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She claims they're hers and the center wants to move her to the dementia facility they have. I'm wondering how to approach this move with my Aunt. The dementia facility is smaller and doesn't have much on the way of activities. But the residents in her current location aren't dementia patients and they avoid my Aunt as she's now known as a "theif".

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I would also like to add that not having people supervised, where this can happen ,is kind of a red flag to me - my aunt also woke up to find a man in her room one night.
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That is what I mean. It makes perfect sense. Divest of the family heirlooms. Not that you can't keep meaningful things--but not a $1300 watch. ;)
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We had a problem with a lady coming into my aunt's room and taking her shoes. It is, first of all, the responsibility of the staff to keep patients in their own room. If they are short handed or cannot do this, then she will have to move to a facility where they can handle patients with dementia. There should be someone in the hallway to monitor the patients at all times.
My aunt decided that she could no longer have any valuables in her room. (Which is how I came to own a $1300 watch!)
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Yes, the laundry, that is another good point.
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My mother is wheelchair bound and cannot get around without help. From time to time we find clothes in her closet that aren't hers. I'm sure the person who delivers the laundry gets things mixed up occasionally. But you are right, Salisbury, you need to be very aware that items go missing in care centers all the time, and treat valuables accordingly.
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Sorry for being unclear. I mean that if other people ( I mean other families of residents) are giving/leaving things in the AL that they would not want to lose, then they need to wake up to the reality. The reality is that a lot of items "wander" from person to person not because they are stolen, as such, but because they are abandoned, picked up by another, abandoned again, picked up by yet another, and sort of make the rounds.

Just the other day I went to get a jacket for my mom and found one in her closet that I did not recognize. I asked her where she got it and she said she did not know. Obviously, she "picked it up." But she, herself, was not the least bit concerned that it was in her closet and not hers. She put it on and wore it. LOL.

For her 90th birthday, I gave my mom a very nice bracelet and earrings from a fancy store. Not super expensive but very nice. And I did so with the full knowledge that I may never see them again. That's just how it is.
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Salisbury, what do you mean by "If other people are doing this, then they need to wake up."? Who is the "they" that needs to wake up? And what does that mean?
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In the regular Assisted Living facility where my cousin started out, they provided each resident a closet with a lock. If the resident is able, they may lock their items in their closet for safekeeping. I would say that not many of the residents are able to do that on their own.

Once in Memory Care, there are not locks on their closets. Sometimes things disappear, but I realize that the residents do leave things in other residents' rooms or even throw things in a trash can. They don't realize what they are doing or just forget. I don't take my love one anything of much value into her room, because it could easily disappear.
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My sympathy. I brought my mom a book form a trip I was on, a truly obscure title, that I knew she would love. The next thing I knew, another resident had it. I told her cheerily that I had bought the book in Alaska (thinking my mom had lent it to her). She said, "No, I have had this book for years."

So, I ordered another copy from Amazon. My mom was thrilled to have it. All smiles. The next time I saw her the book had vanished and my mom didn't even know what I was talking about. She had, of course, been reading it somewhere and just walked away and left it.

That was when I just said, "Oh," and quit the whole endeavor. I don't bring my mom anything that I don't want her to lose. If other people are doing this, then they need to wake up.
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My cousin didn't have any problem adjusting to the Secure Memory Care facility when regular assisted living wasn't right for her. She appeared to be immediately more comfortable. This place is small, family run and has a low staff turnover. Those are things that are important too, IMO.
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If the new dementia facility doesn't have much in the way of activities, you're in the wrong facility. I don't know if Illinois is unusual, but here, facilities are required to have eight activities a day for residents to participate in.

I'd look elsewhere. Don't worry about the change of moving her. It'll be no more traumatic to move her across town than to a different floor.
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If other measures, as described by jeannegibbs, are not feasible, how about another dementia care facility that is more desirable. Your note that a facility doesn't have many activities is on-target. People with dementias still need activities, it is in their best interest.
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Oh my! My heart goes out to you and to your aunt.

1) I hope you understand that her behavior is "normal" under the circumstances. If you need reassurance on that topic, have a look at "Creating Moments of Joy," by Jolene Brackey.

2) It is not surprising that the other residents consider your Aunt a thief. Expecting them to make allowances for her dementia may be a bit of a stretch.

3) Have other measures been considered to keep her where she is? For example, closer supervision so she is less likely to get into other residents' rooms? Does the center provide such a service for an additional fee? Could she afford to hire a companion for the most vulnerable times of day? Frequent inspection of her possessions to detect any new acquisitions?

How much does your Aunt participate in activities now? How much will she miss that? Does the activities director where she is now have any suggestions how to compensate for that in the new facility?

In my mother's nursing home about half the residents have dementia, but generally do not have symptoms that disturb the other residents. Those that are wandering risks or have disturbing behavior are moved to the "memory care unit," which is just upstairs. Often some will be escorted downstairs for certain activities, like bingo or sing-alongs. Those who are beyond enjoying such activities are not forced to participate, but those who like them can. Is there any kind of optional activities in the dementia facility?

If the move is necessary, I guess I'd explain it as a smaller, cozier place, where she'll get more attention. If there is ANYTHING about it that would be an advantage (for example, it is closer to you so you can visit a little more often) I'd bring that up. I most certainly would not blame her for the move or bring up the "stealing." It won't change anything and will just make her feel bad.

Sorry that you are both going through this. Please keep us informed about how things work out.
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