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mother is 98+ and lives in an assisted living facility. She's convinced people are talking about her and things are missing and they want her out of the facility...I've tried to convince her she's mistaken but I'm exhausted going round and round..

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What is causing this illness? Why has no one found a cure? Is it because it is an old person's illness and it is not important? I hate this illness as I know many of you do. We are helpless and they end up in a secure living facility in the end...It is very very sad.
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My mother is convinced someone steals her buckets from the shed???? She goes through stages, this one is the bucket stage, the last one was lids for saucepans that were being taken?I go along with it because I cant reason with her, I hate this illness!!!
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I love this....My partner and I cared for his brother in law and so at the same time, I volunteered in the Memory Care Unit. I could write a book on the funny things people do. I was corrected for laughing about one instance. But, I am sorry, when this happens, you have to go into their world and not put them down, but play along a bit. It always worked. I had one guy ask me why the cab had not come yet to take him to the airport. He whipped out his wallet and said, Look, I have the money, just get that cab here, I am going to miss my flight. Now how do you get through this without a smile...?? I loved working with all of these people..They are so loving and really believe what they are saying. Why would I fight with their reasoning. Just go with it...

Now it is my partner and he has not been diagnosed yet But, he plays with the blanket, reaches for things, tries to move his hands all over the sheets looking for the food for the dog etc. I see his doctor this week. Problem is: I cannot have a decent discussion with the doctor as my partner is sitting right there. Any ideas on how you discuss things in front of the person you are talking about??
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I use the homeopathic remedy Arsenicum Album. It takes the craziness down a few notches, and sometimes even brings her out of it. I like to give it at 5pm, to head off the Sundowners.
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My mother-in-law has become so paranoid. She too thinks someone is coming in her house moving things though nothing is missing. When something comes up missing we look everywhere but never find it, a few days later it show up in her bedroom and she always says "those people" coming into her house while she is gone must have done it, though she's usually home most of the time these things happen. What's frustrating is she accuses her son of having a key and thinks he comes in and moves "stuff" and takes things, when only the middle child who takes care of her has a key. She won't give one to the other 2 children or grandchildren. I pray that nothing happens to her while the daughter with the only key is out of town. She is so paranoid and sure that "people" are coming into her house that she bought expensive 4 camera system that she had set up throughout her condo. She used to put a broom across the door to the garage until I pointed out if someone really wanted to come in that door a little broom wasn't going to stop them. Tried to convince her no one could get in anyway because it's an electric door that changes the code every time it's opened and closed. She now has a dead bolt on all doors. Is there no medication to lessen the paranoia without turning a loved one into a zombie? Government needs to really push for a cure or better meds for Alzheimer/Dementia patients, the statistics on the number of new case of Dementia are increasing at an alarming rate each year.
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It's still early enough in my husband's disease that I can say the cat took it. He sort of accepts it. (sort of gets mad.) But logic can't help. geedeeooo is right to tell her mom that the intruder is gone now, not that there is no intruder. You have to deal with their reality, not yours.
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Oh my goodness. Some of this is just hilarious. And so terribly sad. ..My dad is the same way. He's always fussing around with stuff, moving things from place to place in the house, but never knows that he ever moved them at all, much less where. And of course he always claims that it wasn't him..., he never touched it, someone else must have taken it. Well he lives alone, and no one else is ever in his house, except me. (So his emphasis on the word "someone" only means that I must have stolen it.) I got so fed up with denying that I took his stuff, that I've started saying "It must have been the fairies, because I DID NOT TAKE IT". At least he still has enough functioning grey matter to realize that I'm being facetious. But that just means that the argument keeps going on and on...
