My Mother steals small items from her senior living center - she is very aware she is doing this and will not stop. Advice? - AgingCare.com

My Mother steals small items from her senior living center - she is very aware she is doing this and will not stop. Advice?

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These are sugar packets, napkins, items from the med cart. When she is caught by us, she denies it and gets angry. Again, she is very aware she is doing this

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I would just let staff handle it. I'm sure it's nothing new to them and they are trained on how to handled this type of behavior.
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We just put stuff back, mom didn't remember even taking it. No point in starting an argument. Just take the pills , knives , salt/pepper/sugar/ketchup out and don't tell her.
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Leave it alone. Let staff handle it.
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The next time she does that, ignore it. It could be she is doing this to get your attention, even if it is negative attention.

It is so common for some elders to sneak sugar packets into their purses/pockets when dining out. It's a game to them and restaurants don't care as those items are small priced. I bet the senior living center doesn't care, either. Depending on your Mom's age, if she is a child of the Great Depression, she will save these items in case they might run out.
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There are various reasons that seniors take things like that. In fact, even though she may know she's doing it, it doesn't mean she has control over it. She may have no memory of doing it. No wonder she denies it and gets angry. Stop trying to convince her.

Sometimes the brain is not able to make the body behave properly. I would suspect there is some cognitive decline that is causing it. I would not scold her. It's likely not under her control. I might watch for other things though. If she does it in a store, she might get prosecuted. I might discuss it with her doctor though.

If the senior living center is concerned, then I would discuss ways to prevent it. No doubt they have encountered this problem lots of times. It's quite common for people with dementia to misplace items. You might offer to pay a little extra each month to compensate for the items.
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