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I am seriously considering telling my mother-in-law that I will not be seeing her as much if I have to listen to the constant litany about how the people where she's living are stealing from her. Everything she says they are stealing, I can find hidden somewhere in her room. I'm hoping that she will actually 'remember' what I'm saying, since there is a possibility that she won't get to see me anymore. Or at least, not nearly as often. Her memory is terrible, but the thought is, that message will get though the fog enough to STOP the craziness of repeating the same thing 50x's a day. I'm hesitant in telling her that, cause she is a nice person and I do love her. But...I'm tired of banging my head against the wall. Any thoughts?

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We are going to alert management about it as we just found this bag of stuff this past week end.. We want them to keep an eye on her and what she drag's to her room..I just don't want them to tell us they won't keep here there anymore, she is very disruptive and doesn't follow the rule's... her room is a mess as she is also a hoarder, we could straighten the room out and come back the next day and it looks ransacked.. she is in one of the nicest assisted care.. everything is so well taken care and she complains constantly about the people the food etc I could go on and on.. she is fighting this way of living telling people we put her in a jail...
What's a person to do... we are trying our best to make things good for her and have her live safely...
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Still going thru this with my mother-in-law. She hides things cause she's just SURE someone wants to steal the stupid stuff she has in her room. We have found everything so far, it's like hide and seek when I go to see her. There is NO arguing with her logically anymore cause of the dementia, we just find the stuff and put it back. I refuse to get stressed about this anymore, been there done that.
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Have you talked to management about it? It's probably not unusual. Just wondering how she has access to so many other people's things? Aren't their places secured by lock and key? What is your mom's diagnosis? Are you noticing other strange behavior?
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My mother is in assisted care and she is saying that people who live there steal... funny thing is she is the one who is doing the stealing... we find other people clthes, christmas decorations, hand lotion with other people name on them... what do we do... She has been stealing for quite a while... were do you turn for help????
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Linny, Tape him, use a camcorder, record his voice. Get the evidence you need.
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Sister,
The sale is a bust!! Two people have looked at it. One wanted more land; 3/4 of and acre is not enough!! She said that the house is over decorated; like I am selling her my pictures, artwork and couch!!!! One wants to come back. The house down the street sold yesterday at a 250thousand loss!! We just might scrap the whole idea. We don't have to sell and won't give it away. Feeling very depressed tonight. One of my very best friends is moving in 2 weeks to CA. That is on the opposite side of the country for us. I don't know what I am going to do without her. I am going to be like a rudderless boat. My depression is growing daily and I feel like I have had the worst few months of my life. God help me, but I just want to go to sleep and when I wake up, pretend that it is a dream. Got to laugh ; mom wants to know what is wrong. After the Thanksgiving fiasco( pooped, pooped and pooped some more), I just feel like getting on a plane for TX to go see my daughter! Can't wait till Christmas when she comes home. That will be the best medicine for me. Sorry to go on, but not a good night. Hope yours is better.
Linda
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Linny, my mother-in-law used to say to her three boys 'when you think it's time for me to move out of my house just tell me' we knew absolutely that she did not want to move, nor WOULD she move. We waited for the timing to be right, and with much prayer and her breaking her hip we got a break (no pun intended). When she went into the nursing home for rehab, they did an evaluation on her and all four of the professionals agreed unanimously that she could never live alone again. She cried for days then picked her face up off the ground and said OK. After she was moved into an asst. living place she would still cry and beg us to let her go 'home'. Eventually it was, 'I wish I could go home' and it's less often now. We all agreed with her, we wished her eyes, body, and mind hadn't given out on her. We wished she could go back home, back to all her memories in her little house. But when she and I talk about it, she wishes for a time machine to go back in time to a happier place. It's NOT really her house she misses. The point is, none of us wanted to be the ones that made her move. We let the professionals make that decision.
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Oh Linny,
What a long road ahead. You will have to talk to the doctor, and maybe multiple doctors. Someone has to step in and take charge here. It is very difficult and uncomfortable, but the bottom line is their safety. My Mother had these symptoms for several years before we were able to do anything about it, because she fought us every step of the way, and is still fighting even though she is in assisted living now. It took a long time to get her there, but it is the best thing for her. It will take a concerted effort by you, or someone in your family to start planning for what is ahead, meaning power of attorney or guardianship. When our loved ones get to the point where they can no longer make decisions about their well being, someone has to. And yes, you may be the bad guy, as I am, but I know I am doing the best thing. How is he handling his finances? Are his bills overdue? Are telemarketers targeting him?
My Mother put on the big act too, but when we got her doctor to recommend a "senior evaluation" for two weeks away, they determined that she absolutely could not live alone. You Father may need an evlauation, and that way it's not you, but the doctor.
Document his behavior daily and try to stay calm above all else. Step in and take care of bills, etc. if you see the need. He may not like it and think you are stealing, but you have to do what is best in his best interest. Look for a geriatric doctor in your area. I hope I have helped you.
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My father lives alone in the 2-storey, 3 bedroom house we grew up in, despite my pleas to sell and take an apartment. He's recently also begun misplacing things and accusing "someone with a key" (my husband or me) of going through his garbage and putting back things he threw out! You're right about a lack of rationality - when I asked what was more likely, that he only thought he threw them out and didn't, or that someone really went through his trash, he started screaming at me that he knew what he'd done with it. He's also "lost" a coat, yard tools, a watch, and other things, and believes someone took them. His doctor thinks he's fine, because he puts on a big act when we go. Any suggestions?
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We do need to turn over our concerns over to God. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with Thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God-Phillippians 4: 6-7 I try to do that when I have worrys.
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Thank you, dear Lovingdaughter. God bless you. Hope all's well with you, too. How's the sale going?
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Sister,
I have been thinking of you lately. Hope all goes well. You have been through so much. Prayers and best wishes coming your way!
Linda
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My mom just asked me where her sweaters were? She thinks that I am giving her things away!!!!!!! Thanksgiving was a bust. She had diarrhea for 6 hours.!! Go figure. Hope this week is better.
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Turning over is hard to do when it's "your baby."

