If you’ve had the experience of caring for an aging parent, you know that it’s never easy. But it becomes complicated when your parent can no longer live independently. That’s why we’ve compiled this guide to handling a common situation faced by those who provide memory care: Your loved one wants to go home even though they can’t live on their own anymore. Whether you agree with their decision, here are some tips for coping with this scenario so that both of you can feel at ease moving forward.
Reminisce with Your Parent
While it may be hard to think back on memories, it’s essential to try. Ask your parent if they remember certain things, such as where they grew up or what their parents were like. Tell them stories about the past, and ask them to share theirs. You could also take a photo album or look through old photos together.
Help Your Parent Find His or Her Way Around By Creating Familiar Touchstones
When your loved one can no longer think clearly, they may be lost. An excellent way to help them find their way around is by creating familiar touchstones in their room and throughout the home.
Place familiar objects around the house. For example, place photos of family members on their bedside table, in the kitchen, and throughout other house rooms. This will help remind your parent where they are and what he or she needs to do when they get up and wander.
Create a schedule for fun activities such as meals, hygiene care and exercise time that includes specific locations so that it’s easy for him or her to follow along with it at all times—this will help keep track of where he/she should be at any given moment during the day!
Stay Calm and Matter-Of-Fact
When your parent asks if they can go home, don’t lose your cool or show any irritation or anger. Don’t make excuses for them either, like “the doctor said” or “the other residents are on lockdown.” This may feel easier said than done if you’re feeling frustrated by their request and worried about what it means for their mental state. If you have to, take a few deep breaths before answering the question so that you can respond in a way that will keep things civil between the two of you.
Much like the parent who has lost their memory, it can be frustrating to know that your parent will forget about their request to go home. They may ask you again and again, but in a short time, they will likely forget about this conversation entirely.
Therefore, it is essential to remember that your parent does not have malicious intent with their questions and comments; rather, they are simply experiencing confusion due to dementia. It is also important not to take these comments personally or argue with your parent about whether or not they should stay at the memory care center instead of going home.
There are several ways you can seek advice. The first is to talk with a professional who deals with dementia clients. They may be able to offer insight into your situation and how you should proceed, as well as resources that might help you out. Another option is talking through your parent’s desire to go home with other family members or friends who have experienced similar situations in their lives. You could also ask the doctor or social worker if there are any resources available for people in your position that would be beneficial for you and/or your parent’s caregivers.