One of the greatest challenges dementia care partners face is “I want to go home.”
People with dementia often “want to go home,” even when they are in a place they may have lived for years.
It’s frustrating for the person with dementia who is convinced he or she needs to be somewhere else. It’s also frustrating for the care partner who doesn’t have dementia because there seems to be no way to solve the problem.
We would gladly take people with dementia “home” if only we could. Sadly, we can’t because the place they want to go exists only in the reality of their minds.
But we CAN:
- find creative ways to deal with these situations when they arise
- employ strategies that reduce the stress, anxiety and pain of the “going home” problem.
Here are 13 tips that will help defuse “I want to go home” (see disclaimer):
- Don’t argue
- Try something different
- Agree and validate
- Say you’re sorry
- Build self-esteem
- Offer incentives
- Create collaboration
- Give reasons to be “here”
- Remember: we are the same
- Remember: their filter is gone
- Remember: value and purpose
- Think! How can you work together?
- Role play and practice
In the video below, dementia care pioneer Teepa Snow teaches a care worker a better way of handling “I want to go home” (the demo starts at about 1:15 and finishes at about 7:00):
There are more great tips here.
And this is how I imagine it might feel for a person living with dementia in a long-term care facility as they experience wanting to go home.