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My mum is driving me mad . she wants to go 'home' when she is AT home. what can I do?

Jho

Registered User
Jul 24, 2016
7
my mum has now become very delusional thinking that she needs to go 'home'. I tell her over and over that this is her home and I am her son, but the conversation quickly becomes like the Madhatter's teaparty. I cannot get her to understand she get's upset that I don't understand her!

She says she will get in the car and go home. She obviously is not allowed to drive, and I have to hide the keys just in case. But just now while I am typing this she now threatens to put on her coat and 'go home'. of course now I fear if she does and doesn't come back I will have to get the police.

I am at a total loss as to know what to do hence trying to find some help here.:(

ooops typo in title 'driving me MAD!!!'
 
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carpe diem

Registered User
Nov 16, 2011
433
Bristol
Hi, you are not alone, this is very common. My mum had lived in the same house for 50 years and always said when am I going home. She would put on her hat and coat and pack a pillowcase with various belongings.
You could ask the GP to do a urine test for UTI. Also buy a GPS tracker to put in her coat or bag or on her keys, in case she does leave her home to find her home.
Maybe she is lonely and looking for her parents and maybe she doesn't recognise her home. I put signs on her bedroom, bathroom and kitchen to say which room was which. I also left notes to tell her this is your home and included information about the garden, the house and the neighbours.
Unfortunately this is probably just the disease progressing.
Trying to reason with her and arguing isn't going to help. Reassure her that she is safe here. It's not her fault that she can't remember or recognise her home.
 
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Debjac

Registered User
Mar 23, 2017
17
Distraction is the only thing that works with my mum some days I wonder if I have dementia repeating the same thing constantly found "oh would you look at that!!!" And grabbing a magazine or anything to distract her attention. Sadly this horrible disease seems to progress this way


Sent from my iPhone using Talking Point
 

Tin

Registered User
May 18, 2014
4,824
UK
As I sit here typing this my mum is telling me and her dog that she is going home soon and this and that needs to go in the car. The front door is locked and I am on my laptop typing this, but usually I am playing solitaire as it helps me to ignore it all. Distraction no longer works with my mum and when it did I found myself running in circles trying to do so. So for me it is best to ignore. it is no longer as intense as it used to be, but back in the day I would hide away in my bedroom and accept the fact that I had done the best I could to distract and then all I could do was make sure she was safe while I was in my bedroom and just let her get on with it.
 

Bod

Registered User
Aug 30, 2013
1,304
Going "Home"

The best reason I've come across for this is.
The PWD wants to go to a place that they once felt safe. (Home)
As their memory regresses from adult memories, into childhood memory, then home was a safe place where parents took care of everything. (As a child wants to go home, when tired or frightened)
Asking/demanding to see parents, is also common at this time.

How to deal with this?
All the above comments will help.
In my case, when father asked, if I had seen his parents, I replied "I've not seen them for years." which seemed to settle him, and was true, they died 40 years ago.


Bod
 

Beate

Registered User
May 21, 2014
12,021
London
Please don't argue with her, it's absolutely pointless. If she's not at home, she's not at home so you have to accept her reality and work with it. Agree and say things like you'll take her home after her bath, after food,when the weather is better, etc. or say her home is currently being renovated. Then distract her with an activity or food or whatever else works. Maybe ask her to tell you about her home? Be gentle and try not to get frustrated, she will pick up on your tone of voice.
 
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Jho

Registered User
Jul 24, 2016
7
Please don't argue with her, it's absolutely pointless. If she's not at home, she's not at home so you have to accept her reality and work with it. Agree and say things like you'll take her home after her bath, after food,when the weather is better, etc. or say her home is currently being renovated. Then distract her with an activity or food or whatever else works. Maybe ask her to tell you about her home? Be gentle and try not to get frustrated, she will pick up on your tone of voice.
Sorry to only respond to (this post) yours, I really appreciate ALL the help above, and it feels great to know others know what I am going through. This can feel VERY isolating. I am an only kid and there is no other family support.

I do sometimes find that losing it and telling her what's what does give me a breather. She will scream abuse, and then I hear slamming doors, and I am left to do my work on computer in peace without being barraged with the same questions over and over, sometimes a second apart.

However I also have learned that calm understanding replies are really fruitful too. it is all trial and error.

It is not like she doesn't recognize her home. She will saw eg 'the garden is exactly like where I live, as is (and so on and so on]

I said, OK where do you want to go and she said this address. Then I said, 'so where are you going to tell the taxi driver to come to pick you up, and she said this address...! :eek::confused:

It is a good job I have a surreal sense of humour. Actually so has my mum. But it is when this delusional stuff escalates I feel panicky. getting a tracking device is interesting. How do I get one?

I don't want to obviously lock her in the house.
 

Jessbow

Registered User
Mar 1, 2013
3,068
West Hertfordshire
If you are in the house with her, why not lock the outside doors? Just put the keys somewhere nearby in case you need them quickly.

Do the deflection answers-
I'ltake you in a bit
Lets have a cuppa first
Need to finish hanging the washing first
Lets have some breakfast/lunch/tea /supper first

If you absolutely have to, put her in the car, drive round the block and take her back inoors

Don't whatever you do say no! say anything but- anything which buys you some time.
 

canary

Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
13,373
South coast
It sounds like she has got Cap Gras syndrome - duplication of people and/or places. Its pretty common.
Mum didnt have this, but I heard that sometimes it works if you say "OK, lets go home", walk them around the streets for a couple of minutes then come back and say confidently "Ah, look - we are home" It must be worth a try.
 

