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I took care of my Father for 3 years till he pasted, he had dementia near the end. It inspiered me to become a CNA, (certified Nurse's Aide) and a CDP (Certified Dementia Practitioner). I Now care for others in there homes. Hording is a common symptom of dementia, but the agitation that this all causes the patient can be helped with certain med's. You need to talk to a Geriatric DR. about all the symptoms. They may be able to help.
With one of my clients we found only giving her money just before we left the house to do shopping helped with still giving her the independence to pay for things yet not giving her so much money that she could hid it away. Just enough for that days shopping. Always remember that an outburst now will be forgotten in ten minuets. Also by de-cluttering drawers and closets, or jewelry boxes, (but do it with the help of the patient) will make it easier to find things when they do hid them.
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There was no redirecting Mom when she got on a roll accusing someone of stealing, or carrying on about her version of paranoid politics and paranoid religion....got her tossed of senior bus, got the PD involved, alienated people, pretty ugly.

There were times when she flew into a rage thinking I had stolen one of her glass pan lids---all I did was keep repeating "not THIS lid, Mom."
Then she finally went to her room, rummaged in her hoarded piles, and found HER lid...then a bit later, was in the kitchen again, getting something from her shelves, and muttered "I hate it when that happens"
--NOT an apology, mind you, but it was the closest thing she ever gave to one. ...I merely stated "so do I, Mom." very quietly.
She went to her room, and isolated the rest of the day.
She always knew when she had hurt someone, or behaved badly, and she felt terrible about it--but had a hard time apologizing to whoever she hurt.
She would frequently call on the phone, and tell me she thot she had hurt someone badly by saying something, never telling what she'd said pr done--just needing someone to take confession----It took many years to learn she never wanted me to contact that person to tell them how bad she felt for hurting them, only just hear her confession!
Another time, she was having an epic rage, about stolen money, then about having given me so much money, and hadn't she "given [me] $25,000!?"
I told her, "no, Mom," and proceeded to get the envelope from the drawer, still sealed and signed by her--so she could open it, and see it was only $2500.
She took that to her room, looking confused, but no longer raging.
[[understand, she "disappeared" about $200K in about a year, by taking it out of the distrusted banks, burying it, giving it to strangers, buying junk to hoard, and giving it to my siblings]]
Unfortunately, she got my siblings to believe her accusations that she'd given so much money to me, and she [and my sibs] will probably go to her grave believing I ripped her off----because they had gotten so much, and more, from her, they still seem unable to believe Mom treated me so differently from them.

It happens. I understand why. It doesn't help it feel better.
The poison of her behaviors and accusations do not go away, especially since siblings believe them, megaphone them at me too...then wonder why I do not want to contact them!?
Mom's been a complicated piece of work all her life--even her mother wrung her hands and worried who would take care of Mom when Gma was no longer around to do it.
There's plenty my siblings do not know [or seem not to!] since I am the eldest.
They do not seem to want to know, either.
They will figure out something eventually, since they chose to move her to one of their homes--she can barely manage to appear fairly "normal" [for her], for a couple months or few, then starts devolving into what one sibling calls "her moods".
Mom's dementia symptoms came on early [in her 40's to 50's?] and developed slowly---her mental ills, substance abuse and brain injuries came first, having some characteristics of dementia--so it was very hard to tell when the mental ills and brain injuries left off, and dementia took over.

It is virtually impossible to try to re-orient someone with dementia to reality--it simply does not exist for them.
Redirecting them to some other subject, having them touch plants while talking about them, or anything else that breaks that rant and turns their attention to something else, is also a pretty good tactic.
Arguing with them is almost always a fail.

It can be hard to avoid letting the verbal barbs stab us to the quick.
It is important to take special care of getting the support you need as a caregiver, to prevent being shattered by these kinds of conditions.

