How do I respond to my Mom's constant accusations of her assisted living facility stealing her things?

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Yesterday my Mom is sure she had another nearly identical shirt to the one she's been wearing, even though I know she didn't. She is sure someone took it. I don't want to make her angry by denying her memory, but also don't want to implicate the facility in her delusions. She is also hiding and counting her money constantly and sure she had $200 and now only has $40, or remembers a check she got and where is the money? I knew she'd start this when she started spending the money and I try to reassure her by telling her what she bought. How can I gracefully handle these accusations? It's nearly a daily thing.

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My mom often accuses the staff and other residents of stealing her things. She moved to assisted living almost six years ago, and moved to a memory care wing in February. She has never been terribly organized, and the dementia makes it worse. I have never failed to find an item that she claims has been stolen. When she claims that something has been stolen, I say "well, before we notify the nurse, let's see if we can find it somewhere". Just yesterday, she had only two of the five double-sided colored pencils that I took her the week before to use with her new coloring book. I found one on her chairside table, one in a dresser drawer and the fifth one in her little drop-leaf desk. In the meantime, I returned two clothing items to the proper drawer. It helps that I have sharply down-sized her possessions. It makes it easier to find missing items.
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Carol0603, she has anxiety and may be dreaming of people taking her things (like scrooge in A Christmas Carol). For elders, dreams get mixed up with reality, they cannot differentiate dreamt from actual. Treat the anxiety first, see if that offers some relief.
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Also, if the facility does laundry, I assume every piece of her clothing is marked?

Things do go missing in facilities; my aunt had that problem. It was very distressing that some of her possessions were being stolen. She had no dementia, just physically couldn't care for herself.
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There's another option for addressing missing items. I assume that you've inventoried everything brought in, and if you do her laundry, you inventory that if you remove it and launder it elsewhere? It's time consuming, but if you do that you can determine if any clothes are actually going missing. She can help you prepare the inventory by describing the clothing, in her own words.
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This behavior is typical in some kinds of dementia. (Which is not to say it proves your mother has dementia ... just that it is suggestive.)

Responding is a fine line between not arguing with her and also not agreeing that there is theft going on. Tough! Be sympathetic and reassuring. "Oh Mom, it must be so frustrating to not have as much money as you think you should have! Let's just stop and think what could have happened to it. I know you spent $40 last week when we went shopping ..." You can also promise "to look into it" or to "report it to the director" etc.

"Hmm ... I don't remember another shirt like this one, but I'll go to the laundry room and see if I can find it. I know it is easy for things to get mixed up in the laundry. If it doesn't show up in a week or so, how about getting another one?" And then redirect. "I noticed a new art display in the foyer. Let's go down and look at it."

This is definitely not easy!
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Well whatever physician attends the facility then - if it's a medical symptom requiring medical attention. Some facilities have their own, others are happy for residents to remain with their established practitioner. Does it matter?
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Churchmouse

Not to be a mean, but what world do you live in?
GP? He/she will probably want little to do with Carol's mom, especially if it's a hospital GP. Many are glad when people such as Carol's mom are in AL or NH, that way, they don't have to deal with them as much; let the AL or NH deal with them.
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How long has your mother been at the facility, Carol? If it's a recent move, she could be anxious and unsettled, and if she's only saying these things to you then reassure her you'll look into it and give her a while to find her feet. But mention it to her main caregiver at the facility, too, so that if she starts flinging accusations around people don't get their feelings hurt.

If she's a well established resident and these groundless anxieties are a new thing, it's a change in behaviour that needs investigating - report it to her GP.
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Hi Carol. Your profile says your mother has general age related decline. I disagree. Your mother has dementia. To what degree, only a physician (neurologist) can determine.

If you do not already have durable power of attorney, now is the time to get it done along with getting your mom's affairs in order so that you know that she has the resources to continue living in ALF. As dementia progresses, she will need more care and you will need to ensure that she has the means to pay for it.

Learn to redirect your mother when she makes accusations because you cannot reason with her impaired brain. You will find a lot of good videos from Teepa Snow, who is a dementia care expert - on YouTube. Starting your learning process about cognitive decline/dementia now will help you make better decisions later on and prevent a lot of unnecessary stress.
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