Sep 23, 2010

Alzheimer's Disease "I Want to Go Home"

What does “I want to go home” really mean to someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia?

What does it mean to the caregiver?

Is the person living with dementia speaking literally or figuratively?

I Want to Go Home | Alzheimer's Reading Room

By Barbara Pursley
+Alzheimer's Reading Room

The stage of the disease can be somewhat of an indicator to where “Home” is.

In Mom’s case, the only time she ever told me, “I want to go home” was in the very early stages of Alzheimer’s. I’m sure she was speaking of her most recent home since she was able to describe it to me.

I’ve been fascinated and curious about the meaning of “I want to go home.” I’ve heard this discussion in support groups and have read many articles.

Some things I’ve learned from others:
  1. Home could mean one’s birthplace
  2. Their childhood home
  3. A relatives home where memorable events took place
  4. The home where their children were raised
  5. Their most recent home
  6. The job they so loved
  7. Home as in Heaven
  8. A change as in state of mind
  9. Take me away from the noisy TV or music
  10. Take me to my room where it’s quiet
  11. Take me to that place where I feel safe
  12. Take me to that place where I feel loved

Most often the Alzheimer’s patient is told, “This is your home” and the caregiver may fall short in meeting their emotional needs.

Be positive.

Try to address and acknowledge the underlying feelings. Re-direct their attention by taking a short walk and reassure them of their safety.

We must take time to step into the Alzheimer’s world to find their meaning of “I want to go home.”

What do you think “I want to go home” means?

And, what tactics have you used to deal with this behavior and resolve the angst embedded in this situation?
Barbara Pursley was born in Galveston, Texas and is the author of EMBRACING THE MOMENT. Barabara attended Santa Monica College, studied photography, and worked as a commercial photographer before returning to Texas to care for her mother. Barbara also taught journal writing to women in Texas rehabilitation facilities. She put her God inspired journal entries and photographs into book form in 2009.

Original content +Bob DeMarco , the Alzheimer's Reading Room