Another resident is stealing my moms things, what can I do to stop them?

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My Mother lives in a memory care facility. There is another resident there ( male) who steals items from my mother and the other residents as well and then hides these items in different locations and in other residents rooms throughout the building......some items never to be found again. This started out with small items such as toothbrushes , toothpaste , and soap, but now includes some of my mothers more personal items items such as some of her costume jewelry and a photo album. I speak to the management there daily. They are trying to keep a closer eye on this man, but somehow he can still manages to continue with his clepto ways. I visit daily and have to do a check to see what it missing and then go searching the facility to see what I can find. This same thing is happening to many of the others there, but since their family members don't visit daily like I do they are just not so aware of what goes on there. I have to say that I more than aggravated, annoyed and upset by all of this. Don't get me wrong....I actually love this facility and my mom gets very good care there. The staff is wonderful and the place is beautiful. I actually moved my mother all the way from Massachusetts to Illinois because i found this facility to be superior to many of the others i visited. I'm not sure what to do next. Some might say just move her to a different facility, but I feel that this would be a major inconvenience since she is adjusted to her surroundings now . I am wondering what else to do and if the facility is actually doing what is required or if I have to take some kind of legal action ?? Or if that is even feasible.

Answers 1 to 6 of 6
See if you can install a couple of those real-looking dummy cameras in your Mom's room since the staff isn't inclined to put a stop to his thieving ways. Also, I doubt he's working alone. To me, there's no way someone can keep stashing loot in other residents' rooms without them noticing it; or at least complain he's trespassing.

You can play private investigator and build a case against him by collecting statements from victimized residents and/or filing a written complaint. Have the staff sign the original and give them a copy. In this country, what you say isn't as important as what you can prove. Once you have it in black and white, expose him to his family / visitors. If they feel the heat, maybe he'll never hear the end of it.

... I'm surprised residents haven't ganged up on him already.

I have had some experience in matters such as yours and I do not doubt your experience at all. That being said, I have also seen a couple of cases when the patient has given away things and then believes that they were stolen. I could not tell from your email if it has been established that the suspect has actually been exposed as some kind of a kleptomaniac. That things have been found in the rooms of other residents makes me wonder what is going on because the idea that the man planted things in their rooms is at least equal to the possibility that mom gave the stuff to them and then forgot all about it. Certainly, the home has some liability. I do hope that you have removed things of value from your mom;s room.

Yours is a tough situation and I hope that this works out for you..
It makes me wonder just how nice of a place this really is. The surroundings may be beautiful but I wonder how great the staff is since they haven't protected your mother from the thief. What else is doing to her while you are gone. I agree the home has some liability in the matter. I don't see how you could love the place. I'd put more pressure on them to protect your mother. Lots of pressure. I agree with planeman, remove all things of value from her room.
don't leave anything worth stealing with them, and this allways happens with clothes, it costs less if you mark the box that you will be doing laundry.
This is a memory care unit. All of the other residents have cognitive issues. Who knows what this poor man is thinking he is doing by removing items from one place and putting them somewhere else? I doubt that exposure or evidence or proof would mean anything to him, or deter him. It is very common for dementia patients to hide their own items and then forget they've done that. Some have reverted to a time in their childhood where "mine" and "yours" were not yet well established. Giving items away and then thinking they were stolen is also common.

I suggest that you continue working with the staff in a cooperative spirit. They have a responsibility to your mother to keep her from harm. They also have a responsibility to the man who steals items (if that is really what is going on.) If it were your mother who were stealing items or was accused of stealing items even if in her mind no theft was involved, (and she could be -- she is not fully herself, as you know. Who knows what she might get up to next month) how would you want her treated? How would you try or expect the staff to try to prevent this behavior?

Of course you are aggravated, annoyed and upset by this situation. That is understandable. Dementia is often aggravating, annoying, and upsetting. And now your mother is surrounded by people with dementia. I am glad you feel she is in a good place and is well cared for. That is very important. I hope you can work with the staff and find creative ways to minimize this problem.
Top Answer
After reading about your situation and comparing it to what I am going through, with Mom who has Alzheimers I believe that this is a behavior of this decease. I believe that as a resident of a memory care unit he either has dementia or Alzheimers. You could put camaras all over the place and it would not phase them, they will have no recollection what -so- ever of what they do, have done, or just happen they will deny it or say that it belongs to them and this is all due to their mental condition. I guess it would be wise to remove or never bring anything of value to a memory care unit regardless if you visit every day or every week. I have noticed that within the past 3 years of becoming a caregiver to my mother (74) in the later stages of Alzheimers, and very active, two years ago she too began to demonstrate the same behavior. Whenever I take her anywhere I have to let others know that they need to mind their belongings because if she gets a hold of it, it is hers no matter what they say. I have been observing her and it amazes me how she slyly takes things and move them from one place to another or shove them down her bra or panties. I think I can write a comedy book of all the times I have caught her with one item or another. I took her to my son's wedding and she sat very nicely throughout the event. I got up from the table a moment and she stood with the rest of the family, when I returned for my camara it was nowhere to be found. I looked around and asked if anyone had seen it, and no one did I asked mom and she said she had not seen it either, so I just continued to enjoy the festivities, about an hour later I saw mom putting the wedding favors down her chest and when I went to remove it 'lo and behold! I also found my camara. Later on in the night after we returned to the hotel and I was undressing her to prepare her for bed I found about six melted gold wrap butter pads. This was 2 years ago and believe me I have encountered countless of situation with my mother, from taking my friends bags, cell phones, drinks, remote control or whatever she can get a hold of. In the house I feel like I am playing hide and seek all the time. I am currently considering placing her in a nursing home and now wonder if she will become a female Klepto. LOL

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