Hi, my mother has dementia(89) and walking with a rolling bag around her apartment complex occasionally picking up other people's UPS packages and bring them back to her apartment. For the past 2 weeks, she is taking magazines and candy from Target and a local Walgreens. She has a caregiver with her, but she will still steal and deny it or doesn't remember. She has money. So that's not a reason. Her apartment complex management has this on video and threatened to get police involved because of missing packages. Any suggestions? Thank you.

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Its time for Mom to be in an AL or MC. She should not be left alone at this point. There is no reasoning with her because of the Dementia. The management can evict her. So time to make some big decisions.
Helpful Answer (14)

Histoboy, I see from your profile that your Mom is living a regular apartment complex just from what the complex management had said, as that is usually not how controlled Independent Living complexes would handle such a situation.

How many hours is the Caregiver with your Mom? Does your Mom walk around the apartment building on her own? She may think she is tidying up the hallway.

In this type of situation, it may be time to move your Mom to a controlled Living complex where packages are kept at the front desk and not placed in the hallways where a senior could trip over or run into a package with their walker. This is one phase that will soon pass and be replaced by something else... [sigh].
Helpful Answer (13)

Yes, looks like it's time to move.

And what's up with the caregiver? They need to pay much better attention so mom is not stealing things. Not many will be forgiving of her dementia. Knowing she is doing this, maybe she should not be in the stores. Just have caregiver take her for a walk in the park instead.
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OldSailor Sep 2020
I eliminated most of this with Luz by putting her in a wheel chair and pushing around the stores. She loved it. she could window shop and see people. I also allowed her to straighten the shelves as necessary. I never let her go for a walk without me being with her.
I had alarms on all of the doors that would let me know if she tried to get out. It included a pager that I wore around the house.
It sounds like it's an either or situation: nursing home (AL MC) or jail?
Maybe you can help by moving her into a facility, before she is jailed, especially since it sounds like she is shoplifting and stealing packages in the presence of a caregiver?
Most definitly get her relocated b/4 she is evicted.
Helpful Answer (5)

Hi Histoboy,
I hate to say this but you need a better caregiver. Unacceptable that you have someone who should be helping the situation but is actually not at all. I think you can start there first nothing to drastic right away. Have you tried talking to her about the consequences of her taking the packages? You may have to think of something outrageous about what could be in those packages. Think of something she hates and maybe try that. As far as the bottles where is she getting them from? Is she just picking them up from around the building or buying them? I’m going to say this again please if possible get another caretaker who can speak with her regarding right and wrong. Sometimes little things could work for now. Just try it, it can’t hurt good luck.
Helpful Answer (3)

So your mom is doing all of this while in the company of her caregiver? You need to find a better caregiver!
Helpful Answer (3)

She can not be left alone any longer.
She needs to be accompanied when she goes out on a walk, she needs to be accompanied when she goes to the store.
I went through the same thing with theft with my Husband. Many things I was able to return to the store if I was unaware that he took them while I was with him.. Often I would "frisk" him at the store door and remove items from his pockets and would return them to the security guard or at customer service.
If there was something that I was unaware of when we got home I would return the next day, ask for a supervisor I would explain the situation and return the item(s).
If her caregiver is with her at all times I would have a conversation with the caregiver about what is expected of them. Monitoring your mom and what she picks up is high on the list of priority. If it continues then you will have to curtail moms outings. And it should be the responsibility of the caregiver to return each package picked up if she/he does not stop it while it is happening.
Helpful Answer (2)
ToniFromRVA Sep 2020
The caregiver should not allow LO to take any type of bag or device for collecting with her on walks. LOs can be sneaky @ times if not watched like a hawk. It could also cause a scene & anger towards the caregiver if LO doesn't want to give up the item. You can't reason with LO. It is time for closer observation of LO(change of caregiver if they can't manage LO, checking LO before exiting store, increased observation, stop taking LO to stores, & if it can't be accomplished then Memory Care Placement is an excellent option.
If she is accomplishing all these thefts while in the care of someone, she is not being adequately watched. If she continues with the stealing, she's going to end up being arrested and her mental health would be sorted out after the fact. So she would probably sit in a jail cell until bailed out. That is not where she needs to be. Especially if she manages to appear completely coherent - which is very common for dementia patients. I would say it's time for a more controlled environment - facility care.
Helpful Answer (2)

"She has a caregiver..."

The full sentence appears to imply the caregiver is with her during shopping trips, HOWEVER, if she has a caregiver, WHY is she being allowed to wander about the apartment complex and WHY is she being allowed to take items there or in the store and not pay for them?

What is wrong with this picture? Mom isn't capable of restraining herself and SHE will be the one to pay for it, by getting evicted and/or charged - on top of that, WHO is in charge? Someone has to hire and pay for this "caregiver" and the apartment. THAT person can likely be held responsible as well. Apt complex mgmt is aware of the problem and has threatened police involvement - WHO did they threaten, you? If you are the "responsible" party, BE responsible!

Another, better caregiver is needed AT THE VERY LEAST. Since this would involve some kind of show down with mom, to prevent her from taking items, it may be the only solution is to find a suitable MC facility. Those with dementia are NOTORIOUS for taking items. To them it isn't stealing, they just don't know any better.

But a caregiver AND a responsible party should know better.
Helpful Answer (2)

I am guessing that she doesn’t have a full time care giver since she is out on her own making the rounds of her apartment building hallways! The apartment building management sounds a little draconian, but they have to protect their residents. Your moms caregiver may be hesitant to “frisk” her or be more aggressive in asking her if she shoplifted while out in public, if your mom becomes agitated or accusatory. She may not want to,
or necessarily should, carry the burden of preventing or solving your moms “theft.”

it may be time to consider a full time caregiver or assisted living.
Helpful Answer (1)

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