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Take Me Home

Photo credit: Eva Schuster

I have volunteered in nursing homes for years. Over 43 years ago I put my mother in a nursing home. After she died I felt such a loss, since I had been visiting her once a day, that I started volunteering. There is one thing that hasn’t changed over the last 43 years: all residents say, “I want to go home.”

Some residents talk about getting dressed and waiting to be picked up to go home. Others cry to go home to their parents’ house, a home that they haven’t seen in decades. Some talk about going home tomorrow, but its always they want to go home. Most residents don’t realize where they are. They are just stating a fact, they miss their home. Something in their minds, Alzheimer’s, dementia—whatever they are diagnosed—it’s the same, they want to go home.

My daughter and I took some of my clothes to a nursing home today. As we were leaving an old man said, “Wait, can you take me home?” I had Missy push my wheelchair back to him, I told him no, I could not take him, he said, “Well maybe someone will come get me. I’m late, and have to go home.”

In the car I told Missy, my daughter,

Isn’t it something that of all the places in the world that people could wish to go, and over all the years I have volunteered, it has always been I want to go home—not Disneyland, not the Bahamas, not to work—all want to go home.

I told her that it is so sad, but also wonderful…the rich, the poor, what is it in our brains that make us all want to go home? Is it the fact that we fought so hard to stay there before we came to the nursing home? That even in our disease we heard the talk of our family around us that we would be leaving home…and it stayed somewhere in our mind?

I told Missy take me home, while I can still go…

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