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My mother was diagnosed with progressive dementia 3 years ago. The neuropsychologist who tested my mother recommended that my mother be in assisted living. My mother refused to go. After totaling her car and falling and breaking both of her arms and reaching a point where she could no longer live
by herself there was no other choice. My mother was declared incompetent to handle her own affairs by 2 doctors. I am an only child who lives 200 miles away in the mountains where it snows a lot. My mother does not like where I live and refuse to move with me. Living so far away, I did not want to hire a someone to care for her since I did not live close enough to monitor how she was being cared for.

I live in a very rural area and there are no assisted living facilities, only nursing homes. My mother is not ready for a nursing home. I found a wonderful, very active alf near to where my mother lives. There are several cousins and friends that live 20 minutes away . After my mother got adjusted to the move she absolutely loves her new place. It's a very active facility and my mother enjoys all the social action and the staff who are simply wonderful.

My mother's and my relationship is wonderful now that I am not her caregiver. The staff can get my mother to do things that I could never get her to do. The problem is the "family." My mother told me she wanted to say at the alf and for me to sell her condo. I noticed several things missing from my mother's condo.
When I mentioned this to my mother she became very upset. I eventually found out that my aunt and cousin had come to my mother's condo and had taken the things and given them to other cousins as well. Some of the items were thing that were family things that my mother had told me she wanted to
have. They took these things and didn't even tell me. They later told me my mother gave them to them. It's not the things but how they went about taking them. I said that it was very sad that someone would go to my mother's condo and take things. They said how dare I accuse them of stealing and now they are angry with me. I am very hurt. They never go to visit my mother even though they live close by. My mother and I are very hurt by this. They are the only family we have. How do I deal with this?

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What a shame that your family saw an opportunity and used it to loot your mom's house. Of course you and your mom are hurt, I would be too.

However they gained access to your mom's place, make sure they can't gain access again. Have the locks changed, whatever you need to do.

As far as getting your mom's stuff back I doubt that you will. You can call the police (their main #, not 911) and file a report but that won't bring your mom's stuff back and the police won't really do anything. Your extended family will say something like your mom misplaced it because of her dementia and it will turn into a he said/she said thing that will go nowhere.

I have some things that were handed down to me from grandparents and great-grandparents and I know if that stuff ever went missing I'd be sick about it. I know it's difficult to accept but I think that stuff is gone. It was very wrong for them to take your mom's things, no doubt about that. But realistically speaking, what can you do? You can't steal it back. They'll never admit to taking it. I would just accept it as a lesson learned. These particular family members are not trustworthy and it's good that you know that now.
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Ask for the specific things you want back, provide 30 days before you take action.
Threaten to sue. Even if they claim mom gave them the items , it can still be considered abuse since she has dementia. Change the locks and write them off.

I may sound harsh, but that is the kiss-off I would provide to some who stole from me or my loved one. I would not want them in my life, they are already not active in mom's.
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First off, remember that it is entirely possible that someone with dementia, like your mom, really could have given those items away, and no longer remembers it. Or possibly did not understand that "giving them away" is what was being discussed when the items were "gifted". If this is the case you really don't want this to come between you and these family members.

Since you've already broached the subject of "items being missing", and they are taking affront at being accused of "stealing", you may want to try just NICELY asking for the items back. For the ones who claim that the items were given, just say: "I'm so sorry. Apparently Mother's memory is not so good, and she is regretting giving those items away. She would really like them back .It seems to be very important to her." If the items were honestly given, they may return them, because what honest person wants a momento to forever remind them that they took an old lady cherished possessions. If they really did just steal them, ...well they are gone, and you will then know better how to view the actions of these family members.

As for the other person, who supposedly took items long ago, you could talk to that person too. Tell them about your "mother's distress" about her missing belongings. Tell them what the other cousins said, indicating this person has them. Say you only want to find out what really happened. Maybe they did receive (or take) those items. Maybe not. You could just mention "poor Mom's dementia" as a reason for not knowing what is true and what isn't, and as the reason you need to know. (Blame the inquiry on trying to determine if your Mom mind is deteriorating.) Listen to the story you get for an answer. You may be able to tell if anyone here is dealing honestly with you. You will likely NOT get the items back, but it'll give you food for thought, in deciding just how to view all of them in the future.
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I guess I'm cold-hearted, but I don't understand this love of "family" when they act like vultures. If I had been gifted something by someone with known dementia, the FIRST thing I'd do would be to check with the daughter to make sure the gift was OK. If I didn't know the gift giver had dementia and later found out that was the case and my gift was now wanted back, I'd give it back IMMEDIATELY. Any other behavior to me is just pure and simple conniving theft. I wouldn't want anything to do with those people, family or not. You can't choose your family but you can choose your friends. I'd go with finding friends in this case and forgetting this "family".
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Eyerishlass has said it best.

