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My mom has dementia and is in a nursing home. She takes small items that are not hers but are returned later during the week or same day, either by the nurses or myself during the weekend, if she is not agitated. How should a nursing home address this issue? I myself have learned the hard way to be patient and be understanding. Hopefully the Nursing home has better solutions and is understanding to this dementia problem.

I have seen some long-term care homes where they will have an area with some cubbies or shelves with baskets that residents can be directed to when they are foraging for things in other resident rooms. The facility can easily set up this area with things for residents to rummage through. The bins can be stocked with a wide variety of things with different sizes, textures, uses and colors----like broken watches, balls of yarn, scarves, pens, stuffed animals, costume jewelry, tape measures, rulers, etc. You name it! The facility could ask staff or families for ideas of items to include or even to donate things. Maybe the activity department could coordinate the rummage area and collect items and make sure the items are safe enough to add to the rummage area. Then who cares if residents take these items, they can always be returned to the rummage area. Likely, staff and families would be on board with this project because it would help keep residents from going into other resident rooms and taking things.
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Reply to Ombudsman1
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It is not kleptomania, it is the disease of dementia. Many of them do it and the residential living facilities deal with it constantly. If my loved one was in a facility that reprimanded the residents for this, I would find another facility.
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Reply to gladimhere
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Its handled just like you and staff are doing. You cannot reprimand a Dementia patient or reason with them. I don't like that residents are allowed to wander around the halls but they are. A friend of mine couldn't find her husbands shoes. Then she saw a resident wearing them. I took nothing worth anything to Moms facility.
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bo99worrier Mar 13, 2019
Thanks, JoAnn29 for your answer. I initially was worried that the nursing home would not be as understanding but it depends on staff. I hope Kleptomania is just a phase that might go away.
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My mom is in memory care and doesn't take things from others (yet), but they sure do take from her. One lady got into her room and took all of her cosmetics, one got some of her clothes, another is constantly taking her reading glasses. And it's not just the residents - the constantly changing staff does it too. Whenever she has something that the staff thinks she shouldn't, they take it - and it is not given back to me or my siblings, they keep it. I've asked for some of the items back and been told they can't find them. Mom has always been one of those people that misplaces things and won't admit it, preferring to believe that "someone stole it," so this has been a total nightmare. I did the only thing I could think of to do, bought my mom a footlocker and put a pad lock on it. She keeps one key on her cane, which goes everywhere with her, and I have the other. It has given her a little bit of peace of mind.
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OnlyChildAlone Mar 16, 2019
You can actually buy GPS trackers fairly cheaply. Maybe attach a few to some of these things that have grown "legs" and see where they end up.
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It seems to me to be one of the most common things in any care facility, memory care or not, that things are taken and things go missing. If you are supplying things for a Loved One, you may want to start sewing labels into clothing, or otherwise marking their things so that when they are found somewhere else, they can be returned.

As far as your mom taking things, you're doing what you can do by returning them when you find them.

I'm not sure what else could be done but I'm curious if there is a better idea out there.
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Reply to AliBoBali
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My mom & husband do the same thing. Our family calls it ferreting. 😏 Mom picks up pens, pencils & keys. One time she had more than 50 pens & pencils in her purse & once I found her with a set of keys to the facility maintenance room & storage closets. When she moved from memory care to LTC she had a purse full of broken watches. Go figure.
DH will put anything in his pockets: pens, crayons, trash, bits of food, toys, phones, keys, notepads, medical records of other clients. His daycare does a pat down of the known ferrets whenever something goes missing or when they see someone slip something into a pocket or purse.
The staff are wonderful & never scold or make a scene. It is a phase that may or may not pass. I would take home anything that if lost could not be replaced. Otherwise you are doing the right thing returning items you find.
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Reply to Longears
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Sometimes it's not kleptomania. A woman on Mum's floor in MC used to have big house and six children. She spends a good part of each day 'tidying' her many bedrooms. She especially likes to make sure each teddy bear and stuffed animal is nicely rearranged in different rooms.
I also think this is a symptom of boredom, especially in the afternoons. Three women wander up and down the halls and see something interesting. One lady spent 10 minutes examining a box of rubber gloves by my Mum's door. When there is no activity to keep them occupied they find their own.
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Reply to kaptagat
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Nursing staff could approach your Mom and say something like, "You're SO GOOD at finding lost things! I wonder if you could help me? Mrs. So and So lost her------- and I can't seem to find it. Could you look around here while I go look over there. I'll come back and check with you to see if you've had any luck.".... OH, you FOUND it!!!! You're AMAZING! THANK YOU!!!
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Marisky Mar 15, 2019
If only the staff were that wonderful. :(
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If anyone can figure out how to stop this, I would like to know. I don't really care why these people steal whatever they see and want - but they do and it makes me just plain sick. Marking names isn't going to stop them. Have absolutely nothing of any value in the room. I don't know what the facilities do. I would guess nothing because it is like telling the sun never to shine and the moon never to appear.
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gladimhere Mar 15, 2019
It is not stealing. It is the disease.
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I just placed my mom in MC. I was advised to label all her clothes with her name and to not leave anything of value because the residents go “shopping” in others’ rooms. It’s very common, and the reason my mom was kicked out of her PC home,
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