advice is welcome. Thank you.
 

Louise7

Volunteer Host
Mar 25, 2016
2,892
0
What is he packing his things into - is there a suitcase or bags in his room? If so I'd suggest removing these. Asking to go home is common, and tends not to mean an actual place, more somewhere where the person felt safe, and as you have discovered nothing you can say will make a difference. How often are family visiting? In some cases cutting down on visits for a while can help a person to settle in a care home, although it doesn't work for everyone. It's a difficult situation and I hope that your Dad will settle again as it seems that he did settle during the first 3 month stay but returning home for a week has unsettled him again. How long has he been back at the home?
 

Cat27

Volunteer Moderator
Feb 27, 2015
11,906
0
Merseyside
Love lies, the Dr says you must stay here, we’re having work done on the house, etc. Always try blame someone in authority.
 

canary

Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
14,667
0
South coast
Its really common @Love&Hope and care homes are used to it.
If you ask your dad about his home you may find that it is not the home that he shared with his wife. Usually, when people with dementia talk about "wanting to go home" what they are actually expressing is a desire to escape from the confusion of dementia. Often the home they want to return to is a childhood home. There are people with dementia who are constantly packing to go home when they are actually in their own home, but they no longer recognise it. My mum was constantly packing to go home to a childhood home that was bombed in the war (she didnt remember that it had been bombed). Some people have taken their person with dementia to see a childhood home that they wanted to return to, but they didnt recognise it. The desire is more a state of mind, you see, and I feel that it is significant that it usually happens at night when the confusion is greatest.

I think I would ignore the packing and try and distract him when he says he wants to go home. It is the time for "love lies" - perhaps it is too cold/wet/dark to make the journey, or the buses arnt running, or anything else that will pacify him in the moment.

Have you come across Compassionate Communication?
https://forum.alzheimers.org.uk/thr...n-with-the-memory-impaired.30801/#post-413710
 

Avis

Registered User
Nov 2, 2019
106
0
Hello. My dad has been in an elder care home for people with dementia for four months now. He initially went in under a three-month contract to give my mother some respite (my mother has metastatic cancer). He returned home after the three-month stay, but his return didn't last a week. ...his delirious thoughts were out of control, and he kept thinking that my mother and I were plotting against him. It was unmanageable, so I pressed to have the home accept dad on a permanent basis. He's there now and the home is great. Of course the days are long...some activities are planned, but dad feels he's trapped there. He keeps asking me to take him home. At first he would pack his things regularly, and I would have to go there and place everything back in its place... then he stopped doing that so I became hopeful that he'd finally grown to accept his new residence. But I talked to him yesterday and he told me that he'd been waiting since five o'clock in the morning, with his things all packed and ready to go. I honestly don't know what to do anymore. Dad is under medication now, so his anxiety is less prominent, but nothing I can say or do will make him understand that he's not coming home. It's heart-wrenching for my mom and me to see him like that. Dad is physically ok, so he doesn't think he belongs there. He doesn't understand that his dementia is serious. What can I do? Any shared experience or advice is welcome. Thank you.
My husband constantly asks to go home and he IS home, so I think it is just a place that only he would know; some where safe. I just keep telling him that he is home. He gets agitated sometimes but that's all I can do. If I ask him where home is he either says he doesn't know or 'here". You have done the right thing for your mother as the stress of caring is intense. She has a right to her own life instead of spending it nursing someone. Loving someone can mean that you have to make hard decisions for their own good.
 

Love&Hope

Registered User
Jun 24, 2019
15
0
What is he packing his things into - is there a suitcase or bags in his room? If so I'd suggest removing these. Asking to go home is common, and tends not to mean an actual place, more somewhere where the person felt safe, and as you have discovered nothing you can say will make a difference. How often are family visiting? In some cases cutting down on visits for a while can help a person to settle in a care home, although it doesn't work for everyone. It's a difficult situation and I hope that your Dad will settle again as it seems that he did settle during the first 3 month stay but returning home for a week has unsettled him again. How long has he been back at the home?
He's been back at the home for nearly 2 months now. We've taken all the bags away, but he manages to find a way to pack his things anyway. Thank you for your reply. It helps to know I'm not alone in this.
 

Love&Hope

Registered User
Jun 24, 2019
15
0
Its really common @Love&Hope and care homes are used to it.
If you ask your dad about his home you may find that it is not the home that he shared with his wife. Usually, when people with dementia talk about "wanting to go home" what they are actually expressing is a desire to escape from the confusion of dementia. Often the home they want to return to is a childhood home. There are people with dementia who are constantly packing to go home when they are actually in their own home, but they no longer recognise it. My mum was constantly packing to go home to a childhood home that was bombed in the war (she didnt remember that it had been bombed). Some people have taken their person with dementia to see a childhood home that they wanted to return to, but they didnt recognise it. The desire is more a state of mind, you see, and I feel that it is significant that it usually happens at night when the confusion is greatest.

I think I would ignore the packing and try and distract him when he says he wants to go home. It is the time for "love lies" - perhaps it is too cold/wet/dark to make the journey, or the buses arnt running, or anything else that will pacify him in the moment.

Have you come across Compassionate Communication?

Thank you for your message and for the link.
 

Mandy76

Registered User
Jul 25, 2019
45
0
My mother does not recognise her own home every evening. She is okay during the day but as soon is it gets dark, she goes ballistic and becomes absolutely terrified. She swears that the house is not her house and she keeps saying she wants to go home to her "mammy and daddy". She becomes completely delusional, thinking that my dad is plotting to kill her, or that gangs are breaking into the house.

