My mother thinks people are stealing from her and and threatens to kill them or burn down their houses. How can I ensure her safety and those around her?

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My 75-year-old mother is able to live on her own, but she's become hateful and paranoid. She thinks people are stealing from her--even when there is proof that it did not happen. She accused me of stealing picture frames from her house even thought I had bought them from Target and had the receipt! She thinks others also steal from her--threatens to kill them or burn down thier house. Insists police invesigate and gets upset when nothing is done. No one has taken anyhting from her. What action can be taken to ensure her safety and those around her?

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It doesn't sound to me like she should be living on her own. Her paranoia could be part of Alzheimer's - if she hasn't been diagnosed, she needs to see a doctor. Even if she has been diagnosed, she should be evaluated to see if she needs a medication change.

If this behavior came on suddenly, she may have an infection, she could be having a medication reaction or an interaction - any number of things. She really needs to see a doctor and then you can let the doctor know about her behavior. She could do herself or someone else damage (which you have already figured out).

Good luck. This is tough,
Carol
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Keep an eye on that lady!

My grandmother was 90, living alone in her tiny coastal town where she'd lived her entire life. Refused to move! She had always been "colorful", independent & very capable. The orignial organic gardener, canner, salmon smoker, etc..
Could shoot a skunk off her back fence from 50 yards.

As she aged, became frail & ditzy, we arranged for Meals on Wheels to be delivered daily from a neighboring town. It was working out nicely for several months ... until a substitute driver arrived one afternoon.

BAM! Tiny little Grammy was on the porch aiming her 22 rifle at the poor guy! Sheriff's deputies arrived & were able to calm her down. Her husband, my grandfather, had been sheriff of the county for 20 years so she was familiar with the uniform & they her..

Still didn't stop her from kicking up a horrible fuss! It took tow large guys to place her in the back of the patrol car. I don't know how she did it since rear doorhandles of police vehicles are usually disable to prevent prisoners from escaping, yet she menaged to scramble out! Maybe she hopped over the front seat when the deps thought she'd settled down.

Story was they had to chase her down in her large garden, finally locating her hiding in the garden shed. When I closed down her house weeks after the incident, I found several other weapons in that shed. She must have tired out ...

Taking all 90 pounds of that small firey lady into custody became another family legend in that small community.

Our situation turned out all right after the initial scare. (20 years ago) She spent a couple weeks in the state mental institution & ended up in a large adult family home. She felt it was an extension of the boarding school she'd attended as a child so the scroungy place worked out fine.
Recently the owners were busted for embezzlement. Another story, but do check any privately owned group home before placing a parent.
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This is definitely the place for my mom's story. She refused to go back to a neurologist my brother and I took her to, because she saw where a secretary had written "dementia" in the margin of her lab result. She has always been a Jekyll/Hyde personality, but now she is very paranoid and delusional, it's always directed against the woman closest to her. In her last 2 condos, it was the manager or the upstairs neighbor. Unfortunately, I moved her next door into my rental house when the police department of her town called me and suggested I Baker Act her (involuntary psych exam with up to 72 hours holding). Friends told me that wouldn't do any good, they are always released and then they are really POed. Sure wish I'd given it a try!
So predictably, now I am the enemy and I have someone bad-mouthing me everywhere to anyone who will listen (yes, she's still driving). We had estate planning done before she began directing all her venom at me, but recently she has been moving her money around, so I don't know which banks it's in and her accounts are no longer in the name of the trust, so I can't control the assets even if I could figure out a way to gain control other than custodianship. Does anyone here have experience with the Baker Act procedure? I'd love to get her assigned somewhere appropriate. She will never cooperate with meds- she's always believed she is smarter than everyone else and is contemptuous of other opinions.
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My mother is only 63 and increasingly accusing people of stealing from her. But I also think she has a personality disorder, like borderline, bipolar, anxiety, depression. She lives on her own, 8 hours away, has no medical insurance, and I can't 'make' her go to the doctor for a diagnosis. What do I do????!?
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rvf,

Do you go visit? Can you plan on spending some time with her - a week or so? If the answer is yes, here's what you can do ...

1. Contact the local Alzheimer's Assoc. or Alliance on Aging for her area. Ask to speak to someone about how to get your mom to the doctor. What they advised me to do is tell her that you have an appointment, and you would like her to go with you. Encourage her to go for another reason ... thyroid, routine mammagram, high blood pressure, anything you can think of.

2. Another option is a doctor who makes house calls. Ask the Alliance on Aging - they can often recommend someone. If you can discuss the situation with the doctor, and make arrangements to have him come "visit" while you are there - they are trained to recognize and deal with dementia type symptoms.

