When Dementia Steals Away “Home”

Kate Swaffer is living with a diagnosis of dementia and has eloquently taught me and given me a better understanding of what it’s like to be on the other side of this journey. I immediately connected with this post that speaks of the term “hiraeth” which means homesickness for a home in which you can never return.

On every visit with mom, I interact with 2 or 3 residents who are trying to get “home.” Some want to know if I can give them a ride, some want to know when family is picking them up, and some just want to know where home is. I also have frequent conversations with mom about going home, and it breaks my heart each time. I know for many moving into dementia, even home might not be “home” all the time. Shared.

IMG_3655This was brought recently to my attention via social media, either Facebook or Twitter, although I can’t remember which one. I had not heard of the word, or did not remember it, which is not the issue here, but the meaning of the word has been playing with my heart-strings ever since.

Initially it brought me to tears, as apart from a couple of cousins and three elderly aunts whom I love dearly and speak to reasonably often (although I feel a bit guilty, as it is never often enough!), my husband and two sons are the ONLY family who support me, or are connected to me in any meaningful way. Some of my family no longer even speak to us at all, and have removed themselves and their children from our lives. It feels like the word hiraeth also applies to this.

Their loss, not mine/ours is easy to say, bt…

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3 comments on “When Dementia Steals Away “Home”

  1. A new word for me but so fitting, both for the one with dementia and the one who has gone from child or spouse to caregiver….

  2. This is a very moving post – thanks for sharing it.

  3. This resonates with me as well. Dad and his roommate were planning to “break out” of the care center and another resident always carried a bundle of clothes with him, like he was ready for a trip.

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