Dementing illnesses strip this safety away. Little by little and sometimes in large chunks the familiar becomes unfamiliar. The little things a person unconsciously counts on to clue them in to where they are, who they are, how they should act and what they should expect disappears. The family starts to hear "I want to go home" over and over. What this really means is "I don't feel safe anymore."
Spiritual Journey of Family Caregiving, by Sheryl Karas, 2008
Often, my family and I struggle with how to handle Muddear's frequent confusion. There are many days and subsequent nights when Muddear will repeatedly ask to be taken home or to be taken to a place in her memory. We try many approaches to ease the confusion. Sometimes we attempt to explain to Muddear, patiently and logically, that she is at home. If this fails, we talk about her inability to care for herself, outlining all of the things that Muddear is dependent upon us to do for her thus enabling nursing home free living. When all else fails, we simply state "I know you don't believe me, but you are at home. Let's talk about something else."
The thing that I never understand is why we continue to have this same conversation over and over again. I understand that Muddear has Dementia, the source of her confusion, yet at times I find my level of frustration rising. The questions, never end. The requests to go home never cease. If only, I could better understand "why?"
When I read the chapter excerpt fromSpiritual Journey of Family Caregivingby Sheryl Karas contained on her blog, I experienced an "aha" moment. You know, the feeling that someone actually understood the challenges my family and I face as caregivers of a loved one with Dementia. Clickhereto read the chapter excerpt in its entirety or visit Lulu to purchaseSpiritual Journey of Family Caregiving. This non-fiction book chronicles the five years ending in 2005, when Sheryl Karas worked as a Family Caregiving Consultant at the Alzheimer's Association and Del Mar Caregiver Resource Center helping families taking care of loved ones with incurable progressive memory loss and dementia, contains many more anecdotes like the one listed above.