It’s heartrending when your parent or spouse says, “I want to go home,” when you visit them at the nursing home. “Why don’t you take me home?”
This makes us feel guilty when we can’t do as they ask. However, at a support group meeting, when my mom was in the nursing home, the family coordinator gave an explanation which made sense and stuck with me.
“What does your family member mean by home?” she asked.
Then she went on to explain that it depended on which era of their life the patient is living in at that moment. “Home” may mean the one they came from previous one to the nursing home stay. It could mean where she lived as a child, her home when at college, where she lived after marriage or many more.
Or, she added, it simply might mean her room at the nursing home. She suggested you try putting your arm around the patient’s shoulders and walk with him/her to their room, settle them in their chair and chat or read. This often solves the problem.
When we look at the Alzheimer’s person’s situation or request with our preconceived ideas, rather than trying to look at it through their mind, we simply become more upset. Thus we upset the Alzheimer’s patient, too.