Step father, 86, 15+ years with Alzheimer’s

Poosmum

New member
Dec 1, 2023
1
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Just needing some advice please.

This started very subtly with my SF not being familiar with where he was, but it would always come back that he was at home.

For the last 2-3 months maybe longer, every day for hours he is saying ‘when are we going home?’. We try to reassure him that he’s home, but within seconds he’s saying it again.

We’ve just had an episode that has been going for ages when he keeps looking for his car keys to leave (he’s obviously not driven for a long time) but when my mother says you don’t have a car he laughs at her, he thinks she’s joking.

I’m guessing his short term memory is at most 2 seconds.

He’s lived in the house he’s in for over 40 years. I don’t know if he’s confused as he went into respite last year for a month as my mother was ill, perhaps he still thinks he’s there and wants to get ‘home’.

We shown him the pictures of his sons on the walls, pictures of mum, grandkids but of course it doesn’t really help.

It’s so upsetting to know that in his mind he’s completely lost. I can’t imagine how scary it must be to not feel like you’re at home.

The other morning at 3am he went into my mums room and said ‘quick we’ve got to go, they’ll be back soon, we can’t be here’ and then he got me up saying ‘hurry, get ready, we’re leaving’. It took us a good 2 hours to get him back settled.

Any ideas how to navigate around this sad part of Alzheimer’s.


Thank you.
 

canary

Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
24,701
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South coast
Hello @Poosmum and welcome to the forum
Wanting to "go home" is, unfortunately, a normal, but very sad part of dementia which is almost universal in the mid-stage. You will probably find that the home he wants to go back to is his childhood home. It sounds to me as though he has completely forgotten this house and thinks it belongs to someone else, who will be angry if they find them there. My mum did the same - she would not believe that she owned it as she did not recognise any of her belongs, nor the people in the photos.

I think you will need to use "love lies". Perhaps you could stay that you are looking after the place for some friends who are on holiday and you will be going home "tomorrow". Then tomorrow you say the same thing.
 

northumbrian_k

Volunteer Host
Mar 2, 2017
4,307
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Newcastle
Hi @Poosmum and welcome from me too. As @canary has said, what you have described is a very common aspect of dementia that many of us in this Forum have experienced. That doesn't make it any easier to deal with. My wife would often ask me whose house we were in (having lived here 20 years). As we returned in the car she seemed to have no recognition of the place. Her idea of going 'home' was to return to where her mam and dad were still living (although they are both long dead), that is her childhood home as she remembered it. This went on while she was living at home and for some considerable time after she moved to her care home. As her Alzheimer's Disease progressed she became more accepting of where she was living and less able to articulate that she wanted to go home. Perhaps she still does but can no longer say.

The best I could do was to try a few different suggestions as to why we were living here and 'reasons' why we couldn't go home yet. Eventually I hit on a form of words along the lines of "we are living here at the moment" which seemed to be acceptable. It did not stop her asking but took away some of the urgency she felt. Holding out the possibility of going there at some unspecified future point seemed to work better than closing the idea down.
 

Paul2

New member
Dec 9, 2023
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Justn saw this after I wrote a similar post. Mum just asked me to take the Xmas decorations down ...I put up for them....as she's not staying here no matter what dad says!