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continue to reassure that she is safe, that she will be included in family events, is she past the remembering? there are a number of ways to reflect with her about the past in a way that is to distract her or minimize these fears- photos are a very useful technique
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My mom gets scared a lot. I just try to reassure her that she is safe, that only her husband and I are in the house with her and we will take care of everything. When she talks about those boys trying to get her we tell her that they went home already. Or if those people are doing something nasty we tell her that we will stay here and let them stay away from us and take care of their own business. The worst for my mom is bathing. I try to do what the communication advice says, look her in the eye, say her name, get her attention and reassure her. My mom is past the stage where she says that those girls are coming in her house and taking her things. I guess what ever it is that infuriates us about this disease is eventually going to be something that the loved one won't even have enough left in them to do. I'm still learning everything as it comes, I've never experienced anything like this before, I don't even have kids. I have heard that the person with ALZ eventually does nothing at all before the end. I guess having all the combativeness and paranoia, etc. are better than having nothing at all?
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This forum is such a challenge.
What an outlet for families & workers both
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Lori1943....your reply hit home sooo much....the issue now is I've stolen from her and written checks and signed her name to them...she's accused me of cheating her 'from day 1'....Let me say, I've been the only child with her since day 1...as primary caregiver I have a sister whom no one has seen in 40 years..and a brother who lives 4 hours away and make a monthly phone call and she's happy as a lark with that...I've stopped being there for her, stopped calling nightly and have started to take my life and family back....she will tell anyone who will listen how I've stolen from her...she'll be 99 next week and she needs much help but my sanity is suffering and I can be abused anymore...I've recently been diagnosed with another autoimmune disease and stress does play a part so I've kept my distance...she' NEVER wrong, and NEVER makes a mistake so there she sits and tells my daughter I've LEFT her..!! and she has no family...she doesn't get it..she's alienating us all...
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Nancy H., I laughed out loud at your "Just kill me now" comment--because that's how I feel all the time. I have a friend my age who is also dealing with a mom with dementia, and we fantasize about just driving off a cliff together like Thelma and Louise. My very elderly mother also thinks people are breaking in and stealing her things--and sometimes they break in and leave things, but then they break in again and take them back! I've also noticed that these "stolen" items end up deliberately hidden somewhere when she finds them--she does not want to admit she was wrong about them being stolen, and is very, very sneaky. Recently she has been taking some kind of demented "inventory" of her stuff, pulling out boxes of things that have been stored or emptying the contents of drawers and sorting through the stuff. She also has occasional distortions of perception. Today she wanted me to look at her tv, which she said "isn't working right." It seemed fine to me so I asked her what she meant. She said -- wait for it -- that the screen had gotten too big. My friend's mom does not want to ride in her husband's car any more because "That is not our car." I have been dealing with this insanity for years. Where are my karma points? I want my karma points right now!
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I like this topic. Thanks for sharing this.
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Absolutely -that conviction that they are right no matter how far-fetched or crazy it seems to us has to be the dementia talking. I used to be able to say to my husband that it was one of "his people" he was describing and I couldn't see them. But now I just go along with it, because he KNOWS they are there, so I shoo the black dogs out of the house with a broom and he's happy. Until they show up again the next day.
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I live next door to my Mom and she has episodes of thinking someone is coming in her townhouse & taking things. Last episode was they were taking her TV dinners & 1 egg. I asked her why would they take these things & not her purse, etc. Her reply, "well they gotta eat, don"t they". I also explained to her that it is human nature to think someone took something if you can"t find an item that you have misplaced. She thought about this, but then that would mean she would have to admit that her mind is playing tricks on her. She is also deaf as a door knob without her hearing aides, but insisted on putting bells on her door, convinced someone was coming in. She also says that she hears different noises at night that wake her up. What I've noticed is that now she does"nt listen to reason or rational explanations to many different situations. I don't know if that is an initial symptom of dementia or not. You just gotta laugh though & wonder what the "thieves" are gonna take next.
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My husband has Lewy Body Dementia, and the paranoia is definitely part of that, but under some control with drugs. Before I knew about his illness, I came home one night to find him at the back door, on the phone with 911, with a gun in his hand! Convinced there were 7 robbers in the house, could describe them fully. Other times he was sure thieves were lined up outside the house with trucks ready to take all our stuff. Didn't help to say nobody would WANT our stuff or anything else rational. Not sure why this is a part of dementias - read somewhere that it might be the brain worried about something "stealing" their mind and their life. In any case, Depakote has helped a lot with the bad anxiety, tho he still thinks cars with one headlight mean there's a drug dealer inside and that a snake bit his finger. you learn how to cope with those things as long as it isn't too disruptive.
