Dementia often impacts loved ones who are older than 65 years old. It is a mental impairment that limits a person’s ability to make sound decisions, recall situations and places or even their ability to process information. Family members with dementia may not be able to process information about their surroundings well which makes them stressed and overwhelmed when they are in a new and foreign place. Your parents with dementia would ask to go home or may even express feelings of agitation. This is because dementia creates chemical changes in the brain causing the hippocampal part of the brain to weaken. This portion of the brain helps in consolidating information and aids in learning. It structures the mind by keeping a clear timeline of events which helps us orientate ourselves. Thus, if the hippocampal region of the brain is altered, it will create difficulties for the person to grasp the concept of time and adapt to new surroundings. Additionally, the prefrontal cortex part of the brain, which is in charge of reasoning, as well as their ability to speak and communicate weakens. While it can get frustrating when parents with dementia ask to go home during a day of fun, it is important to be patient when caring for your parents. Additionally, if your loved ones are moving to a new retirement community, it may be difficult for them to settle down. They may feel slightly out of place at first and may request to go home. Here are some tips when caring for your parents with dementia when they ask to go home.
Meeting Their Needs
We all have our owner needs that have to be met. Whether it is an emotional or physical need, it can cause feelings of neglecting and hurt if they are not met. As such, being very sensitive to the needs of your loved ones is extremely important as dementia patients are unable to meet their own needs on their own. If they are showing signs of anger, sadness and loneliness, we have to respond in a manner that assures and comforts them. Sometimes our family members with dementia may become physically agitated which could be a sign that they are tired. As their loved ones, we would have to be more intentional in understanding what they are feeling to be able to meet their needs. Asking them questions regularly to understand if they need the washroom or need food will reduce their levels of agitation and feelings of neglect.
Changing Their Environment
The environment can trigger certain feelings that could cause your loved ones to want to go home. If your loved ones perceive that the new environment that they are in is unfriendly, unfamiliar, unforgiving and nonfunctional, it can create great discomfort for them. We need to be aware of the environment and observe certain factors that can create distress for them. As their loved ones, we need to observe if the environment has people or objects that your loved ones would enjoy. The new environment that they are spending more of their time in should be able to accommodate for their current abilities and is forgiving if they were to make mistakes.