When are you taking me home?

Discussion in 'ARCHIVE FORUM: Support discussions' started by carolmillar, Dec 4, 2005.

  1. carolmillar

    carolmillar Registered User

    May 4, 2005
    Tyne & Wear
    Hi every one.

    I've been reading some of the TP's to try to get some advice but nothing seems to quite fit my problem. I found a number of messages about AD sufferers who have gone into a care home and are asking to go home but in our case it's slightly different and I wondered if anyone else had a similar problem and how they dealt with it.

    Dad has lived with his partner for over 7 years now but he has started asking me when I’m going to take him home. Sometimes it seems to be because he thinks that where he lives now is someone elses house and whispers "we shouldn't be here". At other times he knows he lives there with Hazel, his partner, but he's been saying “I’m going to have a cry now because I going home and won’t see you anymore”.

    There’s quite a lot going on at the moment which I think probably has something to do with this. They are moving house in the next couple of weeks with all that that entails and this has definitely unsettled him.

    Every time I see him he asks me “Are you taking me home now?” when I ring him he asks me “when are you coming to take me home?” I’ve tried changing the subject and I’ve tried pacifying him with things like “not today Dad" or "stay here for now and I’ll be back to see you on ……” etc.

    Now, as they will be moving shortly I’ve tried saying, “not just yet Dad, but you’ll be moving soon” which feels better as it’s not a lie.

    But this week he got quite annoyed and told me to “stop leading him on”. It’s as if he is very sure of what he wants. When Hazel asks him why he wants to leave her he just says “he has to go home”. She tries to tell him she needs him and would like him to stay with her which we thought was helping but now he waits till she’s not in the room and quietly asks me “you are going to take me home soon aren’t you?”

    I’m dreading the actual move because I know he won't think of the new place as home. More than once when they’ve gone to the new flat he’s said to Hazel in an exasperated tone “what are we doing here again?”.

    I’m trying to think of ways to make it feel like he’s moving to his own home but I'm not sure how when he sometimes doesn't recognise his current environment?

    Sorry I’ve gone on a bit but has anyone else had a similar situation?

    Thanks for reading this.

  2. Ruthie

    Ruthie Registered User

    Jul 9, 2003
    South Coast
    Dear Carol

    We moved to our present house over 5 years ago, (had to downsize when I had to give up work to care for my husband). At first he was able to go out and come home again, but after a couple of years he had deteriorated and would say "It's very nice here, but I think I will go home now". This often happened in the late afternoon (sundowning) or in the night. By this time he had started escaping, wandering and getting lost (the local police knew him well).

    We live in West Dorset, but his conversation implied that he thought that home was in a town some 70 miles away, where he spent his childhood. However, when he went missing he would often head towards the small town some 8 miles away where we had lived some 20 years previously.

    It got to the point where he would break door handles and locks to get out, and would strike out at me if I tried to stop him. I was advised by his CPN to let him go and call the police immediately rather than get injured myself, but in fact I usually followed him at a discreet distance and used my mobile to call his brother who lives nearby to retrieve him, but often he wouldn't stop walking and his brother had to accompany him for several miles before he could persuade him to turn round, at which point his brother would call me and I would take the car to pick them up. He even escaped from the secure hospital dementia unit where he was eventually admitted by going out when the door was open for the porter to take the tea trolley away, (he didn't look like a patient!) and was found 8 hours later on an unlit rural road 8 miles away by an off-duty policeman at 1.30am.

    It was as though he was on a mission, and just had to walk, and there was no stopping him.

    I don't expect that the planned move will be helpful for your Dad, just the upheaval will be disturbing for him, but it sounds as though your Dad has already reached the stage where it doesn't matter where he is, he will still have these times when he wants to go "home". It is possible, even likely, that he may be thinking of his childhood home. If your Dad isn't mobile, at least he won't be able to get out and get lost, but it is still very distressing for you and for his partner. If he is able to walk, then you must make sure that there are secure locks on the doors (although my husband broke door handles and locks on more than one occasion).

    I found eventually that if I agreed that he should go home, but said "Let's have a nice cup of tea before you go", and slipped a fast-acting sedative into the tea it sometimes worked. I would also put on some calming music and burnt lavender oil (calming effect) - sometimes effective, but really the sedative was the best thing, although I hated giving it to him. It was a nightmare time, especially in the middle of the night when he was hammering on the door and shouting to be let out, and you and his partner have my sympathy.

    Best wishes

  3. janew

    janew Registered User

    Mar 28, 2005
    Thank you for this link.

    I have just had a bad night with my mum who has kept asking to 'go home', I tried to sleep with her but in the end I just let her carry on and eventually at 5a.m. she calmed down.

    She also kept asking when will Jane My daughter you know, be coming to see her, in the end I kept saying, I will phone Jane when you have calmed down but she does not want to come and see you when you are in this state.

    Its really hard when someone you love does not even know who you are.

  4. carolmillar

    carolmillar Registered User

    May 4, 2005
    Tyne & Wear
    Hi Jane and Ruthie

    Thanks for replying.

    I'm not looking forward to the house move at all. The one good thing is that up to now, Dad hasn't made any attempt to go out on his own. That must be really difficult and I really feel for you dealing with that.

    I've been reading the book "How to speak Alzheimers" which I've found really helpful. I'm trying to put myself in Dad's position and trying to think about what is frightening or worrying him to make him so anxious so that I can say or do the right things but it's mainly guess work. He has never dealt with change very well and I know he is not handling all the upheaval of the house move. I think he wants to go somewhere that's calm.

    I'm going to take Dad out for the day during the move itself so that he doesn't get too worked up and anxious. I thought about packing a suitcase and letting him think I'm taking him 'home' but then take him to the new flat. But I must admit, I'm not looking forward to his reaction if it doesn't work.