Take care!
{{{hugs!}}}


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With my mom, who probably has Lewy Body Dementia, misplacing things was/is a big issue. When she was in IL, she would hide stuff in flashlights, then go into a fury that she had been robbed and would call the police and file reports. Her paranoia got to the point where she called a nephew to take her to the bank so she could withdraw all her money as “they were trying to become her”. She would cut off the tops of empty Kleenex boxes and nest them within each other BUT she would hide “important” stuff within the layers. Then when she couldn’t find the $, travelers checks or family picture, she would call the police. When she went to lunch or an activity, “they” would go to her apt (when she was in IL) or to her room (at the LTC she is in now) and would use it as an office or hold meetings there because her room has the “special light”. Spooky!

Mom totally believes this is happening. There is no way to convince her that it is a “false belief”. This is so common & a hallmark of dementia. Medication can make things smoother but will not change the terminal nature of this disease.

Imho how to deal with it really needs to be what works best for you. They aren’t going to change their perception.How I handle it, is to say “You know mom, that isn’t happening” and then talk about her clothes and hand her an article of clothing or talk about a plant and have her touch it, if we are outside in the patio; about ½ the time she moves on. (Having her touch something helps break from the belief) But if she doesn’t and she is just fixed on harping on & on about “what they stole”, then I say “I’m not going to talk about that as it isn’t happening and if you bring it up again, I’m going to need to leave” and if she does, then I leave. I know that doesn’t sound very kum-ba-ya, but if she is just fixated on it, there won’t be any other conversation and all it does it get her super agitated and anxious. The next time I go, she doesn’t even remember anyway. It's never easy no matter how you do it,

Lynmac - Dementia = evil evil demon, love that!
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Sure! Or even take them and not remember. Dementia is an evil evil demon.
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My dad would think he took his medicine when he didn't and then get upset with me for asking him if he took his meds. What really got me was when I found him pouring robitussin cough syrup on his bread like it was gravy. I had to put the top on so tight so he couldnt get it off any more. He is now in the nursing home where he gets his medicine on time. Dad also had money hid in the house and I am yet to find it, he was also throwing things away and giving things away. There is no telling where it is or if it is even still around. Dementia is a disease that is unpredictable and sad, the people we once knew are not he same. I have learned that arguing or contradicting them only makes things worse. Good luck, and keep us posted.
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Are you kidding?! It causes everything, I think! I'm struggling with my mother because she is hiding her used Depends! I just had a very difficult day with her. She hasn't accused me of taking anything, but nothing would surprise me. She's a hoarder and it's mostly paper. If it has any kind of writing on it, she keeps it. She also keeps plastic bags and any kind of container that is aluminum with a plastic top (think coffee cake).

My husband, my brother and a wonderful friend just got my parents moved into assisted living (thank God) and you wouldn't believe all the places I found used panty liners (the kind for incontinence). And she's got the ones she hasn't used everywhere, too!

My parents had been living in a retirement community and my Dad was pretty sharp until he got shingles and then fell and had to go to the ER. I was fortunate that we already had a place for them in assisted living, but NOW I'm discovering how bad things were. I used to get upset with my Dad for not doing a better job with my Mom because I'd meet them for lunch and she would have stains all over the same blouse she'd been wearing the last time I saw them. Now I realize how difficult it was for him. I could go on and on.

I'm kind of dumping here because I'm worn out right now, but I just wanted you to know that anything is possible. If it seems over the top, then it's dementia. I guess it could be medication but by now they are getting all kinds of things to keep them going. Just do your best, try to be reassuring and don't feel guilty. Your family member is fortunate to have someone who cares!
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Do you have a way to disconnect/unplug the stove or oven? I finally had to go and pull the breakers in the fuse box to keep Mom from burning the house down.
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Dementia will cause all kinds of crazy behavior and decisions. Expect the unexpected! My Mom actually sneaked into my room when I wasn't home and planted money under my bed ($30 in rolled pennies) and then accused me of stealing them!

By the way, Mom *thinks* she has millions of dollars in the bank - when in fact she has no clue how close to disaster and bankruptcy she is, and we can't tell her without starting WW3.

