My mom (on two separate occasions) has told me that somebody stole her charger. Then she would borrow a charger from somebody and then she'd find her charger again, it just miraculously appeared.

Yesterday, she said she lost her phone and her charger. She was extremely upset and had a staff member call me to let me know of the situation. The AL employee said that she'd help my mom look later because the roommate was sleeping. Thirty minutes later, the staff member called me back and let me know that my mom found the phone & charger in a tote bag that my mom keeps snacks in (in her room). She said my mom was crying and said she missed my dad and that she felt like she was going crazy. I thanked the employee for calling me and letting me know.

A few hours later, 10:30 at night, my mom called me five times leaving messages that she KNOWS people are stealing her phone and that we "need to have a little talk!" I know this little talk is for her to demand me to take her out of the AL facility and drive her back to her home which is only 1.5 miles away! She also told me in the message that the employees thinks "she's crazy" but she knows that people are stealing. She has also stated that somebody stole her beloved electric razor that was my dad's.

I live out of state and am here to spend a nice "Mother's Day" and my b-day with her and to also help clean out the home (of 47 years) to get it ready to be sold due to the expensive upkeep of an empty home! Oh, the stresses!!!

It sounds like it might have been fairly recent that mom moved into AL from the home she shared with your dad for 47 (?) years. How long ago did your dad pass? Was she "Loosing" hings and stressing about it this much at home before moving? Adjustment to any move but particularly one to AL where she has a roommate and her own space that isn't really her own, a new routine, even if it was the LO's idea can be hard and take time. Throw in a slow down of memory or just cognitive ability, something I think happens to all of us later in the day especially as we get older. If indeed it hasn't been all that long since she moved in, so many of our older LO's need routine, we are creatures of habit even when our habit is to change things up (my mom needs a routine but has always had a new "system" she's set up for organizing, all of her life so constant flux is her routine, ugh we are paying for that now!) and my guess is your mom hasn't adapted or found her routine yet in her new home as well. Maybe working with her on this a bit will help, a charging cord for her bag and one that stays on the table next to her bed or wherever she usually plugs her phone in. Maybe put a big identifier on her cords, make a tag out of bright pink duct tape say so she can easily pick it out as hers, see it wherever it is and she feels secure that no one will want to steal something so identifiable. Maybe she needs cords set up in multiple places, maybe a bright colored case for the phone too and a bag that has a pocket just for her phone when she goes out or a pouch she can wear around her neck, my mom has one, it is specifically for her phone so it's always with her, she puts the phone in there and around her neck when she gets up and dressed for the day so she doesn't have to "remember" it and then when she settles in for the night she takes it out and plugs it in, pouch next to it on the table. Other special things like your dads razor if she has them there with her could have a "special" place maybe a drawer or somewhere that you know about too so can tell her to check that spot if she calls panicked because she can't find something. The other side of the problem of course is that in elderly community living like that there are sometimes patients who will wander in and pick something up thinking i's theirs so if this does happen try to be prepared with a way to present it that perhaps reassures mom that it wasn't an intentional "evil" and the resident is probably not as clear thinking as mom...see if you can get her feeling sorry for them perhaps because that will often distract from the anger and fear emotions that just get them all twisted up.

I would be very careful about considering even a visit to help clean out the house for your mom, instead perhaps bring something with you each visit while your there that brings home to her at the AL facility and use that time to "set things up" there to be comfortable and familiar. If she is still adjusting to this change taking her back may only set that process back. Such a difficult time for both of you, in particular it must be overwhelming for you I hope you know you have support here, I'm sending lots of positive strength your way. Hugs
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to Lymie61
sunset38 May 10, 2019
Thank you so much for your reply! I agree, I'm being very careful about bringing my mom to her "home" while I clean it out. It just can't happen! Today when I spent time w/ her and took her out she said that she'd like to go home and she would not cry about leaving. I know better, I'll never get her out! I do like your suggestion and I will keep bringing her things to her from the house on each visit while I'm here! Honestly, I will not even drive her past the neighborhood, I go behind it so she can't see it. This is so sad...
I will somehow mark her charger w/ some cute duck tape and maybe buy some monogram initials for her phone, or something of that nature! Thanks for the "recognition" ideas!!
Your profile says that your mother has dementia. In that case, it might be that she is misplacing her phone and charger and then can't find it. It's also possible that others take it by mistake, but, if the staff are finding it amoungst her things, then I would suspect the former. In order to avoid her continuing to get upset, I'd come up with reason that phone has to be removed. It might need to be taken away for repair or lost permanently. Because, losing things and becoming distressed over it, is not uncommon with people who have dementia.

Have you discussed her distress with the staff? How to they perceive her ability to relax and adjust to the facility? Are they able to meet her needs there?

I'd likely discuss her condition with her doctor to see if she could benefit from medication. My LO used to cry a lot and was very worried and upset, until she went on a daily med for depression and anxiety. It really helped her become more content.
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Reply to Sunnygirl1

I agree that perhaps she does not need a phone. She can't keep track of it and that will not improve. She probably wants to keep it so could she follow instructions to keep it in a certain place? Like a pouch on her person? I know, probably doubtful.

I agree that maybe she is a little too anxious and might need something to calm her down a little bit so that she doesn't get so upset.
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Reply to againx100

I would find a lock box that can be put over the plug and needs a screwdriver to remove. Then I would buy a bright green or yellow fingernail polish and paint that cord, so we know it's moms, as no one else has one like it. Black just disappears in a bag, I loose items in my purse all the time. So making it hard to put away and easier to see will help.

I think that she is obviously declining and she is scared. She may need a check up and she may need a higher level of care. At this point in her life things will change and because you are a safe person you will get the calls.
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Reply to Isthisrealyreal

Even a child with siblings has it ALL thrown on them. I am the oldest of 3 surviving children. The other two are boys. I am the one who stayed in same town as my parents. So the one who they leaned on. The one who cleaned out a 125 yr old 4 bedroom house. So, been there.

Is there a reason for Mom to have a phone? Because, it seems more of a problem. It really isn't fair that staff has to constantly hunt for it. ALs don't have or need the staff that LTC facilities have. Hunting for Moms phone is taking time away from other residents. Is Mom on any meds for anxiety? She may need something. Her calling you is going to get worse. It may be time to "lose" the phone. But if you do "lose" it make the staff aware so they don't go looking for it. My daughter says when this happens where she works, they have to investigate a "lost" phone.
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Reply to JoAnn29

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