1. sarahc

    sarahc Registered User

    Apr 4, 2004
    My mother has multi-infarct dementia and has been in a wonderful home since July 1st. My father passed away in June - a fact she is unable to take in. She keeps asking for him and telling me he 'will be coming soon now in his car- there must be a lot of traffic'. She has never really settled in the home depsite the best efforts of the staff. She constantly packs up all her things (clothes, pictures, photos ornaments) and waits by the door trying to get a taxi to go 'home' to her husband. When I phone to say I will visit say on Tuesday, she says ' Oh I don't know if I'll still be here on Tuesday '...Yesterday apparently she got into the home's hairdressing salon and phoned '999' teling the police she was being kept against her will. Luckily, they phoned the home who explained abut the dementia etc. I'm sure 100s of you must have witnessed this phenomenon - ie 'wanting to go home' - but it breaks my heart as it means she is not happy. Do any of you have any tips as to how to deal with it ? - either to make her (or me !) happier. Do people tend to settle down ? The thing is she has days when she is actually quite lucid and on these occassions she must think 'what on earth am I doing here ?'. I would appreciate any tips/thoughts ....
  2. Kriss

    Kriss Registered User

    May 20, 2004
    Aunty has multi-infarct dementia too. She moved directly into a home after a stay in hospital in April so thinks she is convalessing. Every now and then she asks me "whats happening now" and "how long" but she has severe difficulty with speech and can't hold the thread to keep the conversation going.

    I am filled with sadness when this happens as it must mean she still wants out. I'm told that she never stops walking the corridors during the day and many nights is unsettled. She carries personal effects such as photo's and letters and her tv remote with her. Different items keep turning up a week or so after we think they are lost for good.

    She did have a telephone in her room up until a couple of weeks ago but she also dialled 999 on one occasion too many so we had to have it taken out. Fortunately she does not appear to have missed it and I'm not sure if she rang for "help" or whether she was just pressing the buttons at random.

    When we visit she will sit still with us for a while but I believe that she leads some of her visitors a merry dance around the building (however the staff are convinced that this is a deliberate ploy to try and shake them off!).

    I now have a stock reply at the ready should she catch me off balance with the what and when questions - "you must ask the doctor when he visits" and then quickly move onto another topic -but its so hard.

    I find myself wishing that the AD will progress to the next stage where she won't be in this awful twilight zone of sometimes knowing but not knowing if you can understand that. Then of course I feel awfully guilty to have even had the thought.

    Hang on in there - we are at least at a stage where we have been able to get her out occasionally and are now not too concerned about her "wanting to go home" and not wanting to go back - I think the short term memory has removed the sense of time from the equation so she may not realise just how long she has been there.

    As someone else said once - onwards and downwards

  3. Sheila

    Sheila Registered User

    Oct 23, 2003
    West Sussex
    Dear Sarah, I have to agree with Kriss, it is a phase she is at. It is more painful for you than her as she constantly forgets it all. My mum did this so much I ended up on the phone in floods of tears, to her psychiatric specialist on more than one occasion. His sugestion, (and it did help!) Say you will deal with it tomorrow...............!! Love, She. XX
  4. frazer

    frazer Registered User

    Sep 9, 2004
    Hi Sarah, we have had this with dad too. He went from hospital to a nursing home for respite. Somehow he has decided to go to scotland - where he lived 60 years ago - he is constantly packing stuff up, has given written notice to the home that he is leaving, and whenever I visit he is ready to go! Kriss & Sheila are right, your mum will not retain this thought in the way you would. We find a distraction, a new subject, or a confident "we will look at that tomorrow" is enough to satisfy my dad, and then he's perfectly happy until the next time. It feels very harsh at first, but there is no benefit in trying to negotiate or reason - it just prolongs the situation. Guilt is a big issue, but you can't afford to take its calls! That's where i have found this site so helpful. You are doing a good job
  5. Kriss

    Kriss Registered User

    May 20, 2004
    Hello again Sarah

    I should have added that when Dad was at home (home for 30 years) he was always packing up to go "home"! His other destination was "work" - although retired for 10 years plus.

    That was even more difficult to cope with. Mum couldn't sleep properly for fear she wouldn't hear him wake and get out.

    I guess you could use the similar delaying tactics that we used - "the taxi man just rang to say he would be late - lets have a cuppa while we wait" etc

    The standard practice was to Delay, Distract and Divert. Deception seems to be the overall answer!

    Dad was obviously "unhappy" to not get to go where he wanted to go at that point in time but I'm certain that most of the time he was happy to be with us. Your mother is probably the same - she is unlikely to be unhappy 24/7 but we get to focus on the negatives don't we.

    Keep swallowing hard and try to brazen it out.


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