Has anyone had money stolen from someone's room in an assisted living facility? - AgingCare.com

Has anyone had money stolen from someone's room in an assisted living facility?


What did they do to help them or make it stop? My mother has been living in an AL for 6 months now. She used to take $50.00 (her allowance) out of her account to use for things that she needed to buy. Twice it has been stolen. The workers at her facility all have master keys that can open their rooms and can go in there whenever they want. Not that they are supposed to of course but if they know the resident is in the dining room, at a special event, out for the day or whatever they know the resident will not know if they went in. Today my mother had $50.00 stolen from her room. She has dementia and a really bad memory and they are taking advantage of the fact that she is not aware of everything that is going on. I was over to see my mother last night and she had $54.00 in her wallet. When I called her this afternoon she only had $4.00 . I knew she hadn't spent it because I am the only person who takes her out and I did not take her out today because I was working so it was obviously stolen. When I talked to the manager she had the attitude that maybe she went out today and spent it. It made me so mad because I knew that wasn't true. So they called the police and we filed a police report. The manager told the policeman that she hadn't gone to breakfast which wasn't true and that no one had been in her room today. What she didn't tell them was that the workers all have keys and could've gone in anytime that she was at breakfast or lunch. I am just so mad about it right now. It is so awful that someone would just go in your room and steal something from you especially a senior citizen. It is elder abuse. She will not have anymore money in her room but we will never find out who the thief is and it will continue happening to innocent people who think their things are safe but are not. After it happened the first time I have been keeping her money with me, but she took some money out of her account without me knowing because she forgot she wasn't supposed to. Does anyone have any ideas on what I should do about this problem?

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Sweetpea, it's because accusing people of stealing is a very serious thing to do. Your mom has dementia. Period. She cannot be trusted to recollect. Nor can she be trusted to do logical things.

You've now accused staff of stealing, you're spreading the word, your damaging their reputation, AND YOU DON'T KNOW. You have a number of people on this thread telling you that dementia patients do very strange things. Instead of giving staff the benefit of the doubt and simply making sure the opportunity isn't presented again, you've chosen to go to war.

She flushed it down the toilet...she gave it away...she threw it away...she tucked it behind a couch cushion in the common room to keep it safe...she stuffed it inside a book or magazine...hid it in the newspaper...she put it on her food tray under a plate...orrrr someone might-have could-have maybe stolen it.

You've already said she doesn't need money there. Don't give her any more. Problem solved.
Helpful Answer (14)

Sweetpeas, thinking things have been stolen is extremely common in dementia. This happens with people who are living in their own homes with no one coming in but family. I know I had $50 (my watch, my glasses, my hearing aid) and now I don't. Someone stole it.

What generally really happens is "I'm worried that someone will steal my X. So I'd better hide it." "Oh no, X is gone. See? Someone stole it!" Sigh. Some of the hiding places result in permanent loss (the tissue box gets thrown out).

Or the person gives it away and forgets that she did. Or she sets it down on the dining table and the equally demented lady sitting next to her gets up to leave, thinks it is hers, and takes it.

Or, of course, a staff person with a master key could be sneaking into rooms hoping to find one or two residents who actually have cash in their rooms.

I wouldn't put money that the staff person did it.

I know a caregiver daughter who bought THREE replacement glasses for her mom's that were "stolen." Eventually 2 of the missing pairs did show up.

I am sorry that this is happening. I am sorry about all aspects of dementia.
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Give her the money in a trust account with the facility. No cash.

I'm not convinced anyone stole it. That sure wouldn't be my first thought with my mom - who also has dementia. I found $800 (in $100's) cut up with scissors and in the garbage can at her house one day. (She always had that 'back money' people talk about.) She didn't remember doing it.

The bank exchanged it after we taped it all back together. A miracle it wasn't just thrown out.
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Sweetpeas, I think that you mom's dementia may be advancing beyond the point where she can handle money.
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Mom is in AL and has a lock box in her closet. She still can't keep track of her money. She ends up hiding it in different places, jacket pockets, purse, you name it. She even lost her Blue Cross cards. I found them in her address book.
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its hard to tell what the elder is up to when your not there . my aunt has a 12 pack of a & w root beer missing . im sure shes giving them to other guests . i s'pect they have quite a black market going on ..
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"Well, she is not that crazy yet to do something like that."

Neither was my mom, Sweetpeas.
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Sweetpeas, if I made you feel bad, I'm sincerely sorry. This is a terrible disease, dementia, and we are not clinicians or experts; were just troops in the trenches, just like you are. We've been here for a while and can only offer what's happened to us. As you've seen, there are people who've been in facilities where there is theft and places where that is not what is happening. Read the responses and decide for yourself which ones fit mom's situation.
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I'm going to assume for the moment that the money was actually stolen. What does your mother need cash money for? By law, at least in ny there has to be a locked drawer on safe in an AL room. Can your mom keep her money there? Whatever she thinks she needs cash for, I would try to arrange to pay for by credit card over the phone.
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Don't feel bad because of comments here! They are based on personal experience or beliefs; certainly not a reflection of you. The rehab my Mom was in for a few weeks was very nice but we were told don't leave money; however, the jewelry most of those elderly women wore would have been of more concern for me.

There were some mobile residents who would wander and go through night stands and things setting around. The nurses were always chasing someone down to check their pockets or walker baskets. One gentlemen collected paper cups! It is just a different world these dear ones live in.
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