Seniors with Alzheimer’s often ask to “go home”
Does your older adult with Alzheimer’s or dementia tell you repeatedly that they want to go home? You’re not alone. Many caregivers are dealing with this frustrating issue.
People with dementia can go through a phase where they constantly ask to go home. For many, it doesn’t even matter where they are when they say this – some are in the home they’ve lived in for decades!
To help you understand and cope with this behavior, we explain why they ask to go home and the real meaning behind their words.
Someone with dementia doesn’t always mean what they say
When somebody has dementia, they gradually lose the ability to communicate. That means you can’t always take their words at face value.
Often when your older adult says they want to go home, they aren’t actually asking to go to the place they used to live.
It’s the disease talking
It’s natural for caregivers to feel hurt or offended to hear this. You’ve done your very best to provide excellent care and a warm, safe environment, but it feels like your senior is rejecting all your hard work.
For your own peace of mind, it’s important to try not to take it personally. Because of the changes in their brain, they may not be able to control what they’re saying or might not be able to find the right words to express their true thoughts.
What does “I want to go home” really mean?
For most of us, home is the place where we feel the most comfortable, safe, and accepted. Your home is the place where you belong and can be yourself.
Many experts say that people with dementia are trying to express that they need the feeling of ultimate safety, comfort, and control. That’s what “home” means to them.
They may repeatedly ask to go home because they feel:
- Unsafe or scared
- Agitated or upset
- Physically uncomfortable
- Not familiar with their current environment like a new room, new decor, or new people
Of course, for others, it can mean something totally different, like wanting to go to sleep or needing to go to the bathroom. Pay close attention to their body language and observe their reactions as you check for any physical discomfort or personal hygiene needs.
This is a difficult thing for caregivers to hear, but once you understand what they’re really saying, it helps you to not take it as personally. Over time, you’ll be able to figure out what your senior really needs when they say they want to go home.
Recommended for you:
- 3 Ways to Respond When Someone with Alzheimer’s Says I Want to Go Home
- Why Experts Recommend Lying to Someone with Dementia
- 12 Engaging Activities for Seniors with Dementia: Reduce Agitation and Boost Mood
By DailyCaring Editorial Team
Image: Mitch Hell