My father was diagnosed with vascular alzheimers dementia and mixed dementia 5 years ago. Though, I think his symptoms started at least 15 years ago. He has been declared indecisional. He's in his mid-80s and lives in memory care. I am his guardian. He has lived in MC for 1.5 years.
He has been stealing things. Lots of things... Things that mean nothing to him but may mean something to the other residents and probably mean a lot to their families. He takes silverware from the dining room (large amounts... service for at least 15-20 people); clothes and accessories (socks, shirts, pants, shoes, jewelry, sweaters, jackets, scarves, hats, bags); toiletries (tooth brushes, deoderant, perfumes, colognes, lotions, soaps, combs, etc.); sun glasses; reading glasses; blankets; decorative pillows; picture frames; stuffed animals; decorative plants; etc., anything not bolted down. I visit him once every week. Each time I visit, I deveop anxiety as he goes into his closet because he "wants to give me some things". He will fill up bags of the items he's stolen to give me. He will show me these items, proud to have given them to me. This really upsets, frustrates and confuses me.
As I am leaving, I drop the bags off at the nurses station for them to redistribute the items to their correct locations and owners.
I am disturbed and embarrassed by his behavior. I feel taking things from others is wrong. He sees nothing wrong with his stealing, isn't sorry about it, and thinks having these items is just fine.
Many times I have gently explained to him that these items don't belong to him and I can give them back to the correct owners. He gets upset with me and tells me the items are "his", he "bought them", his "friend gave them" to him, or I "don't appreciate anything he gives me". He has no money in the facility, by the way - and thank goodness for that because I am certain he would give people his money. They also do not go out shopping and there is nothing for purchase inside MC.
The staff is aware he takes things; I have given them permission to go into his room when he's participating in an activity to reclaim items. They never seem to get everything, though. Unfortunately, he keeps re-stealing the same items and taking more. It's a cycle that never seems to end.
Is this a normal behavior for someone with his type of dementia? Does anyone have experience with their loved one doing this? If so, how do you handle it, get it to stop?