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We live in different states. Things come up missing. A table has been marred. She won’t leave her room, and has locked up things she enjoys.

You have to research the facts. Things are not always as they seem if dealing with an elderly person.

By all means use a camera if it is allowed. A picture is worth a thousand words and will be proof of something occurring or not.

Sometimes items are stolen. Sometimes items are simply misplaced or even thrown out and forgetfulness is common in the elderly.

You could speak to staff such as the social worker and ask her to look into the matter more closely.

Do whatever you need to do to bring clarity to the situation. You are kind and thoughtful to be concerned about your mother’s well being.

Best wishes to you and your mom.
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Reply to NeedHelpWithMom
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By all means, get a camera set up if it will make both of you feel better, and if the ED will allow it. Also keep in mind that nothing is perfect in an AL situation. Things DO go missing from time to time, and oftentimes, the resident herself is the one who misplaces it. If a piece of furniture gets marred, that happens too........because again, when housekeepers are cleaning, things tend to happen. If your mom is not leaving her room and locking things up, it sounds like she's become a bit paranoid.............that happens too.


One time, my mother insisted 'the staff' had stolen a silver heart necklace with my fathers ashes in it. Of all things. But nevertheless........it was 'stolen' and she'd hear nothing to the contrary. She got together with a bunch of the other women in the ALF, who just so happened to ALSO have things 'stolen by the staff'. So they marched into the EDs office to tell him. He'd heard it all a million times before, so he told them what he always tells them: call the sheriff and file a report. So one of the women did just that! The sheriff knocked on my mother's door one evening (with the ED in tow); mom answered the door, turned white as a sheet, said nothing was missing, and slammed the door in their faces.

When I got there the next day, I opened her jewelry box and guess what was lying right there in plain sight? The silver heart necklace with dad's ashes in it. She said "WHERE DID THAT COME FROM?" I told her it had been right there all along!

She STILL to this day talks about the 'nerve' the sheriff had to knock on her door and 'question' her.

You are far away and unable to verify or what I call 'fact check' what's going on in the ALF with your mother. Which is why a camera may be a good idea. But truthfully, you may want to take what she's saying with a grain of salt. They all have stories and very few of them are true. Now, if she's saying she's hurt or something serious like that, THAT is a different story and real cause for worry. Everything else is likely a figment of her imagination.

If she's being harsh & rude to care givers, well........that's not a good thing either, since human nature doesn't tolerate much of that. Perhaps a chat with her about kindness might help? Just a thought.

Best of luck!
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Reply to lealonnie1
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Accidents happen, and the things coming up missing are also a typical story. I have current stories about that and stories of my elders from some years ago. In fact it is a running joke with my partner and I in that his mother always had things go missing and always said "Wilma took it (he cleaning gal)." Now when anything goes missing we say to one another "Wilma took it". When things "go missing in AL" the police often have to be called. It is a huge issue for them. Do speak to them. I am not saying this doesn't happen, but I AM saying it is the more rare thing, where accusations of missing things is very very common. PM me if you want a few stories. Marred tables, of course this can happen. Spaces are small. Cameras would be a possibility but would need to be passed by the ALF for permission; not something you should attempt on your own. Without your being there you cannot know who to believe. But that's just it. You can't know who to believe. These are just "things". The staff is used to accusations, trust me. It's very common.
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Reply to AlvaDeer
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It IS sad that your mother feels unsafe. Nobody can disagree with that. It is incredibly important to any person, being able to feel secure in one's own home, isn't it.

That does not tell you anything, though, about what exactly is going on here. Clothing, make up, cleaning supplies, food, unopened Christmas cards she planned to send.

These are the sort of items it would be easy to lose track of. The lounging pyjamas at the laundry and not yet delivered back. The make up in a different purse. Cleaning supplies she intended to replace because she threw away a dried-up bottle but then forgot all about it.

This is absolutely crucial: I am NOT saying your mother is not telling the exact truth, I'm sure she is. What I'm pointing out is how easy it is to lose touch with the minute detail of what's in your cupboards and where everything has got to.

