My MIL is accusing another resident of stealing. How can we help her to process this so that it is not an on-going issue in the community?

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We don't know what the truth is and never will. That doesn't really matter. The "facts" as reported by my mother-in-law, who is 91, is in a small assisted living facility, and has some dementia and a lot of short-term memory problems, are as follows: She was in the sunroom, and decided she needed to leave to go get something. She says she left about $30 cash on the table where she and other (one? two?) women had been sitting. One of the women is the "new girl," younger but not with as many advantages as Mom. When Mom came back the money was gone. She is sure that the new resident took it. We have tried everything to get her to let it go. The money is inconsequential. Lesson learned, don't flash your cash, even in a small community. But she equally could have dropped it somewhere. (Or, the woman, or someone else, could have made a bad decision and taken it. In any case, if that person either needed the money or could not resist temptation, it's over.) The issue really is, it is affecting the community because we can't get her to remember not to say anything, to the other woman or to anyone else. She has lots of memory issues and normally she would just forget it, but THIS she remembers (or thinks she does) - "So-and-so stole my money." How can we help her to process this so that it is not an on-going issue in the community?

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Its 30$.. "find it somewhere" and return it to her...LOL say it was in her drawer, or pocket in the laundry,, whatever it takes! distract and redirect!
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My response when DH accuses someone of stealing, "Did I forget to tell you? The police called, and they found the real criminal. They arrested him."
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Thanks for all the suggestions. The social worker at the ALF has asked for a team meeting. All four of us will go (her 2 sons and their wives - we are all nearby) and she will meet with us before we go get Mom. I might try "finding" the cash in a pants or sweater pocket, but I want to also hear her ideas.

Selective memory is so strange - it seems just handling cash, or seeing the woman, will recall the "incident." It's a small-ish ALF, only about 40 residents. She has started saying that she "does not like" so-and-so. She has said this to us, in our homes - but we all know the filters are off, so if she thinks it, she probably also says it out loud. We don't want her to become the schoolyard bully! Let's hope the "fiblet" works.
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Yes distract and redirect! What ever it takes. With Dementia, at least with my Mom this was a common thing. Before we moved her out of her house she stopped in the living room and started looking in the grandfather clock and crying. We asked what was wrong and she swore that she had stashed 200 dollars in there. We scoured the entire area and once she saw us examine it top to bottom she finally said ok well I must have spent it or that girl (her caregiver) must have stolen it. She would never by the way, steal it I mean. But about an hour later she was onto something else she had lost. Sorry for the long story I just want you to know that redirecting is all you can do. She will eventually stop saying the lady took it especially if you give her the money and say you found it. Good luck, and prayers.
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My mother does the same but with jewelry. Harpcat..yes, it's always the negative stuff they remember. To prevent future problems, I took home all my mother's jewelry and left notes in every drawer telling her so. You will have a hard time getting your mother to stop fixating on the money. I agree, try fibbing it's found. I laugh to my husband that I am 63 and still lying to Mom. Does she have to have cash?
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Quite often things are hidden for safe keeping by those with dementia then they forget where they hid it so it is then 'stolen' - we found mom's money & bank statements in the towels in linen closet - money hidden in dressers so it couldn't be found so even after the clean out & it was sent to auctioneer who called me to say he found $600.00 in 50s in it

Try a good size lock box [ not easy to pick up & move] with key & she can wear the key around her neck so tell her no money out of it otherwise she is 'giving' the money away - make sure you have several duplicate keys so when she hides it or looses it you can 'find' it for her

My dad was happy with a small metal cabinet he had for years [since 1951] that locked & had a small safe in it - it made a good tv stand too - I made copies of the key but he always put that key in same place & never lost it - he felt he had control of part of his life as he chose what went in it - he hid a few tums type things & a flask of rum so he could have a nip when he wanted to [1 or 2 times a month] so he felt somewhat in control
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Why does she need money? Does she go out for lunch or shopping on facility bus. My Mom's dementia as far enough gone that there was no need for her to leave the facility. I gave her no money. She would say she need but I would make up something. Money was tight and I refused to have her giving it away or be stolen.
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Pamzimmrrt, splendid idea :) Now hope that mumtothree Mom's will forget that money was taken, and not let this linger on and on.
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What is sad about dementia coupled with short term memory loss, is that the things they seem to remember and dwell on are the negatives like this. My dad seems to only remember the slights from people, stolen toilet paper and Kleenex (he’s paranoid someone will steal it but no one has) ...any misplaced or lost item, he accuses someone, especially staff, of stealing it. Toilet paper...really...when they can get it free? It makes no rational sense. Dad will fixate on all things negative and it’s enough to drive you crazy. I agree that in this case, fib and tell her it was found and return her the $30.
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well, just read all replies so far. mom wouldn't fall for it: i can 'find' the money, but not the eyeglasses, shoes, keys, sweater, necklace. even after they're found she brings up their having been stolen!
oh, and redirection? wow, she's curiously sharp there, never works. in addition to personality of blaming others [written earlier], she has always been stubborn. her memory works bewilderingly well in that regard; selfish, stubborn til you get what you want.
i am so grateful that my dad passed, doesn't have to put up with her anymore.
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