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Just lost my dad 3 months ago. My mom (86 yrs.old) is living at home alone now. She has memory lapses from time to time, but sometimes I think she is in the first stages of dementia--not Alzheimers. She insists that my younger brother and his wife have gone in her house when she was at the hospital with my father and rifled through papers and stolen policies, jewelry, and coins. She complains to me daily about this situation. I have suggested she go talk with someone before this drives her crazy. Well, she hasn't. Last weekend she openly accused both my younger brother and his wife of theft. My older brother has pleaded with my mom to have a change of heart, because the younger is so kind-hearted that he would give you the shirt off his back. Now, the younger brother is extremely upset that his mother can think so lowly of him. He doesn't want to go visit her when he feels he is not loved. My older brother says she has lost a son, and he is on the younger's side in this. My older brother is so upset that he says he isn't even going to put up a Christmas tree this year for the family holiday celebration. Then my older brother says that I will have to be the peace-maker and try to get my mom and my younger brother back together in order to hold this family together. I don't know what to do! This has me so upset my health is being affected. Both brothers live in the same town as my mom. I live in another state, so I cannot be there 24/7 to follow my mom around. I feel torn into pieces.

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The whole family is in denial about mom's mental condition. All the hurt feelings will probably fade when mom gets to a gerontologist, neurologist, or at least her doctor. Dementia is a general term. Saying someone has dementia in their brain is like saying you have flowers in your garden. It says something, but not much. It's more clear what is there if you learn what type of flowers, and what type of dementia. Accusing people of stealing is a COMMON byproduct of the diminishing abilities of a degenerating disease. Quit trying to reason with her and getting your feelings hurt. Get her diagnosed, learn about whatever type of dementia she has and move on with your new reality. Dad died recently. After one partner is gone the impairments of the remaining spouse come to light. This happens a lot. The family needs to adapt. Mom can't, and she is likely to get worse. Who has Power of Attorney? Look up the Alzheimers Association. She may or may not have Alzheimers but there is the place to start. Read through prior posts here and see how often stealing comes up as an issue. The first step in this new journey is to learn about what you are now dealing with. Your attempts so far are making things worse because you don't understand the situation. Open your eyes, get over the denial and deal with her and your new reality. It's hard. We know. If you need advice about further medical/mental issues, and have concerns we can help support and advise you. Good luck.
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Vegaslady is right on.

I know it's hurtful to your brother to be accused of stealing from your mother and I think it's fine that the older brother take up for the younger brother but your mom has dementia and that is the big picture. Of course your brother didn't steal anything and I'm sure that the mom he knows would never accuse him of such a thing but people with dementia accuse loved ones of stealing all the time. It wouldn't be dementia if the person didn't accuse at least one family member of stealing.

Your brother(s) needs to learn about the illness. It's not personal, it's the disease and the family becoming all upset over who said what to whom isn't helping your mom or your stress level. If your brothers can't bring themselves to learn about this your family will implode and all that will be left is your mom, standing alone, in the middle of family wreckage.

People with dementia obsess and it's enough to drive someone crazy. They accuse family members of all kinds of things and they accuse strangers of all kinds of things and they are very persuasive because to them it's very real and not a made up story that originates from a diseased brain.

Your family has to get some understanding pronto before it's destroyed.
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A care manager is a great idea. However, you want her seen by a DOCTOR first to rule out medical conditions that may mimic dementia. You want to make sure that she gets a real evaluation and not the "who's the president, what day is it, where are you" thing that some docs seem to thing is an adequate diagnostic tool. If possible, you want a doc who is board certified in Geriatrics. And when someone tells you that being old is not a disease, why do you need a specialist, point out that they took their babies to a pediatrician. Elderly bodies are different.
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Your older brother says that YOU have to be the peacemaker? Why? Why doesn't he do it? He's in-town. Honestly, it's just easier to deal with the person to their face. It will be easier for him to go over there than for you do to it by phone.

Now, with that said, I don't mean to dump absolutely everything onto the ones in-town, but this is one of those things best done face-to-face. And, being the oldest, he might have some clout with her (I say this being the oldest - this just works in my family).
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Torn I feel for you. Your role is to be the information gatherer and disembark right now. That's the only way you and your brothers will have any peace. After you've gathered information on dementia and false accusations, you need to get your brothers on a conference call if an in person meeting isn't feasible. You tell what your research has turned up, that false accusations of family members is extremely common in dementia. That it's really important to get mom to the right kind of doctor and rule out other stuff, get an accurate diagnosis and make sure that mom has properly executed medical and financial POA. I assume that being in town, they take her to doctor's appointments. Do some research on geriatric doctors in mom's area and save them some time. Good luck, and let us know how it's going.
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I am accused of stealing from mom pretty much every day now. Starts with "why would you do this to me when I would gladly give you whatever you needed"' along with fires my boyfriend sets and be hitting her. It's a nightmare. Welcome the world of dementia.
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I am sorry for your recent loss of your father, but your brothers need to take your mother to a neurologist to have her tested because she has symptoms of dementia. The stealing is just the beginning of paranoid behaviors that one can display with dementia. Get her some help at home too because she may not do well being left alone. Your father probably covered up how bad her symptoms were and now you know. Get her the help she will need.
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I know this (false accusation of stealing) is very common... I have seen this happen in my wife's family, with her aunt.

But remember, *lots* of people DO steal from their aging parents. My brother stole all of my father's assets and no one really knew about it until later, as he had lived with my father and was on his accounts.
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Depression (and your mom just lost your dad) often mimics dementia so everyone is correct and your mom should see a doctor. Please, please, please, do not let a doctor diagnose with the "who is the President question". I could not agree more! Sometimes, after a Dementia diagnosis, some doctors will go no further and many health conditions will be ignored and chalked up to Dementia rather than addressed and mitigated. Now, for the he said, she said, and hurt feelings. Sometimes it takes a while to understand what your mother is going through, and in retrospect (soon I hope) you and your family will laugh about it. Realize that you and your brothers are the grown-ups now and you need to take care of your mother because she is lost (hopefully it is just the changes her life is going through right now). If you think accusing your brother is bad, wait until other caregivers get into the picture. People do steal from the elderly, but I don't think the elderly really notice when the big things are being stolen. That is why you, or your brothers, need to sit down and have a serious money/inventory discussion with your mom so a responsible POA can help her keep track of what she has. The POA should also keep everyone informed as to any decisions he/she makes with respect to possessions, money, care, etc., to avoid misunderstandings your mom will generate in the future.
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If you have a doctor who gives your elderly parent the "three question test" then your doc doesn't know what dementia is. You need a doc who is going to assess not just memory and orientation but reasoning skills.
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