But…I Wanna Go Home
by Shelley Krupa, Business Operations Coordinator at Lake Hallie Memory Care
I don't know the exact number of times she said, "But…I wanna go home." It was a lot. The guilt, shame, and disgrace of being the "daughter who put me here" hurt like heck. But it eventually faded as days, months, and years went by.
I felt comfort, along with her, knowing that even if she wanted to go to her childhood home, she was safe there in the temporary home. That was what mattered to both of us. I know it had to be hard on her. It's scary to feel alone. She was brave as she looked for what she wanted. It was her courage that gave us both strength to carry on each time she talked of going home.
And then one day, the feeling of "home" happened.
While I'd love to say, it happened as fast as the day I had to make the decision to move her into memory care, it didn't. It was a slow process. Each visit, I noticed how she had settled into the place. She received and gave more hugs with the staff. She knew where her room was. She knew who didn't belong in there when they wandered about the place. She knew where the meals were served. And, yes! – She even made a couple of friends. Friends to eat and chat with. The special kind of friends, the ones she could complain to because they were in the same boat: "have I told you that my kids put me here?"
In all of her navigating moments of the day – she had found her "home" in the human connection, and that is when it happened. The moment she started calling the temporary place, "her home."
The day I found out how real her home was to her was at the end of one of her visits to our home. After a nice visit, she told me she was ready to go back "home." I choked a bit as I gulped back tears, and felt my heart skip a beat. We smiled together in the car as I drove her back "home." She couldn't wait to tell someone about her visit to her daughter's house. As we walked into the door, she was greeted by staff with big smiles and hugs, and she said, cheerfully with arms spread out gathering every hug as they appeared, "I'm HOME!"
My heart melted. I smiled at the staff as the greatest sense of relief overwhelmed me.
Even a person with dementia, who can't remember where their home is, can tap into the power of the brain through the connected feelings shared with other human beings. That is how the feeling of "home" forms for them. And, in those moments, it is a wonderful sound to hear, "I wanna go home."
From all of us at Lake Hallie Memory Care – "We're happy to share 'I wanna go home' moments with your loved ones!"