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I worked for many years as a manager in senior housing. What I saw was some, not all seniors, had similar complaints. Most were of someone or even family members taking their things. Adult children would come into my office so upset, telling me how their mother/father accused them of stealing money, clothing or other objects, even an onion. I now find myself being the sole caregiver of my 97 yr old father. He's always misplacing things. He has never accused me of taking anything, however in anger and only once, he accused me of putting poisen in his food. He hesitates having anyone come into the house to make repairs etc. It's the mind, paranoia. The solution??? All I know is It takes so much patience and I try to convince him that things are not happening.
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This issue plagues every senior community because due to how openly most people live in AL, with multiple people in and out of rooms all day, they must always be on the alert for actual theft and it makes it difficult when there are many residents who claim daily that something has been stolen. Sometimes it's pretty obvious, like when a resident accuses a PCA of stealing her underwear, but when the item is of value, it sends the whole floor on a search (usually winding up by finding the item squirelled away in the resident's room somewhere).
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I believe this can happen with the elderly even who do not have dementia or ALZ - or perhaps even in very early stages. It is very hard to go visit my mother as every time without fail, she calls and tells me something is missing, someone has been through her drawers, wanting to know if it were me. Or she will give me something she may later claim I stole it. I finally told her that in the future I am going to leave my suitcase open on the sofa and stand there while she goes through it to make sure I'm not taking her things! Maybe I should have her sign off on a piece of paper that it's "all clear." Sometimes she calls months later and says, "guess what I found?" But it can be true in nursing homes - people do wander and take things because of dementia, and sometimes employees are less than honest. My mother also accuses her doctors of lying to her. Accuses family of lying to her. Most times "family lying to her" accusations is not about anything important anyway. I noticed my husband's mother began her journey into Alzheimers and started accusing her daughter of stealing her money. When in fact, her daughter had to manage it closely for her, giving her only a little pocket change as she went because their mom would lose it forgetting what she did with it. In fact a few times I've noticed I'm missing something - - - 95% of the time, I've put it somewhere I don't usually keep it, sometimes I never find it. So I fear I may have "joined the club."
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My mother lived alone next to me. She would say someone broke into her house and robbed her. One time they took her coffee, another time it was a doll missing off her doll stand. I explained to her that no one would deliberately break in and only take those items. I would point out to her her valuable stuff was still there. But.... for the life of me I never found the doll, (why wouldn't they take the stand too? and I never found the coffee....other items I found. I asked her...could you be sleep walking and doing something with them in your sleep? Then she thought and got real quiet. My mother was sleep walking, so you might check this out. However, my dear friend runs a wonderful nursing home, and it is tops. He says their greates problem is patient stealing, they wander around in rooms and help themselves to things. Sometimes the patients hide it from others and forget where they put it.
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Oh my, the countless things we have heard about, seen, you name it from our loved ones could fill a book! Sometimes the dementia causes them to hear, see or imagine things, could be medications that cause it, could be a medical condition such as UTI. My mil used to swear the "moo-ha-ha's" were standing outside in the backyard watching her through the patio door! Why and how they got that name she could never tell me, but that's what they were and they watched her. Now that she is in a NH, she will tell us often that she is "incarcerated", those are her words, and they won't let her go. She isn't aggressive about it, she just expects us to do something about it right now! Other than making sure it isn't a medication or physical condition, then just reassuring her is about the only thing you can do. Sometimes physicians may add a sedative type medication if someone is too out of control with the paranoia.
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I do believe that's par for the course with dementia. My mother-in-law used to be convinced that people in her asst. living place were stealing her blind. But it was because she was hiding everything, then couldn't remember where she'd hidden it. I can't tell you how many times that first year I went on a treasure hunt in her apartment looking for her BANANAS!!! Oh my gosh, just kill me now.
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