Care Partnering, Challenges & Solutions, Resources, Teepa Snow, Tips, tools & skills

13 expert tips to help with “I want to go home.”

Teepa 13 home tips pic painterly

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:

  1. find creative ways to deal with these situations when they arise
  2. 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):

  1. Don’t argue
  2. Try something different
  3. Agree and validate
  4. Say you’re sorry
  5. Build self-esteem
  6. Offer incentives
  7. Create collaboration
  8. Give reasons to be “here”
  9. Remember: we are the same
  10. Remember: their filter is gone
  11. Remember: value and purpose
  12. Think! How can you work together?
  13. 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.

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Take my short survey on behaviour here.

9 thoughts on “13 expert tips to help with “I want to go home.””

  1. this was good to know my mom has dementia and she talks about wanting to go home and another thing is she wants to go get mama it is hard trying to deal with that i don’t know if i am handling it right or not could u help me


  2. Did you want to lay down? Sometimes she just wants to lay down) I can bring you to your apartment, (she pays rent so therefore it is home) Do you need the restroom.? (Sometimes she loses the potty) Where is home? (mom usually wants childhood home where daddy is waiting) Was there trees? (Get her talking about what is here and there and pretty soon she is talking about something else and not stressing about home.)


  3. My husband comments on the outside – Oh, look, it is just like it was back where we lived before. It is where we have been living for quite awhile.syl


  4. Everyone seems lost in the conversation. Is the patient rational to want to go home and is he or she cognizant, take them home and place them under the care of a critical care doctor. They may be salvageable as they fear in their mind that they will stay there till they die. I assume they are under palliative care which is the worst experience any patient can experience, no compassion.


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