"I want to go home"

How do you feel coming home after a long day?   For most of us, it’s a sense of relief or contentment.  You are in a safe place and surrounded by people and things that put you at ease. When a family member says “I want to go home,” they want these same feelings.

Possible causes:

  • Fatigue
  • Over-stimulation 
  • Asking the person to complete an unfamiliar task

Strategies:

  • Watch your tone of voice and body language. Speak calmly and use short sentences.
  • The home your wife speaks of may be where she grew up. Use this to start a conversation: “Where was home? Did you grow up in the city or the country?  What was your favourite thing to do when you were there?” Even if you know the answers, still ask.
  • Acknowledge his anxiety.
  • Provide reassurance.

Example: Frank has recently moved to a long-term care facility and is constantly asking to go back “home”. 

Don’t:

  • Explain to him that this is his home now and he has nowhere else to go.

Do:

  • Acknowledge his feelings. “It must be hard to want to go home. Can you tell me about your home? Where did you live?  What did you like doing there as a kid?  Do you have any siblings?”  Reminisce even if you know all the answers; you want him to feel safe and at ease as if he was at home.  You might even hear a new story!


Last Updated: 11/08/2017