“Hi, Mom! How are you doing?”
“Oh, not so good.”
“I don’t know what to do.”
“I was thinking I might go home tomorrow.”
“But then I was thinking … when are you coming to visit?”
“Okay. Then maybe I’ll wait for you to come and we can go together.”
“What do you think about that?”
“Well, I don’t know, Mom. Why don’t you stay where you are?”
“Here? Oh, I can’t stay here.”
“Because I have to go home.”
“Oh, there isn’t a home for me to go to, is there?”
“Well, you are home, Mom, right now.”
“This is my home?”
“Well, I don’t like this home as much as my other homes.”
“I know, Mom.”
“I’m so scared.”
“I know, Mom. I know. But you’re safe. Nothing bad will happen to you there.”
“But it means I’ll be all alone.”
“You’re not alone, Mom. You live with Phyllis.”
“There’s no roommate here.”
“Yes, Mom. She’s in the other room.”
“Oh, her. She says we’re going to live here now. I don’t know what that will be like.”
“You do live there, Mom.”
It’ll really screw her up when she has to move again, into a nursing home, if I ever find one that will accept her. At least the place where she lives now looks like somebody’s home, even if she can’t recognize it as her own. So many nursing homes look like hospitals. She’ll never feel at home.
But then again, maybe it won’t matter where she is. Home, for my mom, is a place in her mind that’s far off in time and space, and it gets further and further away as her mind disintegrates. No matter what happens, my mom will probably never make it home again.
I’m so sorry for your pain.
Beth at least she has you, your kindness, love and compassion. So sorry for your sorrows.
My mom keeps wanting to go home too – or to ‘the other apartment’. we used to tell her it wasn’t ready, then we told her she needs to do her exercises to be able to be steady on her feet first, now we just tell her she is where she lives now. When she goes to sleep, she talks about going upstairs to bed, and worries where I’ll sleep. I tell her I’m fine, I’m sleeping in my room and all is well. And now we’re selling her home. Sometimes she remembers that too. I remember a few days before everything went downhill, and she left her home for what would be the last time, she got up and walked through every room. It seemed then she was saying goodbye. I always wonder how she knew.
Hi Karen! What a great idea — to tell your mom you’re sleeping in your own room and you’re fine. I think I’ll try that with my mom. It’s sad to think of your mom saying goodbye to her house.
This is so heartbreaking and you are so brave. One suggestion, try not to have this kind of conversation on the phone anymore, since at that moment she is all alone. Try to remember that for her these ideas come and go and if you can delay the conversation or distract her it might help. Honesty sometimes does not help. You can’t fix it, you can only try to help her feel more comfortable in the moment ( and then you go cry someplace). When I would visit my mother and she’d say ok let’s go now I would say something truly dumb like “I have a date” can’t do it today, and most times she would lose track thinking how nice it was that her daughter finally had a date. Or “remember that handsome doctor, he said you need to stay here until you feel better” would work a lot.
Thank you, Ilene. This is excellent advice, and yesterday, I finally took it. I consciously steered her away from conversations about home, her family (all dead), and anything that I thought might upset her. It was work! But it worked! She didn’t cry at all, and we had a very pleasant conversation. Thank you!
Thanks for sharing.
My mother passed away last year from the disease, she battle for fifteen years, the last six were horrible. i do remember the phase, ” I want to go home”, She was always ready to go home, even though she was home. We knew that it was getting worse and soon she would not be able to travel. My dad took her to Italy where me and my sis met her there. We wanted to give her a chance to see her brothers and sisters for the last time. three months later when it was time to leave, she wanted to know where my dad was taking her since she was home. My dad called me and put my mom on the phone and she said your dad wants to take me home, but this is a great place it’s home why are we leaving. Dementia/Alzheimers patients are all going home. it must be so scarey for them. Be strong, sending prayers and thoughts. \
Thank you, Rosella! It sounds like your family (including your mother) had a difficult time. I’m so sorry. Thank you for the prayers. Best, Beth