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How to respond to Mom's Requests for Me to Take Her Home
Frequently, Mom asks my siblings and I about going home. We have continuously told her to talk to the assisted living / memory care doctor where she resides about it as that doctor (and a previous doctor) have made it a requirement for her to have 24x7 care due to her vascular dementia (she also has mobility issues and uses a walker). She is less demonstrative about asking to go home than she used to be fortunately but it still wears on us. She doesn't like the doctor at the assisted living / memory care facility as Mom thinks she doesn't give Mom enough attention and that the doctor has also told her she needs to stay at the facility due to Mom's care needs. Mom of course doesn't agree - I can do everything I could do before. Besides telling Mom to talk to the doctor, we also deflect to other topics.
I made it possible in both 2015 and 2017 for Mom to go home with some help after hip surgery and rehab. When I had to bring her back to rehab in late 2017 after it was obvious she wasn't taking care of herself and couldn't make decisions (obvious Sundowners Syndrome), I told my siblings I cannot take Mom home again. We moved her from rehab in Jan 2018 to the assisted living / memory care facility where she is now.
I am curious what other caregivers are telling their LOs when they ask to go home. Just looking for some other responses to use.
I am also thinking I need to pullback on my contact and visits with her to every 10 days or so, specially since I have made it possible in the past for her to go home. But given her care needs, it just isn't possible even if she was willing to have someone in her home to provide the level of care required.
Thanks for your assistance.
A) don't use what I used. 3 years ago when the move from her sunny peaceful widow's apartment to AL happened, we told her straight up, because she has a bull hockey detector the size of the Titanic, this is home now. Complete fail. Adjustment took a year. One year ago, move 600 miles from AL to AL/MC, she is still as good detecting the manure, I refined it a bit. "Can you learn to call this home?" Shades of Jane Austen!
Now, of course, "home" is something else entirely. She's no longer angry, but yearning, and not quite sure of where home is. You are not there yet, sounds like.
My mom frequently said she wanted to live somewhere else. I would tell her ‘the doctor says you cant live on your own. You cant live with me or (other siblings), because we are not home enough. You come up with a plan about where you want to go + who you are going to live with + I will help you do it’
She did not have mental abilities or even the capability to use the phone so she was at a loss as to how to proceed.
I would sometimes say to her, I know the whole situation is shi**ty, but there is no alternative.
My mom was mainly non verbal for the last two years of her life, which of course meant an end to questions about leaving
You're on the right track, defer to someone who is not on site. Let her know you are on her side.
I'm sorry, Mom, I'm working on it. I know. I'll talk to / I have a call into the director. We'll get this sorted out. In the meantime, your doctor wants you to get some rehab here. And the food is pretty darn good.
Deflect and repeat. Eventually she will forget how she got there.
Dave, what worked before may not work now or again. If there is one thing I learned with this illness is how to be a good fibber and take pride in my lies bringing my mom comfort. Watch some Teppa Snow if you haven't already. My mom did the "take me home" deal repetitively and yes, it is wearing, but if you can switch it up then everyone wins.
I would tell my mom I was working on it. I could never say that a doctor said she had to because my mom couldn't care less about "doctor's orders." I would tell her that I have a meeting with their administration and I would let her know. Just remember that your mom will not recall what you have told her so whatever BS feels right for you at the time is fair game.
My mom started to feel like I totally had her back since I was "working on it" and eventually she moved on to some other thing. There will be lots of repetitive requests and I'm sorry you have to deal with it, but like I said before... I felt so happy when I would BS and she was cool. I never lied before her illness. I have another theory too and that is if they are still asking, they are still thinking. My mom was still able to hold a decent conversation even moving into stage 6 and after having a stroke. It can be wearing, but now it's 1.5 years after she's gone and as rough as the experience was, I feel good about my part.
As for visiting, you do what feels right and comfortable for you. Mom will most likely not know if it's 5, 7 or 10 days. I made sure to at least do once a week, but that was just me. I was able to take my mom out to lunch and wheel her around a few shopping stores and we were able to bond better outside her MC.
We blamed the doctor. The doctor wants you to stay here for a few more days, but it's pretty nice! Did you see they are serving ice cream this afternoon?
Can you find something believable about her home that might prevent her from going now? It's being repainted inside, a pipe burst, the furnace broke etc. I'm working on getting it fixed for you, but for now you can stay here. Just stay here tonight for me.
You're always working on it, it's always next week it might be ready. It's a hard situation, I know. Eventually it will pass and she will stop asking.
Deflect and redirect. Some are more persistant than others, but for many it works.
"Home? I don't know. I'll have to ask the doctor (loose the diagnosis discussion, that isn't helping you at all). "what's your favorite part about home? The garden? I like the outdoors too. Let's get a snack and go outside now!"
"I hope sometime soon. You're getting stronger! You have therapy now, let's go show them how you are walking!".
"I don't know, Mom. I'd like to go home too! It has my favorite food. I feel like chocolate ice cream now, let's go to the dining room and get some........
etc. It's a bit of an art, has to be perfected to what works for your LO.
Similar to how it goes when they ask for deceased family members. "They're not here now. "
I would tell my mom I was working on it.... My mom started to feel like I totally had her back since I was "working on it" and eventually she moved on to some other thing. There will be lots of repetitive requests and I'm sorry you have to deal with it...
Not everyone is the same, but I believe that the yearning to go home is a plea for something that they need to make them feel OK. Try to look beyond the words to what they are yearning for. And then, to the best of your ability, try to make it happen for them.
PS - To help alleviate the feeling of being along, you might want to look into a Joy For All pet or perhaps doll therapy. My mother's Joy For All cat has been an amazing help!
Best of luck