We asked her where home is and she gave an address that was her childhood home in the 1950s! Sometimes we put her in the car and drive round the block and pretend we are taking her home, and usually she recognises the house once we have done that. She collects up her belongings and takes them in the car with her and puts them away again when we get back.
 

northumbrian_k

Registered User
Mar 2, 2017
1,098
0
Newcastle
My wife is in residential care and often says that she wants to go 'home'. She did that at home too and if asked would say that she wants to go to her grandmother's house. This is very common. She has never tried to pack her things and on one level seems to consider that her 'lovely' room is 'our house'. I'm often in there, apparently, and am sometimes dead in the bed, which is why she objects to 'other people' (staff) going into her room.

Believing 2 opposite things at the same time seems to be easy with people who have dementia. The longer that she is in her care home the more my wife seems to accept that it is where she lives. But that doesn't stop her asking to go 'home'. I have no bright ideas as I don't think that there is any solution other than being non-committal and using distraction techniques to change the subject. The urge to pack may lessen over time but one can never be sure.
 

Shirlthewhirl

New member
Jan 7, 2021
7
0
I have the same situation. My dad ended up in respite care following health deterioration on his Alzheimer's during lockdown last July. He is still there now and goes through phases of packing his bags or thinks I am visiting to take him back home which is awful. I used to speak to him on the phone a couple of times a day but found this was leading to increased calls to me asking to go home, so trialled not calling as often as he seemed to be relating me to his home. He now keeps asking to go to the other home that I apparently had taken him to that has a billiard and snooker table and he would like to go and live there. There is no such place but I go along with it so as not to upset him. I am hoping that as more time passed he will forget about the other home. Fingers crossed.
 

LizzieGee

New member
Dec 23, 2020
3
0
I did find that as soon as I removed my mum's overnight bag from her room in her care home she has done much less packing - she does still get confused about where 'home' is but I do think without the prompt of a suitcase sitting there the urge to pack has gone. I must say when I found out that its very common for those with Alzheimers to want to go' home' - even those who are in the same house they've lived in for the last 45 years - I felt very reassured and a bit less guilty . Hope that helps
 

angelict

Registered User
Jan 16, 2020
153
0
My Mum bless her got a pillow case out of the laundry cupboard last Sunday evening even put the practical stuff in it like handwash and a toothbrush she even put a photo of me in it had a major poo explosion then she was fine and said to me I love you darling girl and I'm not going anywhere without you.
 

Ramblingrose

Registered User
Feb 2, 2020
38
0
My mum still lives at home but doesn't recognise it for the majority of the day. She constantly packs things in her handbag, asks can she go to the toilet, will she need money, will her bag be safe, can we mind her seat. On top of this she hides stuff in drawers which naturally she hasn't done. Silly us! Its probably one of the many other "people" who go there.
 

Shirlthewhirl

New member
Jan 7, 2021
7
0
Thankyou.
My dad is still telling me that he wants to go home and I am finding it very difficult to deal with. I have raised it with the care home and am told they don't recognise this as he has never said to them that he wants to leave. Dad in the same conversation says he is bored there and there is nothing to do but I know there are lots of activities going on that he enjoys and gets involved in everyday. Looking for any further advice/suggestions to help me with this situation. I am trying to empty his bungalow and want to take his chair that he sat on in the bungalow to his bedroom in the care home but whenever I mention taking it there he says no I will be going home soon. What can I do?
 

deepetshopboy

Registered User
Jul 7, 2008
357
0
Maybe everytime u come its a reminder of hes old life and home
sorry dont know what to suggest other then bring sweets dvds or magazines /puzzles photos what about printing stuff of the internet like old hobbies pictures or old pics of hes old school town etc and try change subject
My dad does this every day n evening and packs bags always wanting to go home
 

Yukarig

New member
Jan 24, 2021
2
0
My dad is still telling me that he wants to go home and I am finding it very difficult to deal with. I have raised it with the care home and am told they don't recognise this as he has never said to them that he wants to leave. Dad in the same conversation says he is bored there and there is nothing to do but I know there are lots of activities going on that he enjoys and gets involved in everyday. Looking for any further advice/suggestions to help me with this situation. I am trying to empty his bungalow and want to take his chair that he sat on in the bungalow to his bedroom in the care home but whenever I mention taking it there he says no I will be going home soon. What can I do?
Hi, I was seeking some advices and any tips here as my father in law is the same, wanting to go home and packing random stuff in the suitcase and ready “to go” at 2am.
I thought I will reply to you here as you were wondering about the chair. My father in law agreed to sell his house and move to near us when he finally realized he had to give up his driving license after a few minor accidents. ( Thankfully no one was hurt) He moved to a retirement house just before Christmas. We brought his own furniture that he chose and agreed to bring them to a new flat but he now he forgot all about it and he says he doesn’t want to be here and want to go home. ( sometimes his previous house and sometimes his childhood home)
I know moving is a great deal to him and that is making him confused but it seems the furniture in the new flat is making him more so. The layout is different and it’s wrong to him. He gets angry to see his things are here and blames us to have brought everything here without his permission and there will be nothing when he is back home.
Everyone reacts differently so I don’t know how your dad would react but I thought my experience might help you. I learned a few things in this forum already that it’s the state of mind, they want to escape from confusion and not an actual place and only distraction is the way to put them off for the time being. I thought taking a chair to his room although he said no to, may not be a good idea and may upset him more.
 

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