• All threads and posts regarding Coronavirus COVID-19 can be found in our area specifically for Coronavirus COVID-19 discussion.

    You can directly access this area >here<.

Wanting to go home, but already in own home - getting angry

thebabooshka

New member
Jan 20, 2021
2
0
Hi everyone. I've read some similar threads on here, this issue is so common, but I wanted to share our own situation, I hope that's ok.

My aunt, who my parents and I are caring for, has dementia. It seems to be in the middle stages. She is 82 years old and my dad lives with her full-time. The time has come where she is very much regressing; asking to go home, although she is in her own home; she seems to want to return to her childhood home (which no longer exists, so we can’t even drive past), and to her parents (who are no longer here).

She is constantly asking where her parents are, where she can find them, how she can contact them. It’s been getting worse this past while; she would have got more confused and talked about it a lot at night time, but it’s now getting earlier and earlier in the day, often starting at lunchtime. She has always been easy-going, and fairly easy to deal with for the past few years, up until recently. She is beginning to get very angry. She gets so angry at my dad for not taking her home, and when he tries to reassure her she gets very angry and upset, waving her arms in the air and saying things like “don’t you talk to me like that/I won’t be spoken to/treated like this in my own home!” (He never uses any angry or rude tones with her by the way, it’s just her perception and she seems to think that he’s refusing to do this for her).

Trying to distract her doesn’t work, as despite her terrible short-term memory, she is somehow fixated on this particular idea. Dad has taken her out for a drive a few times which provided a short relief, but it no longer works- when they arrive back at her house, she says “why are you bringing me back here?”. We now try to put it off, saying “well, we’ll stay here tonight and tomorrow we will go home”.

It’s very difficult to deal with, to see her getting so distressed and there’s nothing we can do to reassure, I really feel for her. The advice says to not argue/disagree with her; we follow this advice now, we used to try to tell her and show her that she was in her own home, and telling her that her parents are no longer here. The other advice is to try and distract, but distraction attempts aren’t working for us.

I understand there is very little can be done about dementia, and every case is so different, but I’m just wondering if there was maybe anything different you did that helped somewhat... any replies are much appreciated! Thank you.
 

lollyc

Registered User
Sep 9, 2020
160
0
Is your aunt on any medications? Anti depressants / anxiety tablets can help enormously and it really is worth exploring this avenue if you haven't already. They aren't a miracle cure, but can make everything a little better.
 

lemonbalm

Registered User
May 21, 2018
1,217
0
Hello @thebabooshka . I agree with @lollyc and suggest talking to your Aunt's doctor to see if they can prescribe something for anxiety. I say this a great deal on here and should perhaps change my name from Lemonbalm to Mirtazapine. Medication isn't the answer to everything but a low dose anti-anxiety/anti-depressant can make a big difference.
 

Jaded'n'faded

Registered User
Jan 23, 2019
1,217
0
High Peak
It sounds like you and your dad are already doing everything you can! Sorry - that's not what you wanted to hear!

I wish there was something I could suggest, but as lollyc says, some medication may be the way to go. These obsessions can be extremely difficult to deal with.
 

canary

Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
14,602
0
South coast
Wanting to "go home" is classic mid-stage dementia - it is almost the defining behaviour. As you have discovered, reasoning doesnt work, but it sounds like you have also tried all the tricks to reassure her. It is born of anxiety and what she really wants is to go somewhere where she feels safe and can escape the confusion of dementia. Even if you were able to take her back to her childhood home she would not accept it, because its a state of mind, not an actual place. I have heard of people who were sat in the house they were born in and had lived their whole life in, still asking to "go home"

Because its born of anxiety an anti-depressant/anti-anxiety medication can work very well
 

Sarasa

Registered User
Apr 13, 2018
2,486
0
I wonder if this thread Compassionate Communication with the Memory Impaired might help with some ways to distract your aunt when she become determined to 'go home'.
When mum was at home she didn't really want to go home, but she had various obsessions based around what she thought the neighbours were doing. I found it quite hard to distract her from those, but changing the subject completely or offering tea and cake sometimes helped.
Now mum is in a care home she too wants to go and check on her parents. Mum will shortly be ninety three, and her parents weren't young when she was born. I find it easier to distract her than with her previous delusions by saying that they are fine but that we can't visit today because the weather is bad or some similar excuse. Do you think doing the same for your aunt might help a bit?
 

angelict

Registered User
Jan 16, 2020
152
0
First point of contact is the gp you could try the older persons cmht for your area another good place for advice is Admiral Nurses they are very knowledgeable and understanding. Wanting to go home is very common and if it's causing distress then you need advice from a healthcare professional hope all goes well.
 

