Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Monday, April 20, 2009 LaNaeh Wallander, Community Member, asks

Q: My mother is becoming increasingly paranoid and thinks people are steeling from her.

My mother is increasingly paranoid and insists that her friends and I are taking things from her home when we haven't even been there - one item she insists is a diamond ring that never exsisted - how do I respond?

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Answers (5)
Carol Bradley Bursack, Health Guide
4/21/09 8:16am

Hi LaNaeh,

 

This is one of the most painful things we cope with. The stealing part is partly memory. She can't find things and the paranoia that sets in with dementia makes her figure if it's "gone" someone stole it. And that someone is often family. It's heart wrenching.

 

This is one of the few things where you can't "play along" and say, "Yes, of course, someone took it." The reasons are obvious.

 

The best advice I can give you is to state the truth - that she's likely forgotten where she put it, but it should turn up. She will hate this and be angry, but what is your choice? Hopefully, she will forget this issue and move on to something else.

 

My dad thought that every school he attended for college classes (as he just loved to learn) was one he'd earned a degrees from. I was able to handle this by making him fake degrees for his nursing home wall. But, with objects like the diamond ring, you have a bigger challenge. You may be able to find a fake one and say something like, "Look what I found! The ring - ."  That is up to you. Do you want to go that route?

 

The bottom line is that you have to defend yourself against accusations of stealing. Hopefully, she will get onto other subjects. These things go in cycles.

 

Best wishes and good luck,

Carol

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NC, Community Member
4/21/09 10:41am

Carol is right, it is up to you to be creative.

My father-in-law often accused that his caregivers steal money, true or false. One time the lead caregiver took away his checkbooks and gave them to me to be safe. So he accused her and etc for 3 days. Later he forgot about it. He didn't even remember which one took it.

Last Thursday, the young caregiver that we are about to fire made a stupid move to ask for his cash in his pocket. I gave my FIL $10 for "security", and she asked for it! Naturally the next day he accused her of stealing his $10! It is only $5 now after the coffee at Starbucks! So the lead caregiver added another $10 back to his pocket book. It took him 4 days to discuss money until he calms down.

It is hard because money is very important to him but he is incompetent.

It is good in a way that they will tell you about the "robbery" because it can help us to find the real thief or bad guy/girl.

 

Well try the glass ring and see if it is ok but you may not know what it should look like... Good luck!

 

Take care,

Nina

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Dorian Martin, Health Guide
4/21/09 12:22pm

Hi, LaNaeh,

 

My mother also had a similiar experience, and became increasingly hostile toward my father (who she accused of stealing from her). The way I handled this was when she brought up her fears, I'd mention that my cousin (who was a stockbroker and who handled some of my mom's investments) said that Mom's financial situation was fine. My cousin was always one of my mom's favorites so mentioning his name seemed to always calm her down. My suggestion to you is to identify a person who your mother trusts who might have some knowledge of the situation. With this person's blessing, mention his/her name and his/her feedback on your mother's situation whenever your mother's paranoia kicks in.

 

Take care and keep us posted!

 

Dorian

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mil with ad, Community Member
4/25/09 8:43am

i know how you feel just the other day she asked me for her husband right witch i put up 2 years ago cause he took it off and said he did not want to will i got upset and cry cause she told her son that i should not have it cause i was not her daughther and her son told her that i would never take anything and that i take good care of her and him that they would be lost with out me she will be my soon to be mil soon and her son told her we were all family

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R.Pantaleo, Community Member
5/16/10 10:06pm

I have been accused of stealing a ring from a person with Alzheimer's who

is a family member. I want to know the proper way to handle. She keeps calling me about this ring and now caling my daughter about me stealing this ring.

Please help me. I am sad for her and I want to do the right thing.

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By LaNaeh Wallander, Community Member— Last Modified: 10/26/11, First Published: 04/20/09