What do you say when your mom declares someone is stealing her things like money, pills, etc.?

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my mom is sure that we are stealing her money, not giving her meds, and rearranging her room, nothing I say helps, makes me frustrated

Answers 1 to 10 of 23
My mother has accused others of taking things off-and-on for as long as I can remember. It's escalated now that she's in her 80's and her memory is slipping, but that doesn't make it any less frustrating.

I've found that the one thing I must not do is to try to defend myself or others. That only seems to prove guilt in her eyes. With that option eliminated, there only seems to be two left... either to ignore her, or to try and figure out where she's put the things she says have disappeared. It's difficult to say nothing when you're being accused of something you know you didn't do, but sometimes it's best to remain silent since anything you say can and will be used against you. :)

The other choice is to try to figure out what's she's doing with the things she claims are missing. I've found her checkbook hidden in an end table drawer and her pills in the Kleenex box. Of course you can't locate things that may have not been there to begin with—my mother is constantly thinking she's missing things she never had, or got rid of years ago. Basically you just have to play detective and try not to take the accusations to heart, if you can. I wish you luck!
Top Answer
"Oh, Mom, I'm so sorry that your pretty reading glasses aren't where you think they should be. That is so frustating, isn't it? I don't think I've moved them, but if I did it was an accident. Let me help you search for them. If we can't find them today, I hope you can get by with this older pair until we can go shopping for a nice replacement."

That's what I'd say, when I could get past my own frustration.

Paula's experience is worth listening to. It doesn't help to get defensive, and the focus should be on solving the problem and ignoring the blame part of Mother's message.

This may become a little bit easier once you learn your mother's favorie hiding places. If small objects ususally migrate to the vegetable drawer in the fridge, that saves a lot of search time! :-D

This loss-and-accusation behavior is so very common among persons with dementia, Alzeheimer's particualrly, that much advice has been written for dealing with it. You might get some good ideas from a book by Jolene Brackey called "Creating Moments of Joy."

Good luck!
I suggested that maybe someone just "borrowed" whatever the item is...she seemed to be ok with that
I have the opposite problem most of the time: my aunt does actually take other peoples' things, then gets furious if someone tries to 'steal' them from her. (I slip them away when she's not paying attention and return them to the owner. My aunt never remembers having them at all). But as for people taking her stuff - yes, she does believe that from time to time. She even remembers a man who came in her room and took her candy or glasses or whatever. I tell her not to worry, I'll get them back as soon as I have a chance. I say it soothingly, then tell her it's time for Gunsmoke or Wheel of Fortune -- and she forgets. You have that on your side, you know. They forget.
For a time, my aunt was going through my desk, taking any envelope that had her name on it. A lot of bills didn't get paid or got paid with penalties! So I got a small safe to keep her bills in --- and she stole the safe! I found it one day under her bed, with a butter knife next to it.
I guess my advice is not to get offended, not to get defensive. You've already learned that doesn't work. Reasoning, arguing, explaining don't work. The deeply forget simply can't follow that kind of thinking. Just promise to take care of it. "Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not get bent out of shape."
this is part of the off shoots of the disease-suspicion and paranoia and they can be quite convincing. Menos daughter.
How timely. I posed a similar question awhile ago and sadly the accusatory behavior has returned in force! My mom lives in Assisted Living and I see her every Sat. She calls me during the week to tell me about random things that have been taken from her, I try to reassure her we will get to the bottom of it when I come over. At one point she was very irate, and seems focused on one particular person (at this time) and I became very worried that she would confront this person of taking her cough drops (sigh) and bottle of water. My mother has been known to call the police about things being "stolen" in the past and was actually close to being evicted from her last apt. because of the accusatory behavior. So when she started telling me she would go "talk" to the woman I became panicked and me and mom got into an argument. The only thing accomplished was we were both hurt and upset with each other. My mother finally decided she could trust me to talk to the lady. I don't know, some days it's easier to ignore the blame game (I am now on the recieving end) and at times I just have to choose how long my visits with my mother will last depending on my patience and tolerance levels. I try to take a lot of deep breaths and breaks (Oh, I forgot something in my car) or I will try to distract her (seldom works with her but I try). I try to remind myself that it will pass and I try (if possible) to obtain the items she has lost or hidden.
menos daughter. Hoarding, stealing, hiding, accusations, suspicions, paranoia are all symptoms of this dreadful disease. I believe every professional caregiver could share a story that they have been accused of taking things...It does happen. but not combs or shampoo. lOL. Meno has his treasure box I allow him to take for his studies every 3rd week and I made him a matt for his dresser with an outline for his comb his brush his cologne, his circle and he knows if something is missing-just a thought.
Menos daughter! The mat with outlines -- brilliant!
My mom thought i was spending her money esp when something came from j.c. penny like i closed the account, i can't remember. Or, i bought her something and used her jcp charge card; she also thought that my sister, who my mom was living with at the time, was taking her money; accused sister of taking her silver and some other things in storage and the list goes on. that phase did pass. i showed my mom her bankrecords every month and what was spent.
Menos daughter, I too like the idea of a mat with outlines! I'm not to that point with my mom, but she is a hoarder supreme and when a friend and I tried to help her clean house she kept saying that she worried he had thrown out magazines, etc. that she wanted. I told her that I hoped that he wouldn't do that, but said the truth that I hadn't seen him do it and that I didn't do it. It may be my perception of things, but I believe that she's afraid to say that she includes me in the accusations. But, when I asked her she said 'no,' and I want to give her the benefit of the doubt that she truly finds me innocent. Although, I admit to wanting to throw a lot of magazines, old paperwork, etc. away I don't feel right in doing such without asking how she would feel if I did.

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