Just got a call from another attorney...who had been on vacation. (I had called him weeks ago...) He not only listened, but gave me hope. Will look forward to my appt. with him on Thursday. And I will put my fears to rest for the next two nights. Eleventh hour miracle??? No matter. In God we trust.

Meanwhile, wonder what Mom is imagining I've done lately... (Almost funny.) Not!
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A great "oneliner" spiritual tip I heard once to "turn over" an unwieldy situation this. "I pray for divine intervention for understanding," knowing it could be YOU who gets the understanding...or all concerned.
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Congratulations, Naheaton! Seems you found the key to this whole thing: asking God to help! And seems like He's answered your prayer, too. Thanks for sharing your report. What an inspiration to hear you asked for an attitude adjustment. You were very humble to ask for it to be yours. I perfectly understand your "gritted teeth" comment.

I really relate to the need for depressurizing after an encounter. We have been trying to do so for 50+ years, now. The only problem is, it has worked against us, not in our favor. Our family taught us some really horrendous habits as vices, and we knew no better than to follow suit. But thanks be to God, along the way, we learned some things, and God kept us from total destruction.

Some of my vices of the past I dare not even mention. I graduated to less damaging means of coping, thankfully. Good and Plentys became a recent favorite, but even they bring little comfort, now. I do still enjoy my coffee, but have switched from sugar to honey in the cup. However, this has little influence over the damage created by the emotional effects relating to an emotionally unstable individual. I still need to depressurize from the effects of a horrible situation that only seems to be growing worse. I think it's reaching it's Zenith, and I think it will be to my detriment this time, unable to change it's course.

I haven't seen it until recently, but Mom has magnified her mistrust of me to an accelerated level. She is convinced that I have committed all kinds of evil against her, and she has a lot of other people convinced as well. She has fanned her paranoia and imaginations to the point of believing that anything we've done for her was against her best interests. To her, it has gone beyond the realm of slight, into the areas of calculation; even provocation. Much to my utter dismay, I marvel how her perceptions can be so convoluted and twisted. Though in her mind, they're real.

We have done everything we can think of to appease mom, woo her, or appeal with reason. She understands none of this. We have found the saying is true: one cannot reason with an unreasonable person. Good and Plentys no longer salve my distress, so I have abandoned them, (but not forsaken) and question all my other coping strategies, as well. To tell you the truth, I struggle greatly in my prayer life, wondering how oppression has become so pervasive.

I think my Mom and I are at a place where there is nothing left save the Lord's intervention. We are literally praying for a modern day miracle, because it is the eleventh hour, and it is beyond our human ability to change anything. I sometimes feel as though I'm trapped behind the Jericho wall, with the trumpets ready to sound.

I feel crushed by the weight of her vindictive accusations and actions. As children, my sister and I were told that we were "the problem." Even in Kindergarten, teachers noticed something amiss, but mother cleverly hauled ME off to a Psychologist to correct "the problem." My sister tried coping by sniffing gasoline, elicit activity, etc., and needing serious counseling during her college years. Her way of escape was to join the army, rather than go back for more abuse. Me? I just went from one abusive situation to another, and kept returning for more... Sis has since learned the art of appeasing mother, and has been vindicated. Her goal? The takeover of coveted material possessions and family heirlooms; the only thing left of the family's bargaining power. She has turned against me, as well, to maintain her position as being the "non-traitorous" offspring, and her covetous son has joined her in waiting to gather in the spoils of victory.