    Anyway, I'll stop going on about it now but I'll let you know how I get on so that it may be helpful to someone else in the future.

    Thanks again.
  5. janew

    janew Registered User

    Mar 28, 2005
    Thanks Carol for reply,

    My mum has been fine today and when I went to pick her up from the Nursing Home after finishing work I discussed with the Manager about the problem I had with her last night.

    I seem to have been able to cope with her lately until last night but the Manager said she may have got a water infection, I said my mum drinks a lot of Orange Juice and she said maybe this is very acidy so it may be a good thing to switch to Cranberry Juice - I am clutching at straws but hope this helps her a bit. Anyway as soon as she got home all she wanted to do was go to bed, so I hope I will get a good night sleep tonight.

    I hope the move goes well. My mum moved about 5 years ago before the altzheimers was evident and luckily she only remembers this home now and not her previous home.

    I don't know what I would do with out this site. It's really good to speak to people with similar problems to yourself.

  6. JamesR

    JamesR Registered User

    Dec 6, 2005
    Wanting to go home

    My mother has been diagnosed with AD for 5 years or so and she increasingly does not view the house she lives in as her home.

    This seems to stem from her effectively talking often as if she is about 15yrs old and therefore needing to get back to her parent's house. She talks quite accurately and in detail about this period of her life including details of the house and jobs her mother and father did and particularly after lunch or if she has been taken out in the car for a lunch and walk she often gets anxious about having to get back to her parents otherwise they will be concerned. She never makes any reference to anything that happened in her life since this teenage period.

    The tissue thing that some other's have mentioned is an endemic issue with my mother..they go through box after box and loo roll after loo roll as she stuffs it everywhere.
  7. connie

    connie Registered User

    Mar 7, 2004

    Hi James and a warm welcome to T.P. So glad you found us and feel able to join in the general discussions. You will soon become familiar with all who post, we are just one large family. Connie
  8. bernie

    bernie Registered User

    Jul 28, 2005
    south london
    have you tried taking him for a walk, telling him that you are taking him home. just take him for a walk around the block.

    when he gets home he may well accept that he is at home.
  9. JamesR

    JamesR Registered User

    Dec 6, 2005
    Thanks for the welcome...I've just found the forum and have had a very difficult time at my parents last weekend...I find weekends at theirs very draining and stressful not because necessarily of events that happen but more the dread of the future. It would be useful to know or perhaps start a thread for those of us who are offspring of parents with AD and their carers.
  10. Brucie

    Brucie Registered User

    Jan 31, 2004
    near London
    Hi JamesR
    if you check out in the "About TP Members" area, http://www.alzheimers.org.uk/talkingpoint/discuss/showthread.php?t=1619 you will find that around 60% of members who have used the poll there are sons and [primarily] daughters, so most of the posts here will be relevant to you.

    If you feel there is a thread that should be here but isn't, then maybe you could start it? We often find that someone strikes a new note that many people have been thinking about, but that has not been formally posted.
    yes we all dread the future in this context but please try not to let that take over your relationship with your parents. Try to enjoy each time you visit, even those visits that may be difficult. Live for each moment. Don't try to anticipate problems that may never happen.
    This is common and often happens mostly in afternoons - aka "sundowning".

    Best wishes
  11. carolmillar

    carolmillar Registered User

    May 4, 2005
    Tyne & Wear
    Hi everyone.

    Dad is still determined to go home with me so I decided to try to talk to him about it rather than change the subject again so without pressuring him I gently asked him where he wanted to go "where is home?". He said he didn't really know, "with you" was all he could think of. I asked him what he'd do without Hazel but he said, "it's ok, she knows I'm going home with you". That tack wasn't going to work so then I said, well you realise if you come home with me you'll be on your own a lot as Jim and I will be at work all day. His reply to that was, "that’s alright, I’ll get a job"!!!! I had to smile at that.

    As I mentioned earlier I've been reading the book "How to speak Alzheimer’s" which encourages you to put yourself in their shoes so I asked Dad if all the upheaval (of moving) was upsetting him and he said it was and knowing Dad I think it probably is. So we sort of reached a compromise by him agreeing to stay until they move house and see if things calm down but if he is still unhappy then he can come and stay with me. I know he’ll forget but it helped to move him on last night.

    I know how you dread going to see your parents James. I’m finding this really difficult just now but as you’ll see from this TP, you can only take one day at a time.

    But you know, not doing the full time caring can be very rewarding in a selfish kind of way as it means I can give Dad my full attention. We had a lovely night last night. Dad has always loved poetry and I often take a couple of books and read a few lines of his favourites poems. He still remembers quite a few like "If" and "The Daffodils" etc. and manages to finish or start a line or even read a few lines straight off with me reading the bits in between. It’s a good feeling to know he’s still here - for now - and I’m going to make the most of every minute.

    As Jane said, although I don't write much I find this TP so useful just reading other peoples experiences helps.

    And Bernie, that's my next trick, taking him to look at the houses near by with their Xmas decorations outside then take him home and see how it goes.
  12. rummy

    rummy Registered User

    Jul 15, 2005
    Hi Carol,
    Another good book for communication is" The Validation Breakthrough" by Naomi Feil. IT has become my bible for dealing with my Mom !
    My problem is opposite. My Mom tells my Dad that he doesn't belong there and to move out. She has gotten so distressed about it lately that we are slipping her a Alprazolam which is a anti anxiety drug. I can literally see her relax within a few minutes. I don't know if it will always work but it is doing the trick now. I just feel it isn't good for her to be anxious and not good for my Dad either. It gets very stressful.
    Take care and I hope the move goes smoothly for you and Dad.

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