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Old 06-10-2012, 03:02 PM   #1
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wanting to go home

my husband who has alzheimers was admitted to a nursing home 6 weeks ago. every week he packs up his things and tell the nurse he wants to go home. other times he seems ok. how long does it normally take for an alzheimers patient to adjust?

 
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Old 06-10-2012, 04:36 PM   #2
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Re: wanting to go home

Flora... it depends on the person. Some will adjust quickly and some never do. Some will express this desire occasionally and for some it is constant. The best thing you can do is find the triggers that lead to these episodes and try to find alternatives to keep him entertained, busy, and happy at these times.

My Dad adjusted quickly and well. The only time he mentioned going home was when Mom was driving him nuts about it. Mom on the other hand never did adjust well. After her move to the locked unit, she packed her things daily. She even threw them over the courtyard fence so they would be there if she ever got outside the fence. She only settled down with medication...

So if this is something your Dad does only once a week then let it be. If the facility he is in will notice the signs they can get him involved or distract him at these times. I do hope he will settle in soon. Just know that this is VERY common with most dementia patients when they arrive at new living arrangements

Love, deb

 
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Old 06-11-2012, 03:01 AM   #3
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Re: wanting to go home

My mother, for a long time, tied everything up in her bed sheet everyday and was constantly wanting to go home. That was two years ago and now she still ask to go home occasionaly. She has vascular dementia and now sleeps a lot and can't walk. Still, just the other day she said "This is a **** sorry place. Lets get the **** out of here." Just out of the blue she says things like this. She will be 92 in a couple of months and is in a nursing home close to where I live. Things change as time goes on, some problems lessen while others take their place. It is a journey no one would choose but we all get through it somehow.
Aras

 
Old 06-11-2012, 04:26 AM   #4
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Re: wanting to go home

Sorry about your husband, FloraMay. My husband wanted to go home for a few weeks, but I've seen other patients saying that they want to go home for a few months (even when they don't know where "home" is anymore). Sometimes they seem to pick up this mantra from each other. If one of them is saying "I want to go home" then others say it too, so it can go around and around. As Gabriel said, sometimes there is anger too. Medications can be used to help settle down the patient.

The NH workers hear it so often that they have canned responses. It's harder on the family members. You may have to come up with some standard responses yourself to get through this phase. Some canned responses are "next week," "after some tests," "as soon as the painters are done in the house," "when the doctor signs the release form," etc. One lady in my husband's nursing home was given big laminated piece of paper as her ticket to the bus that was coming later in the week to take her home. Boy, did she hang onto that piece of paper!

Sadly, it may continue until his next drop off in functioning when he speaks less, thinks that the NH is his home, etc. It's very hard.

 
Old 06-11-2012, 07:42 AM   #5
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Re: wanting to go home

Quote:
Originally Posted by floramay View Post
my husband who has alzheimers was admitted to a nursing home 6 weeks ago. every week he packs up his things and tell the nurse he wants to go home. other times he seems ok. how long does it normally take for an alzheimers patient to adjust?
It depends on his stage. If he is in earlier stage, he knows he is not at his real home. So naturally he wants to go home. My FIL went to the NH in the summer of 2010. At first he wanted to come with us, but later in a few weeks, he got used to it and liked the food and service. However he has the delusion that he needs to work. So the NH feeds him the need to work. Since he was a doctor and researcher, the NH environment is perfect for him.

If your husband does not have any need to work at all, he would need some reason to stay in the NH. Sometimes he would need to participate with the activities and learns to like it. Sometimes he may like the NH but he thinks he needs to go home. I hope in 3 months, he may get used to it. Also, if you don't go there everyday for a while and let him get used to the caregivers there, he may get adapted faster.

Take care,
Nina

 
Old 06-12-2012, 12:19 PM   #6
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Re: wanting to go home

Here is what I will comment:

There is no way to predict really how much or how often someone is going to ask to go home (or demand it, or pack for it, or try to accomplish it, depending on the situation!)

It is entirely personal.

But what I DO know is that you are going to have to find a way that you can deal with it, whichever variant might occur, because requests to go home will always tug at the heartstrings even if you are 100% convinced beyond all doubt that a facility is the best place for your loved one. The tug's severity can vary depending on how pathetic, angry, upsetting or tragic the plea was.

The methods you figure out will have to try to calm or at least placate the person temporarily, as well as not leave you like a beaten up, guilt-consumed ragdoll.

For the first, I think you are going to have to use trial and error, drawing from suggestions on this board as well as your own innovation, and keeping in mind that what works great today might be completely ineffective tomorrow! (Frustrating, that... but you get used to it!)

These may include: merciful lies, false but vague promises, ice cream or other treats as distractions, acknowledging that she feels bad, saying nothing but appearing sympathetic, changing the subject, bringing things for her to look at it or fiddle with, blaming someone or something else (their health, the doctors, the rules, Medicare, the Sheriff, or changing the TV station or moving to another room.

For the second, I think you have to know your own personality and come up with something that speaks to you emotionally and psychologically so that you don't feel too bad.

Personally, what I do is say to myself, Well, it would be great if my aunt could go home and do well and be safe. I wish that were possible, but I know it is not. It is understandable that I feel bad but I have to do what is in her best interest. I am sorry it causes her agitation sometimes and I hope I keep coming up with ways to soothe her.

My rational side repeats this ,or variations of this, to myself as many times as necessary to convince my emotional side of it. It usually takes about 5 - 10
repetitions. If necessary, I write it down and review mentally the reasons why she can't be home.
Quote:
Originally Posted by floramay View Post
my husband who has alzheimers was admitted to a nursing home 6 weeks ago. every week he packs up his things and tell the nurse he wants to go home. other times he seems ok. how long does it normally take for an alzheimers patient to adjust?

 
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