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What home are they looking for?

A person with Alzheimer's will long for a home that no longer exists. Watch Jolene Brackey explain why it's important to create feelings of safety.
[SOUND] Does the person ever say I want to go home? If you’re working with people with Alzheimer’s, yes, everyday, all day, over and over and over again. I want you to think about the person that you know with dementia or Alzheimer’s, and I want you to close your eyes and imagine where they’re sitting right now.
Now, get behind their eyes, and see what they see.
What they see, does it look, feel, or smell like the home that they’re looking for? Is their mom walking around? Does the wallpaper look like their grandma’s kitchen? What they see doesn’t look, feel, and smell like the home that they want to go to.
No. So when they say I wanna go home, it doesn’t mean that they literally want to go home. Because even if you took them to the home that you just moved them from, they’re still gonna wanna go home.
Which home are they looking for? The one at the age that they’re living in their mind. As a child, or as a 20 year old. So our goal is to give them a reason to stay wherever they’re at, just stay a little bit longer for dessert wherever you’re at. Stay a little bit longer and give them the hope that they can still go home. How do you think it makes someone feel when they say I wanna go home and we try to reason with them? This is your home. You live here. I’m here to take care of you, remember? You have Alzheimer’s.
I’m gonna do your hair later on. I don’t care how big you’re smiling. It doesn’t even matter. When you try to tell them that this is their home and what they see is not their home, they’re thinking you’re a liar, you’re crazy, and I have to get out of here as soon as you turn your back. They can’t listen to another word that you just said. So how do they feel with you?
They don’t feel safe with you. Your whole goal is to make them feel safe with you so when anyone says I wanna go home, give them a reason to stay with you just a little bit longer. I just put on a pot of coffee. And then they’ll say, I wanna go home. Well, let me do your hair before you go. And then they’ll say, I wanna go home. Okay, let’s get dressed. I wanna go home. But for lunch. [SOUND] We’re having fried chicken, mashed potatoes. I don’t care whatever you’re having for lunch. Whatever they want is what you’re having for lunch.
The point is you give them a reason they would understand, to want to just stay a little bit longer. Do you know that people can stay anywhere for another hour? But they can’t stay here forever. They don’t even wanna stay here until next Tuesday. How can you get them to stay for just a little bit longer? Cuz I’m gonna tell you, they can live in a place for two years.
Still wanna go home because they’ve only been living there for two hours. [SOUND] When anyone says to you, I wanna go home, what have you done that makes them feel safe, with you, just a little bit longer? [SOUND]
Our goal is to make the person with Alzheimer’s feel safe where they are while also providing hope for them to go home.
What strategies can you use to help make a person with Alzheimer’s feel safe with you, so they will stay just a little bit longer?
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Creating Moments of Joy for People with Alzheimer’s

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