'Wanting to go home'


Registered User
May 11, 2004
Hi, I'm new to this forum but would be grateful for any suggestions on how to cope with the following problem.

My grandmother has dementia. She lives with my Uncle, who is her primary carer, and she has deteriorated quite rapidly within the past couple of months.

The main problem, is that she has started to constantly ask to be 'taken home'. This goes on for some time, and the longer it does, the more distressed and upset she becomes - often leading to a panic attack, which then results in heavy, rapid breathing which is very worrying.

She is on medication from her doctor, however, the pills that she has been prescribed basically 'knock her out'. If these are given during the day, this only increases the problem of restless nights.

Has anyone else had to cope with the problem of the patient 'wanting to go home'?

Any suggestions on how best to cope with this would be an immense help.

Last edited:

sue h

Registered User
Jan 2, 2004
Maidstone, Kent
Hello Laura
Have you looked at the factsheets on this site regarding wandering?There is some useful information on there.
My Dad frequently wants to 'go home', my Mum becomes the other woman which makes him panic more as he thinks he's having an affair. Last month (see 'feeling sad' thread) when I arrived after an SOS from my Mum he became even more aggressive, threatening to kill me, probably because we'd both stopped him from leaving the house. Last Sunday the same thing happened and I had suggested trying to take him out for a walk in order to keep him calm and hopefully distract him. Anyway my Mum took him out on her own and although things didn't escalate as happened previously he was very agitated to go back so he could ring his Mother (who died in 1970). Mum then rang me in desperation and we eventually calmed Dad down - helped by the fact that my husband was there. Last time I became another evil woman who wanted to split up his marriage. Over and over he asked about his Mother and Father, each time Mum explaining they'd been dead a long time. Only for him to say 'I'm glad we've sorted that out. I'd better just ring my Mother' !!! It's exhausting to say the least. I think we might try writing dates and facts down for him to read.
Funnily enough my Mum and Dad live with my Uncle (my Mums brother) he's 87 and recovering from a stroke. Unfortunately he's not helping the situation, each bad episode he tells my Mum to phone for the paramedics (the CPN advised this if Dad became violent) hoping I think for my Dad to be sectioned. He actually threatened to punch my Dad on Sunday. It's a worrying situation that's getting more worrying by the day. Anyway Laura I don't think there's a simple solution but just to try out various ways of distracting and see what works. Making tea seems to be calming perhaps because its a normal everyday thing.
Best of Luck


Registered User
Apr 21, 2004
Hi Laura
Thankfully we are not going through that very stressful time now, but I remember Dad being like this for months - not all the time, but when he did want to do home, we found it hard reasoning with him. He would also get very upset and distressed.

Dad stopped remembering the lounge he’d sat in for the last 20 odd years to the point where he would think we had been conspiring to take him to a strange place that we knew he wouldn’t like.

I don’t know how mobile your grandmother is, but we found that sometimes Dad could be distracted and had some reassurance from wanting to be ‘taken home’, by taking him into another room or out for a ride in the car. We’d make a point arriving back at home and reminding dad of his chair, the lounge, the dog, etc. This used to comfort him for a little while.

If this wouldn’t work then we’d have to keep telling him that we would be ‘going home’ soon. He would ask the question every few minutes and we would tell him again ‘we going home soon dad’. This at times became very upsetting for us, sometimes it didn’t work for Dad, he threaten to kill us if we didn’t take him home. Sometimes all we could do was sit with Dad, hold his hand and explain that he was home and hope that it would get through.

This was just a phase though and he just stopped doing it, although we were aware, as you are, that he was deteriorating quite rapidly at this point and wasn’t remembering anything.

Does your uncle have any help in caring for your grandmother, outside of the family? Do you have crossroads or similar? Have there been new people introduced to your Grandmother? New people agitated Dad a lot when he was like this.

Hope at least some of this helps.


Registered User
May 11, 2004
Thanks Sue and Karen, it's comforting to know that people have been/are going through the same thing.

I've printed off the factsheets on wandering which are useful to read through.

The 'distraction' therapy does work occassionally - I guess it's all trial and error really.

We've made an appointment for someone from our local Alzheimers Association office to come and visit, so hopefully they'll be able to offer some good advice also.

Many thanks



Registered User
May 20, 2004

I'm new to this site so keep picking up on old threads - forgive therefore the delay in responding to your message.

My Dad was exactly the same - wanting to go home and often wanting to "go to work" - usually in the middle of the night - he would get extremely upset when anyone tried to dissuade him. Usually the distraction techniques such as agreeing to take him/go with him "after we have a cup of tea" or "we need to finish this job first"etc would work as it gave him time to forget the purpose of his efforts. However there were many times when we had to go along, either walking up the lane with him talking about anything and everything we could imagine until he once again forgot where he was going and even one day putting him in the car and driving around on the pretense of having to call in at a friend or two on the way until he accepted it was time to go home (the real one!) to go tho the loo, have another cup of tea, feed the dog etc etc.

It got very distressing for Mum especially when he insisting on having to go and see his mother and accused Mum of being "that evil woman" after 50 years of happy marriage and a further 10 years courting as childhood sweethearts. Nothing prepares you for that kind of hurt but we realise it wasn't him speaking.


Registered User
Oct 9, 2003
Birmingham Hades
going home

There is no pattern to the "going home",my wife asks most evenings "when are we going home"?
Now she answers me in a querious voice saying "we are home"and I agree.I think some of this sundowning is due to tiredness it never happens to us in the day.
The early mornings are confused and the evenings also and this is a pattern now.
Another one at night is to ask me (Norman) when is Norman coming to bed?Also shall we see Mom today? Mom has been dead over 20 years!
All of these episodes come in flashes and then are gone,I am afraid one day they won't go away.
Best Wishes