assisted livingThese are some of the ways primary carers and family members can approach the difficult question: “What do you say to someone with dementia who is in assisted living and wants to go home?” A person living with dementia may say that they would like to return home. This could be due to time-shifting and can be distressing.

Here are 5 things to keep in mind when someone with dementia asks for their home:

1. Do not argue about whether they are ‘home’.

A person with dementia may refer to their home as more than just the current place they live. A person with dementia may ask to be taken home if they feel at home. Home could be a place or time where they feel safe and secure, and where they are happy and relaxed. It may also refer to an indefinable location that does not exist physically. Try to not disagree with the person, or to try to reason with them about their desire to return home.

This is a better alternative:

It is important to recognize and understand the emotions behind your desire to return home. It might not have been the last place they lived. It could be the place they used to live before they moved, or it could be a place from their distant past. People with dementia often describe their home as a peaceful, idyllic, or happy place. It might be a good idea to encourage them to share their reasons for being happy in that place. It can help them to see what might be needed to feel better. It will also help to look for a reputable assisted living facility in Myrtle Beach. Dementia patients require special care to help them live out their lives as peacefully as possible.

2. Reassure them about their safety

It is likely that the desire to return home is the same as any other desire if you find yourself in an unfamiliar and unsettling place.

This is a better alternative:

Talk to the person and if necessary, touch their arm or hold them with your hands. Make sure the person knows they are safe. This can help the person feel safe and secure. You may find them living in a different place than they did before and they need to know that they are being cared for. Visiting local assisted living communities in your area will widen your options for elderly care.

3. Divert the conversation

Keep a photo album on hand. Sometimes, looking back at photos from the past can help ease anxiety. You might avoid asking questions about the photo or past. Instead, you can make comments like “That looks just like Uncle Fred.” Granny shared with me the time he…. Alternatively, you might try to divert them with food or music, or any other activity, such as a walk.

4. Determine if they feel lonely or unhappy

An individual with dementia might want to “go home” because they feel anxious, depressed, or afraid. The feeling of being in an unfamiliar place can be unsettling. Dementia patients better cope within a local assisted living community.

Does the person living with dementia feel happy or sad? It may be possible to find out why they are unhappy. If they are unable to tell you why a member or another resident may know.

As with other people, dementia patients may behave out of character when they are in bad moods or have a bad day.

Is the dementia patient still talking about the possibility of going home, even though they aren’t being visited in the home? Is he/she able to settle down? Staff at the home might know.

5. Keep track of the times they ask to return home

Some times might be worse than others. What is the common thread? Are you near meals (and could a snack help?)? Are you experiencing it in noisy environments? Are you experiencing it at night, possibly because of the sundowning effect?

You can reduce or eliminate triggers if you spot a pattern.

November is Alzheimer’s Foundation month and is represented by the color teal. Here in Myrtle Beach, we are Teal Nation for our local college. Let’s support the foundation by wearing teal and be sure to get involved in local activities. Here is one you may want to get involved with

Reflections Assisted Living is a memory care facility. Don’t stress over trying to care for a loved one with dementia. Call us today for a consult.

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Reflections Assisted Living at Carolina Forest
219 Middleburg Dr
Myrtle Beach, SC 29579
(843) 903-0700

Reflections Assisted Living
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