My Mother has dementia and constantly says someone is stealing her belongings. She also says that she was recently raped in her home. Is this normal?

Asked by
Answers 1 to 10 of 18
I don't know about the rape thing, but people stealing from her is what my mother-in-law thinks all the time. She lives in an asst. living place, with wonderful people to help her. But she misplaces things, or outright hides them, so she thinks when she can't find them that they've been stolen. Could be living alone may not be the best idea anymore for her soundness of mind.
Top Answer
CJM: I see that your mother is in an 'independent living facility' It sounds like she needs more supervision and structure (and safety) now. It could be the isolation that is affecting her more, and she is hallucinating, or the medications she is (or isn't) on that are causing more harm than good. Talk to the facility manager and discuss moving her to a more 'secure' wing.

It is VERY that someone could 'abuse' her if she is unable to defend herself. Without surveillance cameras, one would never know unless you 'lived' right next to her.

Saying that she is being violated (raped) may be a cry for more help, which is what she most likely needs.

There are many 'manifestations' of dementia. Read as much as you can, and you will better prepared to handle each challenge as it comes.
My mom never said rape, but she has been swept out to sea, lost for days, and other stories with her as the victim. I agree it is a cry for help. Since I moved her in with me they have slowed down, but something tragic always happens if I can't be with her for a few hours and someone else is watching her. They are always blamed for losing her, making her saty outside etc. Think its just part of the desease. Good luck
Hi CJM~I do think your Mom who is independent living-perhaps needs to be re-evaluated for her own safety-as she may be best off in an Alz Unit. Her hallusinations can be possibly controled thru medication. As for being violated - this could possibly be just another of her hallusinations.
If possible, try to get involved in a support group, and see if this is any value in accessing your particular situation with your Mom. I would also speak with her neurologist for another opinion.
Best to you and your family on this journey~
I would ask her doctor to take a look at her medications. My father (living at home) started thinking a man was sneaking into my mother's room for trysts every night. He claims he even saw him various times. My mother and I were very worried he would accidentally harm her thinking it was "the other man" or purposely harm her. Very trying couple of weeks. His medications were too high. It may be as simple as that.

Our doctor did say that his hallucinations were based in truths or fears and that's how they were manifesting. You're mother may have had a traumatic event years ago and now she's reliving it because of the meds.

I would also look into the possibility of someone stealing or mistreating her. Talk with someone at the facility if for no other reason to bring it to their attention. I'm hoping it's a medication problem. Best to you and your family.
Stealing items is very common. As for the rape, you must realize these people live in the past alot of times. Maybe your mother was raped when she was younger. In those days they hid such a thing. Find someone who can work with her about this. It's called validating. Being an Ombusdman I see similar things often. Don't be quick to medicate, seek other help first. Validating takes sometimes hours or even days but if she truely has been raped in the past it is well worth it.
All of the above are great insight. It sound like she is in a good facility and they look out for her but it may be that she is at the point where her dementia has the upper hand.

My mom is IL and in her 90's and the signs are there that she needs to move to a different level of care. If you can, keep a journal of her "incidents" as this will be good to have for your opinion & insight to share with her MD and social workers, etc. when she get assessed.

Just like your mom, mine is "robbed" on a regular basis. IL is used to this and seem to take it as a part of her aging process as she is "competent and cognizant" for day to day activity: she can get dressed, make breakfast, go on shopping trips, etc. As long as she takes her medication, she seems really OK. She evaluates really well and can be quite lucid and sharp so she gets cleared for IL. But it is really good acting - she tends towards the dramatic martyr personality type. If you chatted with her for a couple of minutes, all is well but if you go beyond that it is paranoia, "people wanting to assume her identity",
"people using her apt as an office", "people putting clothes in
her drawers" (all clothes that she used to wear when she was a size 8, she's a 4 now), "people trying to poison her" .

Her next evaluation is in Dec and I'm documenting the above plus her "robberies", "animal appearances", etc. as I think she needs to move to another level.

The rape is kinda a different issue because I'm sure that has her very, very anxious but it has legal aspects too. Did her IL file an incident report on it as rape is a felony. If she reported it to them, what did they do? If it was that she just told you and family, then it's different.

Chances are if she claims rape once, then it will happen again and again. You need to know how they evaluate this. My mom
filed 2 police reports on her "robberies" - remember this is IL
so in theory they are free to do as they like - and this will show
up on the facilities safety/security log. Local police came to her apt, had to do a report as she had called them. She got a letter as did all the other residents from management on "security issues" & we got a letter detailing all the security they have in place. She doesn't remember either police visit.

I will say that I think her IL wants to keep them there as long as this is more profitable as it is 100% private pay and AL and SNF is medicaid (state has a diversionary program for AL). So unless they are doing stuff that's really wacky they stay in IL.

Like 3rd coast said the dementia is based on their fears and
true experiences. All this old, old stuff that has been repressed starts surfacing. I find that keeping a journal on what she says
so helpful as you can start to see patterns and can be somewhat ready for the event.

I know with my mom, she will filter current events to something that is going to rob or poison her. Right now there has been a shutdown in Texas on a produce facility -it is probably the main news story (I live in another state). I can safely predict that in the next few days she will tell me that someone is trying to poison her, that something was wrong with the salad at lunch and they forced her to eat it.

Good luck and try to enjoy the weekend!

Also check to see what she is watching on TV. The power of suggestion gets stronger with the elderly....that's why it's so easy for criminals to prey on them.
My mother "had a period" at the age of 87 & most recently (after watching dr oz on TV) "almost bled to death" from her rectum....A colonoscopy followed to reveal nothing more than a waste of time, but you must jump through the hoops on the off chance that the concern is real.
It's crazy but HAS TO be investigated.
I agree with all of the above statements. But I would like to add that it might not hurt to actually have her check out to make sure that she is not being raped. To be on the safe side.
Oh you poor dear. This is hard for you I am sure. Everyone has different experiences with dementia. Tragically delusions, paranoia and hallucinations are behaviors some individuals have. This is a time when you really need to see a specialist and have medication management - a neuro psychiatrist would be my first recommendation followed by a neuologist.


Share your answer

Please enter your Answer

Ask a Question

Reach thousands of elder care experts and family caregivers
Get answers in 10 minutes or less
Receive personalized caregiving advice and support