How to Respond When a Senior with Dementia Insists on “Going Home”

patient caregiver photoIt is common for seniors living with dementia to exclaim “I want to go home!”  That is a reasonable request when a senior is temporarily staying in the hospital, rehabbing in a nursing home or shortly after moving to a new location.   An encouraging reminder that the situation is temporary or explaining why the senior is away from home will often ease the senior’s frustration.

Sometimes, however, a senior’s insistence on returning home turns into a crisis that is not easily resolved.  This usually occurs when the senior IS already at home but cannot grasp, or will not accept, that reality.   Once the senior fixates on the perceived need, the stress levels for everyone involved ratchet ever higher as the demands to “return home” increase in frequency and emotional intensity.  Ignoring the demands only intensify the senior’s distress.  Similarly, patient explanations and logical arguments do nothing to calm the senior’s frustration.

A better way to deal with an “I want to go home” crisis is to use creative responses that redirect the senior to a calm state of mind.  Please click on the link below to learn more about the three kind responses to offer a senior who repetitively asks to go home:

3 Ways to Respond When Someone with Alzheimer’s Says I Want to Go Home

To all the caregivers out there – you truly are heroes!  Attorneys in CMDA’s elder law and estate planning practice group offer a broad range of elder law and estate planning services to our clients. Each client is unique, and we take the time to understand our clients’ needs and goals and designs practical, customized solutions.

Norman E. Richards (Gene) focuses his practice on estate planning and elder law.  He assists clients with the development of customized estate plans to address their specific needs, including family owned businesses, senior adults concerned about long term care needs, and special needs trusts for children with special needs.  He may be reached at (734) 261-2400 or

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