There’s No Place Like Home

there'snoplacelikehome

“There’s no place like home” ~ Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz

With Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia, many patients get confused towards the end of the day and want to go home.  It’s not necessarily to the last home they inhabited, but to their childhood home, even though they seem to mix them up in their minds.  Many times during a sundowners episode, my Aunt will want to ‘go home’ to her childhood home, believing that she needs to feed her Mama and take care of her siblings even though most of them have passed away.  She was a caregiver until the disease took her mind so I believe because the role is so ingrained in her, she returns to that role time and time again.  Then again, many times she believes she is home in the place where she now resides.  It is confusing to us all how her mind works and reworks reality as time goes on.

When it is explained with kindness that most of her family have passed away, she is saddened by the news, explaining that ‘she didn’t know,’ even though she has been repeatedly told this information.  Many times distraction helps to alleviate her need to ‘go home’ without having to sadden her unnecessarily about her loved ones being already passed away even though she was present during that time in her life when it happened.  Intentionally we use distraction instead of reality in order to ease her mind and worry.  Living in her present is more beneficial to her than repeatedly hurting her with sad news that will not stay in her head.

Weather, barometric pressure changes and moon phases all play a part in the severity of sundowners.  Loved ones with sundowners get agitated easily at dusk and the need to go with the flow of their thinking is crucial.  Lucky for us, my Aunt has a mouth full of ‘sweet teeth’ so chocolate kisses help immensely when she’s not in the mood to put on her pjs or go to bed.  A few delectable chocolate kisses on a pillow make for sweet dreams and a calmer patient when she’s irritable.  Patience is key as well since rushing a patient simply doesn’t serve the situation since we are on ‘their time’ and not our own.

Do you have a loved one with Alzheimer’s and Dementia?  Do they confuse home as well?  Do they return to their long-term childhood memories easier than the short-term of the last 10+ years?

For me, home is where the heart is and I wish yours to be safe, happy and filled with love.

Shine On!

xo

 

 

*Photo Credit from PrettyCleverFilms

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14 thoughts on “There’s No Place Like Home

  1. My mother had Alzheimers. Often towards the end, she said she wanted to go home – but home to her was the house her kids were raised in, which was many years in the past as she had moved into an apartment once we were all on our own. We finally got to a point where we would just tell her that she could go home once the doctors said she could (she thought she was in a hospital, when really she was in a nursing home). That made her happy, and also made her more compliant because she really wanted them to see her on her best behavior.

    My mother also had a sweet tooth. I wonder if that may be part of the disease process? Although she liked sweets her whole life, her desire for them got stronger as she got nearer to the end.

    I’m looking forward to reading more of your posts. And thanks for following me, too.

    • My Aunt has the biggest sweet tooth and it has grown by leaps and bounds since she was diagnosed. Her favorite chocolate kisses seem to be something to do as well as the sweetness of the chocolate. The idea of unwrapping the goodness, eating it and then reaching in to get another has become ritualistic which soothes her. Funny how the sweet tooth increased for them both. I understand and I’m here for you. I’m glad we’ve connected. ♥

  2. It is a sad disease. I follow another blog where the writer joins her husband suffering from dementia in his reality. When he brings up deceased loved ones, she says, they’re fine and might drop by later or something like that. He is happier now and spared the pain of experiencing his mom’s death over and over. Even though people may forget shortly afterwards, I can’t help but wonder about the physical affect on their body if they continually suffer the news of someone’s death over and over… I don’t know… those are just my thoughts. ❤
    Diana xo

    • I agree with your thoughts Diana and I follow the same blog as you. I don’t see how telling them over and over helps in any way. I prefer to go with the flow and add goodness to their present minds and not detract from them. ♥

  3. One of the women in the dementia wing of the nursing home where my husband is continually asks for her husband after about 3pm. Most staff distract her and reassure he will be coming soon but some staff remind her that her husband died and she suffers grief and shock. I prefer the former ‘go with the flow’ approach but of course there is no one-size-fits-all answer. Wonderful post!

  4. I’m so thankful that I have not had to face this disease. It has to be brutal to watch someone we love deal with this kind of confusion. Thank you for sharing this post. And thank you for your insight.

    And just in case you’re interested. This summer I’m going on two-month RV trip with my nearing-ninety Godmother and her cat Pepe le Mew. I leave for the US in a week. The RV is huge, 37-feet. My Godmother will be driving and towing an SUV the entire way. She was a Flamenco dancer during her entire professional life. I’m going to try to blog about our trip and write a book about the 64 beautiful years she and my Godfather, a Venezuelan movie star (I kid you not!), were married, until Raul died last fall one month shy of his 97th birthday.

    Sorry to have been away so long!

    Hugs from Ecuador,
    Kathy

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