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Each time she does this, I tell myself that it’s the illness. Then....I cry because it hurts me and I think about all the nice things I do for her.

For some reason, dementia victims always think someone is stealing from them. My mother lived with me and my children before she was formally diagnosed and she told everyone we stole from her. When I confronted her directly, however, she would say "Oh, no, I never said that - I know you wouldn't steal from me." Meanwhile my siblings and family friends would be giving me the stink eye. She even accused us of stealing her underwear. Why she thought my teenage daughter, my 6 foot tall football playing son or even me would want her used white cotton granny panties was beyond me. They just don't think rationally and you will NEVER hear them say "Oh, I must have misplaced that!" Someone always stole it. At first it can be insulting and degrading, but once you learn that they can't help it, you tend to let it slide off your back.
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jacobsonbob Jul 20, 2019
In this case it's worth telling the friends and family members that you were also accused of stealing her underwear, as this will give better insight as to her true mental condition such that they're more likely to believe you when you tell them you don't steal her money.
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If she doesn’t attempt to use it or give it to others whom you don’t want to have it, padding her wallet may work, sort of a “reverse stealing” kind of thing.

I was doing it for a while, although my LO is pretty much past needing it now. A big pack of singles looks soothing to someone with paranoia.

As long as you’re sure it’s not going somewhere you don't want It to, no harm for her, easier for you.

A big hug and another hint to you. “Telling yourself” doesn't work at all until YOU BELIEVE what you’re telling yourself. Her brain is broken. She cannot filter, reason with herself, remember your honest, decent past. YOU preserve YOUR loving past by developing your own sense of your loving present.