Jezza

Registered User
Oct 14, 2016
1
I think this is quite a common problem. My mum was doing the same thing. I eventually discovered 'home' was her family home as a child and once I understood this it was much easier to manage the situation. I started to show her pictures of her parents, brothers and sisters taken in her younger days and this seemed to calm her down.
 

Dave66

Registered User
Sep 13, 2014
78
Hi, I have a slightly different take on this.
My Mam regularly says she wants to go home, I go through the process of telling her it is her home, where it is, how long she has lived there, who lives there etc. I give her a kiss and cuddle, tell her that she's not on her own, that everyone is there to help her and they love her very much. The majority of the time, this seems to ease her, but, as with most things, Mam may very well go through this a dozen plus times per day.

I think that what she may actually be after is the feeling of "home", love, comfort, security, safety, reassurance, attention etc. I may be barking up the wrong tree here, but when we feel sad, ill or whatever, where do we long to be? Home, we don't long for a 5* hotel or some B&B we stayed in! :-D
 

caqqufa

Registered User
Jun 4, 2016
142
I agree with most of the points already posted and they do work. It's a question of identifying which 'home' they are referring to, whether it's their childhood home or the 'safe and secure' feeling. My husband went through both phases. I would ask: where's that? to find out which one he was referring to and take it from there. If it was his childhood home I would come up with some excuse to do it the day after. You need to understand that as the illness progresses they do start to feel insecure and consequently fearful. A suggestion for a cup of tea and having one together has a very calming effect and easier to create diversion. If it's evening time, draw the curtains close since at sundown shadows may start to play up which might make them feel threatened. They don't always expect an immediate reply either, (I would keep on doing whatever I was doing), so delaying a response could take her mind off it, too, or give you time to think of an answer. Definitely don't correct and don't argue. Your vibes rub off them too, so keep calm, just as you would with a child who is getting restless and tearful. If you feel you're losing it, take a couple of deep breaths or walk out of the room or go to the bathroom. It might surprise you to find that once you get back, she would have forgotten what she asked, especially if you just say something different!
Keep posting here, I too was the only carer and the support here is invaluable. And do take care of yourself. xx
 
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joanna89

Registered User
Nov 27, 2015
11
Tell her that you'll take her home tomorrow when the car is fixed.

The best reason I've come across for this is.
The PWD wants to go to a place that they once felt safe. (Home)
As their memory regresses from adult memories, into childhood memory, then home was a safe place where parents took care of everything. (As a child wants to go home, when tired or frightened)
Asking/demanding to see parents, is also common at this time.

How to deal with this?
All the above comments will help.
In my case, when father asked, if I had seen his parents, I replied "I've not seen them for years." which seemed to settle him, and was true, they died 40 years ago.


Bod
Just keep reassuring her that you will take her home. If she doesn't recognise where she is, it often helps to say, "Let's stay in this lovely hotel for the night and we can go home tomorrow."

Arguing with her will be very counter-productive and will make her worse and more agitated. Try to stay calm, and let her know that you're on her side as far as 'going home' is concerned.
 

Rageddy Anne

Registered User
Feb 21, 2013
5,984
Cotswolds
Your mum's belief that she's not at home is as real to her as your knowledge that she isn't, so theres no point in contradicting her.

I found the best thing was to go along with my husband, suggesting something like "after tea" or after finishing a job. Sometimes there was no putting it off, and I would even get the car out and we would drive around for a little. As soon as he was in the car, he would settle...in his mind we were going home. When we were coming back into the house, it wasn't familiar to him, and he had no sense of having come home.

But he WAS taken home once, to the house he grew up in. It had hardly changed; the
lady who moved in after his family hadn't changed anything , and had grown old there herself. He had his photo taken in the back garden. AND HE HAD NO IDEA WHERE HE WAS.

He is now in a care home, and at first he asked to go home. Eventually we risked it, a friend brought him home here for tea. He had no idea he was actually in the home he'd moved from a few months before, and where he had lived for twenty years. And he knew I was someone he liked, but didn't connect me with the house.

I came to the conclusion that HOME actually meant he wanted to go back in time, to a time and place where everything made sense to him.
 

Rageddy Anne

Registered User
Feb 21, 2013
5,984
Cotswolds
Something not quite connected with the original question, but interesting in the context.


My husband was in a purpose built care home, especially designed for people with Dementia, and he never settled. But he is now in a nice care home, two converted old houses joined together, that has an atmosphere of a family home, and he has settled much better. He never asks to go home now( his dementia has progressed) and I come and go as though I live there too. The idea is that he believes we are both at home, in the same place. I never say goodbye, simply say "I'm popping out to post a letter, won't be long".

The carers are lovely, treat him affectionately, and I think he's as comfortable there as he can possibly be with his advanced dementia.

One elderly lady looks for her handbag and coat every afternoon, because she says she's going home.. The carers remind her that she's getting a taxi, and it will soon be here. She happily spends the evenings looking out for her taxi to arrive, but because she lives in the moment she doesn't realise that she's been waiting for hours.