I'm sure we'll be accused of stealing "all her millions" when the truth is she's the one who's been spending what she has like a drunken sailor.
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My dad was always losing his wallet, hiding it, etc. We got a chain attached it to the wallet and clipped it to a belt loop. Worked great. Now my mother has Alz but I don't know if she hides things since she lives alone but she does misplace things all the time. She did lose her glasses several months ago, ordered a new pair, then found the others a few months later in the rose bushes, Lol!!
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Yes, dementia = odd behaviors and confusion. So, yes, anything is possible!
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fordellcastle,

There are many conditions that can cause hoarding and hiding things.
Brain injuries [hit on head, car accident, spousal abuse, stroke, etc], multiple personality disorder, dementia, Alzheimers, etc. Even certain vitamin deficiencies.

One Gma used to deck herself in her jewelry, then take her walker for a walk to the post office. Then at a later date, she'd disclose that an item got lost. She was not even suffering dementia, just operating in slow-mo.

Another Gma , w/ Alzheimers, had no idea her son was taking stuff out of her house, would simply remark "I can't find_____", and forget to eat--it just got more ind more sparse in her apartment. She kept collecting small smooth rocks and penciling words and phrases on them, setting them on windowsills and tables, trying to keep track of things and her thoughts. She was mostly very calm.

Mom, OTH, aggressively hides stuff, constantly-
-hoarded things in 6' high piles, hiding things in the piles, then when another of her personalities pops out, unknowing of the hiding, accused us of stealing her stuff--money, food, chatchkys, anything--her multi-personality disorder compounded with her bipolar for some real excitement.
Even when an item was found, [like a purse w/money she accused neighbor of stealing], she swore the kid had simply gotten an attack of remorse and returned it, but that he'd had to hide it under a different pile. All that while police were present, trying to talk her down from an alcohol-spurred rage over it.
Or, sometimes she'd simply look confused when the "lost" item was handed to her, take the item back to her room, and not speak of it--til the next time.
Fun times.
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Yes..what's bad about the hiding things is that they "forget" where they hid them. So, chloesgram,....you WILL have to stand over her while she takes her meds since you are "finding" them in places when she should have taken them. I've been having to do that with mom for many years. It's imperative that they get their meds each day on time. Besides, if there's an animal in the house,..cat or dog..they may find it and eat it! I have to watch mom with every little thing...EVERYthing.
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BTW--Social workers will often skim right over this behavior in persons who have had brain injuries, since it is sometimes difficult to tell where brain injury behavior leaves off, and dementia begins. By them minimizing the problem, they can deny services.
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I never did recover any of the jewelry or other things she stole out of my room! I suspect she may have thrown them in the trash or out in the yard somewhere. She also used to like to go for walks before she got too bad.
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My grandma used to accuse me when I was a young teen of stealing money. Then she would steal things out of my room to punish me for the imaginary crime. She once accused me of stealing her dentures! Mom finally found them stuffed down her bra. When she died, the found thousands of dollars hidden in cushions, drawers, books, etc.-and years old candy bars hidden with them! Very common.
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oh yes...the hiding, hoarding AND stealing..mom has done it all. I can't recall how many purses I've bought her in the last 3 years and they all "disappear"..just like her shoes and other clothing items. I've walked into the NH to find her wearing MEN"S clothes that she would have had to get from a male resident's room. She wanders into all rooms and "takes" things thinking they are hers. She has been wearing somebody's watch for 4 weeks now. I told the nurses and aides that she doesn't own a watch and maybe they could get it back to the rightful owner but she is still wearing it. When I ask her where she got it, she say's she went shopping and bought it. lol Isn't life grand? EVERY day is new and every day brings another problem, arguement, etc....but those very RARE occassions when during one minute, something "positive or good happens" is what I look forward to.
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I am guessing that people with dementia are obsessed with their "pills". My Mom takes hers after she drinks her coffee and breakfast bar and when I set it down on her little table "Don't I have some pills to take?" I say "Yes, they are right beside your coffee". Then she will say she doesn't see them. Later, I may find one on the floor in her rocking chair or under it. It is just hard to say where they will show up. I try to let her do some things by herself, but I guess I am going to have to start standing over her when it comes to the medicine. And, the hiding thing, yes that sure does go with it. I am finding simple things of mine are coming up missing. Just things that I use that she knows takes me out of the house for awhile. I guess she figures if I can't find what I need, then I will stay in and not go out. She has gotten to the point of wherever I go, if she thinks it is too long, she will follow me. Grrrrrrrrrrrr! And, yes to the bathroom! LOL! Please let us know how things are going and my best to you.
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As jeannegibbs said, learning about the disease so that you understand what is "normal" in that sense will help everyone to deal with it. Unfortunately, it is rare that anything can be fixed, rather learning to live with it and work with it is key. Is there an Alzheimer's Disease (AD) group in your area that you can join? Look online - I'm sure there is something. We have a wonderful group in my area - they offer a caregiver's class periodically that is suitable for every family member and friend who is involved in your loved one's life - additionally, we have support groups and even a social group. Another thing is to never stop questioning. My sister was diagnosed with AD over three years ago and we saw some rather abrupt changes in her recently. We learned the medical community advises that you "never assume it is the dementia" when you see sudden or drastic changes. We revisited her neurologist and some scans have been ordered. We'll see where this leads. (Just FYI because I know if I was reading this I would ask if we've not taken her to the doctor for over three years and the answer is she's seen regularly by the group as well as her MD but hadn't had a neurology workup in a year or so because she was fairly stable.) Try to stay open and flexible and practice some creative thinking! Good luck!
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Yep, unfortunately my 93 y.o. mom has mild cognitive impairement - but I've read enoiugh books on the subject to know hiding things is one of the many symptoms of dementia. Then they accuse peope of stealing what they hid.
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rognet, I don't think the doctor is going to be able to anything about this hiding/accusing behavior, but it is something to add to your journel to inform the doctor of before your next appointment.