Jacques

Registered User
Apr 4, 2020
38
0
My husband is having the same thoughts as he is convinced that his mother is still alive. Whilst I cannot convince him she is no longer with us he is a lot calmer after being prescribed Trazadone which he takes early afternoon. Tomorrow he intends going to find her. By just agreeing that that is a good idea he has settled down. I know that by tomorrow he will have forgotten or will make some excuse not to go.

Hope this helps xx
 

thebabooshka

New member
Jan 20, 2021
2
0
@lollyc @lemonbalm @Jaded'n'faded @canary @Sarasa @angelict @Jacques -- thank you all so much for your kind and helpful replies! This is all excellent advice 😃 she is on the highest dose of antidepressants, but we will definitely enquire about perhaps changing these to a different medication, or see if anxiety medication could be used alongside them.

I should point out that @lemonbalm and I don't have shares in drug manufacturers! Or at least I don't!
Neither do I @lollyc !

However, I am tempted to suggest to Boris Johnson that he add Mirtazapine to the water supply (I am joking, everyone)

This made me laugh! 😂 😂 😀
 

littlerose12345

New member
Jan 22, 2021
2
0
I can relate to this so much. My MIL who lives with us has constantly been saying she wants to go home, and is angry and is getting paranoid :( it's so hard
 

Marcustroberts

New member
Dec 11, 2020
8
0
@thebabooshka Does she have a room that she finds relaxing in the house? It sounds like she’s frustrated and anxious, which im sure is really hard for you to see.
If there’s a sitting room or place that is nice and cosy I’d try putting a memory box outside the door and see if that peaks her interest, this could be photos of her when she was younger, little trinkets that she’s always held close. If that then encourages her into a cosy/relaxing space it might help with the feelings of anxiety. Some music from her 20’s/30’s might help distract the mind without it seeming like you’re ignoring what she’s saying as the two may relate in her mind.
 

Ruth1974

Registered User
Dec 26, 2018
116
0
Wanting to "go home" is classic mid-stage dementia - it is almost the defining behaviour. As you have discovered, reasoning doesnt work, but it sounds like you have also tried all the tricks to reassure her. It is born of anxiety and what she really wants is to go somewhere where she feels safe and can escape the confusion of dementia. Even if you were able to take her back to her childhood home she would not accept it, because its a state of mind, not an actual place. I have heard of people who were sat in the house they were born in and had lived their whole life in, still asking to "go home"

Because its born of anxiety an anti-depressant/anti-anxiety medication can work very well
Yes, my husband was desperate, phoning me all the time because he was scared and wanted me home. Then lockdown happened and all he wanted was his mum (who's dead) and to go home. I surmised that what he was articulating was that he was scared and wanted to be looked after.
For a year they would absolutely only prescribe a minimal dose of an anti psychotic for his own welfare. Within a week of him being in a care home they felt that increasing the dose and giving him anti depressants was perfectly reasonable and within 10 weeks he was in a secure psychiatric unit being sedated with tranquilizers daily. While ever you are coping they will leave you to cope!
 

Babsicle

New member
Jan 29, 2021
5
0
This is so hard to deal with. All the things you are doing are things that helped when my mum wanted to go home but was already there. Putting off till later worked best but when she got really angry and that didn’t work, music helped as she loves that and she also loves gardening- I have an app on my phone that identifies plants, so I used to walk her around the garden taking photos with the app and reading the plant names and that always calmed her down when nothing else would. Hope that helps.
 

BowBow

New member
Jan 13, 2021
3
0
It can be massively frustrating when everyone recommends things you have already done to help your aunt. We have experienced the mid-stage dementia behaviour you are writing about and it can become distressing both for the person and those caring for them because they feel helpless, confused and lost. Not something adults are used to feeling. It sounds as though you are doing everything you can.

My Dad says these things less and less, it is passing. An experienced carer passed on a tip about saying I will just get my coat or finish washing up and we will go soon, not specifics but agreeing they should go but in a little while. My dad would walk around the house with her, eventually find his coat and they then might put it away again or put it on and he would wait for her to sort out a few things. Frequently, by this time, he would have moved on to something else, they would settle and do something else, a cuppa or whatever. It didn't always work but she would talk to him all the way through about other things, making sure he was looking at her and asking open questions, waiting patiently. They would sometimes get into the car and she would go to the garage, telling him what she was doing all the way through but not referring to taking him home. R (the visiting carer) was amazing, spending time to get to know what my father had done and was interested in and could talk about it to him. He calmed and settled.

As his daughter I hadn't realised I was unconsciously passing on my anxiety to him, not always verbally but in my tone of voice or frustration. I learned a lot from R and realised that facing the same reality each time was unnecessarily hurtful. By evading rather than avoiding the subject we found a way to help my father (and me). Hope this has not been another one of the" things you could do but already have tried" posts. Each person responds differently so it is just one coping technique.