A prudent person foresees evil, and hides himself; but the simple pass on, and are punished. Silly me. I have been diligently working to help my parents for the past two years. Once in great amount of debt, and even health danger, through help, they could now live out their final days relatively free of worry, and even in comfort. But that will not be the case. A family acquaintance told us a while back, "Your mother is going to ruin everything." We see that happening right before our eyes. Unfortunately, she wants to punish me. I have never met a more vindictive person in my life.

I pray often for the Lord to change my attitude, and try to practice forgiveness. Now I'm wondering if I misinterpreted my acts of kindness for stupidity. My enemy was hungry, and I tried to feed her. She was thirsty, and I gave her something to quench her thirst. I tried to overcome evil by doing good. These only serve to enrage her more, because she hates the heaping of coals of fire upon her head. It seems the more I do to help, the more she hates me.

I've been accused of "taking" things from mother all my life, including her "honour" and dignity. Now she's using Scripture and her church and Pastor against me, telling lies about things I've "said," or done, and convincing others that her accusations are truth. My husband said she taught me to feel guilty, even when I'm not. I told him she also taught me fear.

I've been trying to appease her to the detriment of my own well-being. Mom gladly accepts my offers, demanding more. She is now using the court system to exact greater riches for herself, at my expense. And who would believe Chicken Little saying anything to the contrary? Mom convinced Dad long ago that we were "horrible, rotten children," and even when we called him at work during her "corrective punishment sessions," he'd hang up the phone, literally abandoning us. Mom has Physicians, Psychiatrists, Reverends, and Lawyers convinced she has been wronged by me; that they need to rescue her from my clutches. Never mind that she has held my husband and son and me hostage for the past two years, as spent our energies, talents, and personal finances trying to help our needy loved one. Never mind we sacrificed jobs and income, and precious family togetherness, only to be accused of "neglecting" her, and not meeting her needs.

I have sought help from the community, calling every resource imaginable, following every lead and trail, only to be slapped down by an unjust system to "protect" Mom from "someone like me." Instead of helping, Mom dismissed them, as me, and turned back against me for saying she needed help.

I'm waiting for the ultimate accusation: by cleaning their home of accumulated garbage (after years of compulsive shopping, and impulsive purchases), will be "charged," with "stealing" her precious substance. We tossed broken, useless items in an effort to make her home saleable, to salvage what we could financially, for her future needs. Our good deeds will not go unpunished, and others will reap where they have not sown. Misunderstandings have led to her accusations. We do not want to give any more occasion to maliciously flapping gums. At this point, it is difficult to extricate ourselves from this situation. How does one graciously bow out??? I am her legal Guardian, awaiting Probate takeover. And whom do you think they believe? I pray for God's mercy and grace; without which, I undoubtly will perish before Mom's supporters, and appointed tribunal.

I probably don't need to tell you readers, that it is imperative to watch everything you do, and be careful of everything you say. One never knows what can be used against them, even an innocent comment or remark. As we were warned, and I have learned the hard way, "Avoid Probate at all costs!!!" I now understand the meaning of that admonition, much too late. We were asked to step in and "help," which we did so willingly. In retrospect, I'm wondering how much help we actually gave. I fear the court will "help" Mom by taking her remaining assets, as they pay someone else to manage them for her. They will take care of her at her expense, not theirs. And she will wonder what has occured.

Will she ever see our efforts as helpful? Doesn't matter. I stand before God, who is my ultimate judge. It is the eleventh hour. Am I being overly dramatic? I hope so. But my heart grieves reading about the convulted charges against me, by strangers who only recently met Mom (and don't see the schemes); and by my own sister, who has done so very little to "help" our mother. I have watched her help herself to car loads of antiques and possessions, and felt the sting of her anger against me for opposing her efforts to avail herself of more.

