Many individuals, with different forms of dementia, ask from time to time or sometimes on every visit, “Are you taking me home now?”
My advice has been most of the time to these family members to say, “When the doctor says you can leave” or “When the plumbing at your house is fixed”. And then I suggest using distraction to redirect the individual from being fixated on the thoughts of home.
As family members, we need to remember that our loved one with a dementia associates us with whatever that memory of “home” is and however hard it may be, we need to answer quickly and simply – and then use redirection.
My mother is doing so much better but since she has moved into her small residential care home she has asked me on the last three visits, “Have you come to take me home?” Interesting, she even whispered this to me the last time so as not to let the care workers or the other residents know what she was asking. I am able to say, “When you no longer need the oxygen”. And, in the moment, she understands and we just chat about recipes or gardening – me asking her advice – which gives me a reason to “thank her” instead of her always thanking me for my visit.
The dance of “elder care” has it smiles, grief, tears and is full of creative opportunities to protect dignity.