How long has your mother been living in this ALF? Where was she living before?
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Reply to Countrymouse
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I have been working with the AL director. The director met with staff and was very explicit about the situation. Only one person on staff is allowed to clean her room., to limit the coming and going of staff. But everyone has a key.
My mom has a studio. A lounging pajama is missing. Some makeup, some cleaning supplies. Some food. New Christmas card packs. It’s hard to say when things were taken, because she doesn’t use these things regularly. My Aunt searched for the missing items. My mom had waxed her marble side table , left for dinner, came back and it was marked with something white. I know how diligent she is about her tables. She reported it and was very upset. It’s sad that she feels unsafe. She is not in a Dementia area.
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Reply to babsjvd
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ExhaustedPiper Jan 19, 2020
It does sound like someone is taking things, imo. When you brought up the camera with the directer what did he/she say? Unless it's prohibited I would set one up in your mom's studio since she has wifi. It's her private studio apartment right?

The cameras are fairly easy to set up, and the apps that go with them are fairly easy to use. You can set motion detector and record, so let's say you are not looking at the app, you could still view the recorded footage later.
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Have u talked to the AL. Ask that they check out her room? See what is missing and maybe check out the other residents rooms. Some suffering from Dementia tend to go into others rooms and take things. Mom left her glasses in another room. Would leave her shoes all over.
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Reply to JoAnn29
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I think you need to consider that perhaps your mother has a UTI or dementia. What are you are describing in paranoia.
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AlvaDeer Jan 19, 2020
I am afraid I agree here. I have stories in the last year, two now. And paranoia is exactly what it is. There is so much good mentation, that there is the tendency to believe. And we luckily are able to SPEAK about this, but boy, is it ever a problem.
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Does your mother think that the caregiver is responsible for the missing items and the damaged table, or is that your own suspicion?

Why does your mother think that the caregiver may have taken umbrage, and about what?

In any case, I'd have thought locking away my pastimes and possessions to save them from a vengeful caregiver an odd way to solve the problem. Wouldn't you? This is what makes me wonder if there is some other explanation for what's been happening. I certainly hope so.
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babsjvd Jan 19, 2020
I am thinking she has made an enemy. My mom can be very harsh in dealing with people. I didn’t think she had made an enemy until the table incident. She has always accused people of stealing so its hard to discern what is happening. But things are missing. The AL director took a picture of the table and sent it to me. It’s definitely marked.
The move was very hard on her. Locking up her angel collection that gives her joy , and Not feeling safe is sad
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Let me preface this by saying I am not a lawyer, so my response is based on talking to one along with my mom's in-home care company.
There are pretty strict laws about surveillance cameras and listening devices, and it hinges on what is "a reasonable expectation of privacy." Audio surveillance laws tend to be more strict. For example, it is perfectly fine to put a surveillance camera on your garage for security. Anyone walking down the street in front of your house would not have a reasonable expectation of privacy. However, if the same camera picks up audio of two people walking down the street in front of your house, that would be an invasion of privacy because they would expect their quiet conversation to be private.

I have set up Ring cameras in my mom's home and even her caregivers love them! They are all placed in "public" areas, i.e. not in bathrooms or bedrooms, and I was honest and open with my mom's caregiving company about the cameras. If any individual caregiver had a problem with the cameras, we were happy to switch to a new caregiver. I live 150 miles away, so the cameras have been SO instrumental in allowing my mom to stay in her home for so long.

I would definitely recommend cameras, but do make sure you talk to the AL facility first about them. They may balk at the idea at first and may have specific clauses in your mom's contract that prohibits them, but approach it not so much as spying on the caregivers, but as peace-of-mind for you and a useful tool for everyone.
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worriedinCali Jan 18, 2020
Your example if a camera picking up the audio of 2 people walking down the street would NOT be an invasion of privacy because they are out in public where there is no expectation of privacy.
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I would start by speaking with the social worker or manager.

Have these accusations started suddenly?

If these accusations are an "all of a sudden" thing and mom has previously been content, you might consider getting your momed for a Urinary Tract Infection. They can cause very bizarre behavior in older folks.
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Reply to BarbBrooklyn
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Does she have wifi that can be used in her room? If so you can set up a camera and put an app on your phone and access the camera from anywhere.

Do you think a caregiver is being abusive? If so tell the facility managers immediately.
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Reply to ExhaustedPiper
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babsjvd Jan 19, 2020
No , I don’t think she is being abused.
she does have WiFi. I brought up a camera with the director and she stated she wants to investigate the table incident.
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