My mother thinks there is someone in the house stealing all her things

This discussion has been closed for comment. Start a New Discussion.
Find Care & Housing


If she lives alone and thinks someone is stealing, do you know what she thinks may be missing? One thing that helps in addition to medical evaluation is to observe your mother's daily habits and patterns. She may be forgetting where she puts things, or that she moves them around. She may be hiding things because she has started thinking that she wants to "protect" them from someone stealing them. It may also be her wanting control over her personal belongings, then forgetting what she has done. Of course, there is also a possibility that someone may be stealing from her, but it will take some troubleshooting, including direct observation on your part to get a handle on what is really happening to your mother.

Also, if something happened recently that confused her, or spooked her, she may be hiding her personal effects. Hope you are able to figure out what's going on with your mother. It can be very frustrating, I know.

It sounds like your mother lives alone, and from all that I have studied and read, this is one of the first signs of dementia or other mental issues.

If you can, spend some time with her at her house, and see what/when the problems occur.

Paranoia develops when a person's sense of reality is altered. I'm sure you can remember opening a drawer looking ofr an item that we KNOW we put in there, only to find it gone. If this sort of thing happens to someone several times a day, the person will most likely make an attempt to provide an explanation for it. Paranoia and suspicion go hand in hand. "Someone is stealing all my stuff" explains why they cannot find items. There have even been cases where elders have given away items, only to claim later that they were stolen by the recipients! Even with family members! In my case, I sent a THANK YOU note with a picture of the item to Mom so she can 'remember that she gave that item to me 'back in May' or whenever!

Again... more information about your situation would be helpful. Also have a down to earth conversation with Mom and her doctor about a medical cause. Please be gentle with your suggestions, and make sure that she understands that you are there to help, not accuse. Try not to relate the doctor visit to the 'disappearance' of the items in her house. This is not necessary and will only push her away. Start making plans now to help!

Why don't you suggest that she move in with you or another sibling so she will be safe.

We're going to have to have more info for anyone to help you. Does mom live alone? Does she have mental issues? How old is she? things like that would be helpful.