What do you do when your parent with Alzheimer's says you are stealing things from her home?

I no longer have a house or car key to my mother's home & car. She has become argumenative regarding her jewerly. According to her, my husband and I are stealing it. It hurts and I can't make her understand that we are not doing this. I have stopped going around because it upsets me so badly. My brother up and moved 800 miles away. I have always been the one close to her. We used to go places with together, talk one the phone several times a day. If she needed help, I did whatever she needed. How do i deal with the complete personality change? This is not my mother anymore.

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When my mother-in-law first moved into asst living, she thought everyone EXCEPT her family was stealing from her. She has dementia/alz and hides everything she considers of value. Including her bananas. At first it was like a treasure hunt. I would come to see her and she'd give me a list of what was 'missing' so we'd hunt the stuff down. And low and behold!! I would uncover everything she said was stolen. Problem is, she has the memory of a gnat, so in her paranoia she'd hide stuff and couldn't remember when she'd hidden them. She has stopped hiding everything (except her bananas that is) so no the only thing she complains about is them. ha
Top Answer
Vickie, it should help you to realize that this is extremely common behavior in Alzheimer's and in some other kinds of dementia. Do not take it personally. It is part of your mother's disease, and beyond her control. By staying away from her because of it you are depriving her and yourself of the comfort of bonding.

You are right. You cannot make her understand that you are not stealing from her. She is not capable of that insight right now. Without admitting stealing, acknowledge her distress, accept the reality of her feelings, and try to help her find the items. "Oh Mom, how awful that your nice pearl bracelet is missing. I know how much you like that and you must feel really bad that it isn't where it belongs. I don't know anything about why it is missing, and I would never do something so mean to you as take it, but I will certainly look into it for you." Often dementia patients develop a few hiding places they use over and over and so finding missing items may not be as hard as it sounds.

What I highly recommend for you and your dad is to learn as much as you can about the disease your mom has. From experience I can tell you that it is much, much easier to accept and deal with symptoms of the disease than to think your loved one's behaviors are directed against you personally. There are going to be lots of other behaviors on this very bumpy journey that will be distressing to you. Learn about them now. Also, if you can join a local caregiver's support group you will soon see that you are not alone, that what you are experiencing is common, and you'll hear from others what works and doesn't work in dealing with it.

Please, for your sake and your mother's and also your father's, start going around again. Please figure out how to safely take her places. Talk to her on the phone. She is still your mother and I am sure that you still love her. Don't let this awful, terrible, dreadful disease rob all of you of the comfort of that love.
Follow Jeannegibbs advice. My mother has accused me of stealing her car, amongst other things. Once I joined a Support Group and discovered it was a common thing, I accepted the situation and found ways to deal with it and many others. The Group has helped me find ways to "go With The Flow" and make her smile. Help her find the things that are lost. You will soon discover where she hides things and forgets that she hid them.
If it gets really bad there is medicine that would help with these dulusions.

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