We are praying for a miracle. I don't expect Mom to suddenly have a change of heart or revelation, but I do expect God to answer prayer. Where doors have closed, I'm praying for the opening of windows. My faith is small, and my energy spent. am weary of my groaning. I am tired of hurting. Will you pray along with me? Please forvige my vent. Thank you.
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Ginger snaps are my weakness...my salvation. The ones from Trader Joe's...triple ginger. Think I need one right now. Medicinal, ya know...
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I was all geared up tonight to talk to her about how this talk of her things being stolen was causing me to rethink coming to see her. I sat in the parking lot of her place and prayed hard. I asked the Lord to give me an attitude adjustment, then gritted my teeth and went in. She NEVER said a word about the missing stuff. ha. We did talk about her eye glasses that are supposedly not hers, but I got off pretty easy this time. We actually had a nice time running around and then eating dinner together. Usually I have to hit a soda fountain (Pepsi always) after I've been with her. It's my only vice to de-pressurize after spending too much time with her. But tonight I didn't need to have the Pepsi. But there are times I think I should just have Pepsi fed intravenously and be done with it.
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Our story is one of a nightmare gone bad, from a mother who has people believing her lies and accusations. How does one defend what's not observable? It renders the truth powerless, and the Caregivers become suspect. Even with known mental illness, the elder is believed, and the targeted scapegoat becomes fodder for the system. (Should have learned this lesson 50+ years ago...)
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Make a little shelf liner map of the things, perhaps even photo of them, like guys do for tools in their workshop. Then the comb is placed right over the photo of it. Tape note reminder to caregivers to replace items on top of its photo. It must be hard when your universe is distilled to brush, comb, a few photos, toothbrush.

Samuel Beckett wrote a whole novel about a bedbound old man whose only possession seemed to be a pencil and notepad. The old guy wrote a story, jumping into the reality of it (taking us with him). This was the bulk of the novel, but occasionally he'd write about food being left for him, and how he had to sharpen his pencil with his fingernail. His only pencil, getting shorter and shorter. Then the book ends. ACK...did he die? or lose his pencil? "Malone Dies."

Actually, you'll find a lot of meaning for caregivers in the works of Beckett. In the novel "Murphy," Murphy escapes those who are clinging to him by getting a night shift in a looney bin. Whenever he could, he'd go into Mr. Zero's room and look deep into his endless eyes. In the play "Endgame" two disabled characters are needy of each other to live, struggle to get away, but can't won't. Lots of implications for living with Alzheimer's person, and finding life where others may not...