What you and your family members need to be talking about is that this behavior is totally in character with the disease your loved one has. This is Not Her Fault. It is also not the fault of her granddaughter, the boyfriend, her daughter, etc. etc. It is the fault of defective processing in her brain.

Then, when everyone is on board that this is a disease feature, you can talk about how to handle it. Generally it is useful to be sympathetic, to difusse the accusations as well as possible, and to find or replace the missing items. "Oh, I am so sorry that your lovely robin's nest broach is missing! I've always liked that pin. You must feel terrible. I'm pretty sure that Granddaughter wouldn't take that from you, because I know she likes you a lot, but let me ask her if she might have seen it and maybe moved it. Then I'll come over tomorrow and help you look for it."

This is a HUGE learning process for all concerned. The more you all can learn about what to expect with dementia the more you'll be able to take these dreadful developments in stride.

Best wishes to you all.
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Thank you JessieBelle, this is all new to us, what is really happening is she has been for months saying her granddaughter is stealing her pain pills,money, jewelry then it was her granddaughters boyfriend, then it was her daughter and her husband stealing them. She was calling me all hours of the night telling me all kinds of stuff, then she would call back tell me she found the pills in her room, purse and other places. Never saying sorry to anyone. then it all starts over a week later and this is still going on. It is causing problems with everyone, everyone is on edge not knowing what to do or say. So today i called her daughter and told her about our talks and what she is saying. Her daughter talked to her father and they then told her what I said. I guess she started screaming, yelling all kinds of cus words at me for talking to her daughter about it. Said i was lying about all of it. I am wondering when its time to talk to her doctor. She was just diagnosis with dementia this week.
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BTW, the hiding is medications is perhaps done because they are paranoid someone will steal them. Then with short-term memory loss, they forget they hid them. So their fear that someone will steal their drugs is realized, even if they stole them from themselves. Retrieving the medications from the hiding place "unsteals" them. They had just been misplaced. Everyone saves face.
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Yes. Hiding things and accusing people of stealing them is something that happens quite often in the mid stages of dementia. Very often there is a certain place where the things are hidden. If you can discover the place, you can tell the person that it was probably just lost, then go find it for them. Sometimes the secret hiding place is hard to find. I've heard of cases where people even took things outside to hide them. If you watch secretly, you might be able to figure out where the hoards are. The hiding and accusations are caused by the disease, so I hope you can let them just roll off your back, no matter how much it hurts.
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Sure.
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