Someone advised me to call my state elder-care representative, which is how I got all this information. Try searching it on Google - see what comes up. Hope this helps.
~FyreFly
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thank you! i may be going to visit, but under a week. i will make these calls now and see what i can accomplish.

my counselor thinks she has borderline personality disorder, and is delusional, and may have some dementia. like you said, she MUST be evaluated professionally.
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This is all reminiscient of my Great Aunt. She is 96 and yes, she lives alone. Most of the time she is fine, pays her own bills, calls for repair people when needed, etc. She has not seen a doctor in what has to be 25 years or more. When we suggest it she says all she wants is to die, "it is time already". The problems started when I moved away from her home. She has no children of her own and after my Uncle passed away my Aunt and I took her food shopping and running her errands. This went on for a couple of years until she caught my Aunt and her family stealing from her, and yes, they were stealing. They would take things from her home. From that point on I was really her sole caregiver. My career took me to Altnata which was supossed to be flexible enough for me to get back there and turned out not to be. She was fine for a while, with my Brother in law shopping for her and then all of a sudden one day she called and accused him of stealing from her, buying things on the grocery bill with her money, taking silly things like note pads and pencils. We started to get concerned and then I got a call. She told me that the nieghbor had stolen the motion light bulb from her backyard. Keeping in mind that would require someone to get a ladder over her locked backyard fence, I tried to make her see how silly it was, but she insisted. The next time my Brother in Law went to see her, she walked him in the backyard to show him the missing bulb but nothing was missing. When she spoke to me about it she told me that they "must have gone in the yard again and replaced the bulb with a different bulb because the "new" bulb was not as bright. This is sarting to get scary but she refuses to leave, sell her home,or see a doctor. She says we will take her out of the house feet first and no other way. Incidents like this are becoming more frequent but most of the time she is completely lucid. We dont want to alienate her, as we are the only family she has but both my Parents and myself are starting to wonder how much longer it is safe for her to be by herself. She has plenty of money and as far as we know her health is fine. I know this has been wordy but I wanted to make sure I covered it all. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated
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In your situation, I am afraid you have little or no options ... until your Great Aunt reaches what they call a "crisis-event."

Do you or someone in your family have a POA for her? This can be a springing POA, which goes into effect in the event of her incapacitation - can be helpful in managing bills and such, but in all honesty, I've found that it is largely ineffective when attempting anything else. For instance, it will not allow you to "force" your aunt to see a doctor, and can be revoked at any time (in absense of proof to the contrary), as long as your aunt is "of sound mind." But it does help to have some of these questions answered in advance. You may wish to talk to your Great Aunt about a Medical POA - which will allow you to follow her wishes in the event of a medical emergency. Be very sure what type of POA you want - there are four different types:

Power of Attorney - regular POA becomes void when the person becomes incompetent.
Springing POA - only goes into effect once the person is incapacitated.
Durable POA - can be made effective immediately, and once the person is "incompetent," cannot be changed (stays in force).
Medical POA - only deals with Advance Directive(s) and authorizes a specific individual to make medical decisions for the person.

All POAs must be signed with two witnesses, or notarized - you can go through an attorney, or get a reasonable and legally valid one from RocketLawyer.com.
~FyreFly

If this were my aunt, I'd try to encourage her to sign the Durable Power of Attorney (just in case), and then get a list of people whom I could count on to check up on her routinely - a neighbor, someone from the church, or if she qualifies, in-home support services available through social services (Medicaid), and keep their phone numbers handy.

After speaking to my attorney and other counsellors, I was told that I could not step in (even with a POA) until my Mom suffered a "crisis-event" (i.e. a medical emergency requiring immediate intervention). Then, you can request a conservatorship, which makes you responsible for the well-being of the person - you must report all expenditures to the courts, and submit medical/housing requests through the court examiner.

You might be able to convince your aunt to allow someone to live in? A person who gets paid, or who receives free room and board in order to take care of your aunt? Her paranoia may prevent her from accepting someone she is unfamiliar with. Is there a family member you trust who could stay with her? Perhaps if she thought they needed her help?

Not sure what else you could do, being where you are. God bless you.
~FyreFly
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This seems to be a common problem, the paranoia and gradually increasing self-neglect. Wish there were better solutions than have the paper work just in case you can use it, but the paranoia gets in the way of anything reasonable, like get some live-in help.
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My mother in law has always thought people were stealing from her (maids, gardeners etc. she lives in Latin American) She told me recently that one of her grandchildren stole a bottle of perfume and several sets of bed linen. The latest is that now my husband and I stole a suitcase and her track suit during our Christmas visit. She just discovered the "missing" suitcase a couple of days ago. I feel furious and angry and hurt which I know is silly. She is 89 years old, but still I am the only one in this large family who pays any attention to her. I make time to visit, talk to her, take her out and so on. My husband and I are going for another visit in May and I am not sure how she or I will react. When she called to accuse us, she was absolutely furious, totally out of character and claimed that she was in her right mind - a suitcase just doen't disappear, she said. I feel I can't even stay with her and that I should go to a hotel. Am I being ridiculous?
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