Well, sort of veered away from lost items...the pencil of Malone...
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Sounds familiar, my mother's boyfriend who was in his early 90's and had Dementia that got progressively worse would accuse me and my mother and the assisted living workers of stealing. Mom and I told him to calm down and make a list of the things that were missing, of course he couldn't remember all of them, then we tried to help him find the things that were missing and found that the assisted living workers were putting things back in different places every time they came in to help him. As his eyesight was not good, it was hard for him to find things, so we talked to the assisted living workers to have them put things back in the same place every time. This worked for a while, but the workers were not always the same people, so the message did not always get around, and then he got so that he didn't want to let any workers in at all to help him because he was so concerned that they were going to steal his things, even tried to call the Sheriff. After this they moved him to an Alzheimers unit and his things were pared down in a smaller space and organized better so he could find things more easily and we had no more trouble with this issue. When a person has dementia, they can't understand that it might be them that misplaced items, so they blame it on somebody else.
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naheaton...wow you got a "gold award" for getting clarity on this and having MIL admit the problem, at least for today. Would other problems resolve like this!
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We had the regular care conference last week in her apartment. When asked by the gal in charge, who is really nice and most accommodating if she had any complaints, my MIL says 'no, every thing's fine' I said, No, it's not and told them what she's been saying about the stealing. MIL was mad at me for saying anything, but then went on and did admit she thinks people are stealing from her. I said, 'Ok let's see if that's true'. I asked her what is missing, and she gave me a list of things. I told the visitor to sit and finish the appointment while I found the stuff that was 'stolen'. As they talked, I found EVERY one of the things that MIL said were missing, and laid them on her table in front of her. My mother-in-law says, 'well of course you found them, that's where I hid them'. So believe me, they know at the living asst. place about what's going on. I tell them not to take it personally, I know that there are people who steal from old people, but not where she's living. Last week in a moment of clarity, my MIL and I were out driving and she turned to me and said 'I don't think people are really stealing. I think that I'm hiding my stuff and not remembering that I did. Am I right?' And I told her, yes you're right. And she said, ' I hate losing my memory like this. I used to have such a good memory'. She was a legal secretary for 40 years, and losing her memory is terrible. I was sad, and I told her so.
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Perhaps you could have her help you look for them in her room.
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Hi-I think you have had some great replys to your question-I also experience this, and had to handle matters best I could. Your Mom-may hide things from others, but unfortunately she also hides them from herself. Yes she may become accusatory, but this is probably part of her illness. Have you been in contact with her physician or neurologist about this type of behavor? They may also offer some suggestions on a professional level. If possible, try NOT to 'beat yourself up' over this- it is not your fault. For many of us, the tables have been turned, as we become like the parent, and they the child. This is a great website to vent, and also to get feedback from others who have walked in your shoes. Good luck on your caregiver journey.
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I am experiencing the exact same thing with my mother, except it's with us. She always blames the kids or my husband and at times is even angry with me. She has a habit of hiding things in her rooms because of her extreme suspicious nature. She was not like this in her pre-alzheimer years, so I have to remember it's just the disease. It's extremely difficult, believe me, to keep calm because it's hard seeing your kids blamed for something they didn't do. I don't handle it well all the time, but the majority I just acknowledge how frustrating it is and that I'll help her try to figure out what's going on. She doesn't remember that I tell her that, but it puts me in a position of being someone she trusts and feels like she can talk to about it. People with alzheimers very often feel very alone with their thoughts and confusion. If they feel like everyone is out to get them, like they very often do, their final years are miserable. You can be the one person she trusts if you sympathize with her and just keep telling yourself - it's not her, it's the disease.
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AlzCaregiver, Is there a reason for your attitude? Set up camera of one looking for things and finding them? Anyone can make a video so what does that prove? Certainly not evidence. It is a good thing that there is A.P.S. and police because a lot of seniors do get mistreated and there are Docters and Medical Records to clear up these situations. And, Why the comment about deadbeat siblings? In their defense, there are some who live to far away, have to hold down 2 jobs just to take care of their families, have physical or mental problems, are just to weak, I could go on and on. And NO I am not your deadbeat sibling. I take care of my mother who has alzheimers/dementia. My dad is deceased. My youngest brother is schitzphranic and my other brother can`t seem to get past his shame and denial or maybe just doesn`t know what to do. Sometime I feel resentment toward him, other times I just feel sorry for him because I know he has his reasons for being the way he is. I help my youngest brother as much as I can as he has spent most of his life living with my mother and is so scared now that she is sick. Mom, Well, amongst other things she sees people that are not real, she threatens to call the police on me, she hides things and accuses me of stealing them, she tells me how bad I am, etc. etc. Sometime I feel mad, sometime sad, sometime I even cry, but she is my Mom so I bite my tongue, kiss her on the forehead, tell her I love her, walk away and take a few deep breaths and usually when I walk back to her, she has already forgotten and all is okay till the next time. I do not know what will be next but I do know that a bad attitude won`t help any. God Bless You AlzCaregiver, and Bless this website !!
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Something that use to help me when I was a nurse if someone-an eldery pt. would ask a question repeadely like what time is it I would in turn ask them the question back and very often they would give the correct time. They very often lose track of time or think 5 mins is really an hour and if they can read a clock having a large one on their wall that they can see easily might help a lot.
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Read some of the recent Q/As about parents hurling accusations about their caregivers. Some sympathetic person hears her complaints, believes her, and next thing you know you have Adult Protective Services and police involved. I know because of so many instances of actual thefts against seniors, probably unreported, that the law will bend over backwards to believe the senior, and you (or whomever) is presumed guilty. Start filming these episodes with your mom, even with your cellphone (video flipcams are so cheap right now, also!)...the accusations, then set up camera of you looking for items, then finding them. Three or four filmed episodes might help soften the blow at the accused. (This isn't to prove to your mother that she is making things up...she'll probably not realize the reality of filmed evidence.)

Obviously, she is nearing or at the point where she should not be living alone. If she's unhinged in this area, she's probably not operating at full capacity in others as well. Leaves burners on? Wanders?

And this... "I am seriously considering telling my mother-in-law that I will not be seeing her as much if I have to listen to the constant litany about how the people where she's living are stealing from her"... won't do any good. She won't remember what you said. She can't help herself. (On the other hand, I've been able to replace Mom's lintpicking OCD with some other activity, an one day she forgot her obsession with lint.)

At this point, you are at crossroads. Just read a quote in a newspaper letters-to-the-editor today:

"Character is who you are when it is inconvenient."

See all the longterm caregivers with deadbeat siblings nodding their heads... yes yes. Your mother-in-law is now someone who needs caring for, looking after...a lot, and for the rest of her life (unless meds can handle the hallucinations...or less meds, perhaps this is a drug interaction problem). You can always hope it's that simple.
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It's her memory and frustrating as it is, she likely won't remember any better when you tell her you won't see her. She'll just feel bad and so will you. She can't find thngs so her "logic" tells her someone took it.

Distracting her and moving on are your best tools. As Lilliput
says, tuning that out and moving on to some other subject will work as well as anything. I know it's hard but she's responding to what her brain tells her.

Keep coming back and reading other's stories. You aren't alone.
Carol
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