The other thing you can do is leave your number with someone who lives next to your mother's condo and have them notify you of anybody going in and out of the condo. Deff change the locks and border any other ways of ganing access to the house. Sadly there is real no way of getting any of those items back, at most you can ask them to return the items to your mother and say that they can have them when she has passed. They should be disgusted with what they have done, but sadly, people like that never are. Also when you change the locks, keep the only set of keys, or make a written agreement that the agent you are working with to sell mom's condo that they can have a set of the keys but these certain relatives can not have access to the condo.

I hope all works out for you.
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Consider what your goal is. If possession of a particular item of furniture or valuable painting is your goal, then that's one thing. You will live on after the funeral of your mother, do you want to share your future with your family?
Some people say that desire is the root of unhappiness. You have managed so far without these things that the others are taking.
The goal is for you to live happily with your family members, visiting back and forth and having the children visit. Talk for sure, but try not to want these things.
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As the patient declines, family members come for their memento's. Let it go, you are too far away to do anything, and it happens in every family, all families.
If you argue with them, they will not help you clean it out. Sell the condo and be done with it. In mom's case, we were going to have an estate sale. I couldn't face strangers picking over her stuff. So I called the cousins, and they cleared the place out in two weekends. At least things stayed in the family and I will see them again.
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Easy for me to say "It's just stuff" If it's things that are to remain in the family consider it done. You could try a trade off for another object saying you knew she wanted so and so to have this or I'd really like to have this back would you consider this instead. If they were objects from your Dads side explain that they were not to be give away. Again it's stuff and I can't think of a single thing that would be worth loosing family over. I'm not saying you can't be upset, disappointed and even pissed but it is what it is. Here's the tough part photograph the home get what you want out either call an agency Goodwill, Salvation Army, an Estate dispersal business and a Realtor. If your not planning on moving to the area it's cheeper to get a hotel room and I'd never rent a piece of property I couldn't be close enough to oversee. You never think that it is going to come to this but it does. I'm one of three (The middle one) Mom was a list maker which drove me crazy but paid off in the long run she had in writing who got what, done deal we all respected those crazy list and what we didn't want traded among ourselves. Your mother may have indeed given things in those rare moments of clarity. Ask yourself do I really want it or is it the fact that these things were taken with out my knowledge? If the answer is I really want it back write the family member a letter asking for the return if that doesn't work you've just witnessed that person's character and the item is gone. If you get it back tell them you will see that they get it when you no longer want it. Don't let this define you. You did an awesome job finding your Mother a place to live and a quality of life now do yourself the same favor, clean house (pun intended) and move on.
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If you're sure who took what, their untimely *gifts* could be subtracted from what they normally would have received from your mother's will, assuming she has one and assuming there's anything left after expenses for her care.

Or do whatever will give you peace. Life is too short to cause ourselves grief over *things* especially when the loss does not impoverish anyone.
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Want2Know, I copied and pasted Gayle V.'s answer because it was so close to what I was thinking of, as I read other comments. She said, "First off, remember that it is entirely possible that someone with dementia, like your mom, really could have given those items away, and no longer remembers it. Or possibly did not understand that "giving them away" is what was being discussed when the items were "gifted". If this is the case you really don't want this to come between you and these family members.

Since you've already broached the subject of "items being missing", and they are taking affront at being accused of "stealing", you may want to try just NICELY asking for the items back. For the ones who claim that the items were given, just say: "I'm so sorry. Apparently Mother's memory is not so good, and she is regretting giving those items away. She would really like them back .It seems to be very important to her." If the items were honestly given, they may return them, because what honest person wants a momento to forever remind them that they took an old lady cherished possessions. If they really did just steal them, ...well they are gone, and you will then know better how to view the actions of these family members." I think this is a perfect solution, and I was going to advise approaching the Aunt and cousins the same way. I would only add that you could first apologize if your inquiries to them sounded as accusations and made it seem like they were stealing. You could say you were upset, and jumped to hasty conclusions. But you realize your Mom could very well have forgotten she said they could take those items, and to comfort your Mom, would they be kind enough to return those specific items that meant so much to her, and down the road, they could be "re-gifted" back again.
I know how much this must upset your Mom, and you. My Mother is very attached to her things. Certain things mean more than others, and she would be sad to part with them, and really outraged to think they were taken without her agreeing. It would certainly be worth a try to extend the olive branch to your Mom's sister and cousins, since they live close by, and because their "feathers have been ruffled" are not visiting your Mother. If things get back to a peaceful resolution, then perhaps the family unit could be salvaged, because if may mean a lot to your Mom to have her family be closer....visiting and caring about her. That's my two cents worth. I know you have a lot of cents worth on this thread. :)) Best of luck. I really can relate to this subject. It's way more than just "things."
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