What she says really isn’t representing facts. Her loving past would want you to know that her damaged present should not cause you pain, since she truly cannot help it.
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My mother was always frugal, always on a budget, money separated for this and that. When she still insisted living alone after my Dad passed, my husband took over her finances but went over everything with her, showed her the checkbook, etc. After she came to live with us, and her dementia was getting worse. He did most of her stuff on line. She had a dresser in her room and I kept her purse in a drawer in there, some cash in her wallet, a slip of paper saying how much was in there wallet. She always had a "stash" so I gave her an empty cigar box and a few envelopes, put some cash in them, a piece of paper saying how much was in there. If she took something out, we would mark the paper. She could see when she "needed" cash from the bank. We are not talking thousands here. The point was, she was still able to manage her "finances", knew they were secure. It was kind of amusing but made her feel better and in charge of something.
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Reply to Margot49
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Dementia makes no sense......sufferers have no idea what they're saying lots of times, nor do they understand the impact their words may be having on others. You have to ignore the accusations and chalk it off to the disease. Your mother knows you aren't a thief but the imposter who's taken over your mother's mind does not. Don't take anything negative she says to heart, or you'll wind up having an even harder time with her than you're already having. When she gets off on this topic, redirect her attention to something else. I know how hard this all is, as my mom has dementia as well. Sometimes she is SO difficult and argumentative that I have to leave the memory care or cut the phone call short. Be sure to take care of YOURSELF throughout this ordeal too, okay? We all suffer at the hands of this cruel disease.
All the best.
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Reply to lealonnie1
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My mother has accused my brother and me of stealing from her and my brother wasn't even around at the time still isn't. It is hard not to take the negative things they say to heart, but you have to remember it is the disease and not her. Yes, I spent months crying over the hurtful and nasty things my mother would say to me and about me. Now, I have learned to detach emotionally from her. It took time and yes there are times when it can get to me. Your not alone!
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Honey, you might as well give it up comparing the nice things you do for her to the way she treats you. I hate to say this, but it will get worse. My mother has called me stupid, told me she hates me, accused me of being with men (HA! What a joke) accused me of poisoning her, conspiring against her, etc. It's not that she doesn't appreciate the nice things you do, but when her brain goes haywire, she doesn't recognize or remember any of it. I still cry, but not as much.
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LightingRod Jul 20, 2019
My demented mother (95) accuses everyone of stealing everything. We discovered that she threw away unopened groceries, then claimed they were stolen. When we moved her from her apartment to A.L., we found "stolen" items hidden all over the house in strange places, like a pack rat would do. We think she did it for attention, but who knows. You cannot figure out crazy. Its truly like a Steven King novel to witness my mother's body with an entirely different alien creature residing in it. Today, I must tell her we've sold her car -- and I'm physically ill just thinking about that confrontation. Physically, the body is fine, and will undoubtedly live another 5 years. Never thought I'd ever say this about my former best friend, but I'm so ready for this to end.
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My 94 year old mother is always accusing people of stealing from her, this has been going on for 30 years. Yet, she is the one who has stolen from others.
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Jannner Jul 21, 2019
I truly wonder about that. Both my stepfather and mother were very self absorbed about their money. Even though they were wealthy, they might give you a gift but you could never ask for a nickel, even in an extreme emergency. And thought nothing of petty theft, ie fiod from a buffet went into my mother’s purse on more than one occasion. Both accused others of stealing , when it was really them who were dishonest.
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Be honest to tell her "Mom, I know you BELIEVE that or you wouldn't say it, but I can only promise you that I love you and I would never steal from you". This is one of the most common things that happens, and my partner and I still laugh about his Mom's last years when everything was "Wilma took it".... about the lovely woman who helped her when we were states away. Now when we lose things about the house we look at one another and say "Wilma took it".
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Sometimes the accusation that someone is "stealing" isn't actually what they mean, the words get mixed up for them, my mom for instance will say something is "cold" when what she means is "hot" just as an example and sometimes the stuff must have been "stolen" is their way of explaining why they can't remember where the put it without having to admit they can't remember to themselves or anyone else. We who are closest to them, the people they feel most secure with are the ones who get the abuse because we are the ones they feel safest with, they know they can't drive away, very much like a child saying "I hate you" whenever they are frustrated. Maybe it's their brains protecting them, maybe they really think it must have been stolen, no doubt each situation is different but if it helps at all I don't think they hold on to the idea or emotion we receive when being accused of "stealing", what I mean is she says that like she might "I'm thirsty" and take a sip of water, with no lingering emotion or suspicion just mater of fact. You on the other hand having been "accused" have feelings about it for hours because you are taking her seriously. Try not taking her accusation so seriously, I know easier said than done or maybe even just agree, yup I wanted to see if you would notice and the doctor said it's good for us to use brain puzzles so I want to see if you can figure out where it is, I promise it's here in the house. I find that just laughing sometimes breaks my mom's serious or stressed moment, train of thought. She thinks it's morning for instance and does her morning routine but it's 9 pm so we just lighten the mood and laugh as we bring her back to the here and now so she isn't left fretting over it. If she was worked up over missing money for instance (we haven't had this issue or the "stealing" at all so not speaking form experience) say she says she had a $20 and it's gone and is all worked up over it I would probably "find it" either for real or not in another section of her wallet or purse. We also avoid this by not using cash much anymore, she has a debit/credit card that she uses to pay for things and when she was using the transport van service we got her a book of tickets rather than having to make sure she had exact change. But I'm off topic.

I think this is something you are going to have to take control of by altering your reaction and the way you hear what she is saying, she isn't really angry with and accusing you of stealing she is angry with herself for not being in control of her world and this is the only way she has to try and take that control back. She isn't thinking for the next few days, I have to be careful when Marium is around because she (or he) is a thief and steals from me, she is simply thinking at the time it has to be someone else's fault so it can't be mine and then moves on. Please try to think of this differently so you aren't feeling resentful because that is just going to set off a domino affect of negativity and it's not worth all of that to try and reason with someone who is trapped in dementia. In some ways it may mean she isn't that far gone so a positive because the way I hear the stealing accusations tend to stop as they get further into the depths of the disease.
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slp1684 Jul 20, 2019
Lymie61, the post was good to read for me & words
about this horrible disease.
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She doesn't know what she is saying. You can keep a record of all her expenditure if it makes you feel you would be able to justify anything, but I would personally from experience say - if you say so and walk away.
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