How to Respond When a Senior with Dementia Says “I Want to Go Home”
One of the common behavioral changes that occurs among dementia patients is repeating a question or phrase over and over. A phrase that many family caregivers for people with dementia hear often is “I want to go home.” It’s an awkward question to answer if the senior is living with you, but it can be even more difficult to know what to say if they are already at home. Understanding what causes the behavior and how to respond to it may make it easier for you to deal with the next time it occurs.
Why They Say It.
Sometimes what a senior with dementia says has more to do with the emotions behind it than with what they actually say. Saying “I want to go home” may arise out of feelings of anxiety, depression, or insecurity. Rather than a place, “home” may also represent a feeling. For many, home is a place that makes us feel comfortable and secure, so your aging relative may be trying to tell you they feel anxious and want to feel secure again.
Home can also represent a need for something familiar. Memory loss can make everything around the senior seem strange at times. Saying they want to go home may mean that they just want to be around things and people who feel familiar to them.
What You Can Say.
When you keep in mind that the behavior is more likely caused by an emotion, it can be easier for you to determine the right way to respond. Some suggestions for managing the behavior are:
Tell the truth. If the person has moved recently, they may have forgotten. Gently explain that they have moved, and this is their home now. Reassure them that they are safe in this new place and will be taken care of.
Try reminiscing with the senior. Talk to them about happy memories from their past. Old photographs can help spur the conversation.
Instead of arguing, validate what they are saying and then redirect them to something else. It’s even okay to agree with them by saying, “Sure, we’ll go soon.” Then, turn their attention to something else that they enjoy.
Dealing with challenging behaviors like this can make being a caregiver for someone with dementia stressful. When you need a break, senior care can help. Senior care providers can keep your family member feeling safe and comfortable at home while you take care of yourself for a while. Many senior care providers are experienced in tending to people with dementia, so you can be assured that they will professionally and compassionately assist your loved one.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering senior care in Parma Heights, OH, please talk to the caring staff at Avalon Home Health Care today.
Call us at (440) 863 -3609.