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My mother moved out of our house after we did a major remodel for her. She now lives in Florida in a mobile home cross the street from my two brothers. She is 90 years old and her dementia has gotten bad. We were super close, but now when I call her she just yells at me. I called her different friends to fill them in. They all tell me she has told them this grand list of what I stole. They all know it isn’t true. I have emails, receipts to prove all the things she said aren’t true, but should I even bother? It seems that as soon as I disapprove of one thing, (like a painting in her closet she found, she said I stole) she has another outlandish accusation. Like when I visited her a couple of months ago she said I took the sheets when I left and traded them for rags and that I even took a plate. I don’t think I can even go visit her because she gets so upset thinking I am a thief. I would never take one dime from her. Ironically I have spent thousands of dollars on her over the years. Feel really upset I don’t have a mother anymore. One of my brother’s she accuses too. Any advice would be appreciated.

You can not argue with someone who has dementia. They absolutely believe what they are saying is true. You write that everyone she’s told knows it’s not true, so let it go. It’s easier said than done, I know. Everyone on this forum who has watched a loved one sink into the quicksand of this disease and slowly disappear knows exactly what you’re going through. Sending hugs.
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jodall May 2, 2019
It helps to have this support. Thanks for the reminder that there’s no use arguing with someone with dementia. I appreciate your helpful response.
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Let it go. You’ll spend all your time chasing down her tall tales. Even IF someone remotely believed any of it, it won’t be long before her stories get obviously ridiculous
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jodall May 2, 2019
True. I called one of her friends just to let them know that her dementia was getting worse. And her friend told me she had just called her last week and told her a giant list of things that I stole. She said she didn’t believe her and as she continued on they got so far-fetched that, you’re right, she for sure didn’t believe her then. Maybe it was that I “stole”sheets after my visit or I “stole” a plate after I had a sandwich. Thanks for your support. It is very helpful.
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It's very normal for the person the closest to the patient to be blamed for the most. Does she know you are her daughter? I use to deliver medicine to Dementia wards and the patients would always tell me stories about how the nurses are stealing from them (the people they see the most). Honestly, the fact that she recognized you is great. I know its upsetting but you don't have to prove yourself to anyone. Alzheimer's/Dementia is something that's different for each patient and hard for most people to understand, regardless. Does she do it with anyone else? It's normal that when a patient loses/ misplaces something they blame it on others. She's not understanding that she was the one who did it. Most patients don't accept the fact that they even forget things. Anger is a normal stage. Stay strong.
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jodall May 2, 2019
Yes She lashing out at one of my brother’s. They were living together and she kicked him out just because she wants to live alone. She will say he ate his misplaced (or eaten) donut. Mostly saying he stole food. My other brother can do no wrong. I’m happy she loves one of us. She does recognize me. I tried to call her today but I think she has to charge her phone. I’m going to try to change the subject when it comes to her asking why I stole this or that. Thanks for your encouragement.
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The only thing I can tell you is that this stage will pass.
For whatever reason a person with dementia can become attached to only one person and they can single out one person to become very angry with.
Make sure brothers get her tested for a UTI. As strange as that sounds, a UTI can cause dementia like symptoms while it may not cause symptoms you would expect like frequency of urination or burning. The only way you would know is a simple pee test. An antibiotic would be needed. A UTI can be toxic.
I’m sorry you are having to deal with this. The spoken word, true or not, is powerful.
It’s good that your family knows she is ill.
edit: how do you react? With compassion if possible. Come here to vent. We understand.
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jodall May 2, 2019
Thanks. We did get her tested for a UTI and she doesn’t have one. She is going to a neurologist next who specializes in memory issues.
I’m going to call her today and try to be compassionate and avoid conversations that talk about me stealing. It’s hard to do because she keeps asking me why I took this or that. I thing is is the things that she says I stole are right in front of her she just doesn’t remember what they look like. Thanks for the encouraging words.
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I'm so sorry this has happened to you.

I'm sorry your mother is so frightened and angry, too; but at least that's not something you or anybody else did to her.

The pain and grief that you have because of losing your relationship with your mother is a big issue that will take time to address. Meanwhile, though: your mother is living in a mobile home close to your brothers? Hey, that doesn't sound any too safe. Hadn't the three of you, you and both brothers, better get together and work out a care plan for your mother?

I don't know if it's any consolation for you that at least one of your brothers now understands what you've been going through. It does, at the very least, make you safer from any potential misunderstanding of the accusations your mother has been making.

For the time being I think it would be the right choice not to go and see your mother if it leads only to confrontation and aggression on her part. I know you're the one who gets lashed out at, but she is the one feeling the fear and anger - all the more reason not to go, it doesn't do either of you any good. I hope this won't be forever or even for very long, necessarily, just until things are more under control.

Does your mother get any medical, psychiatric or other professional input? Have any recommendations been made about her care?
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jodall May 2, 2019
Thank you for your helpful response. My one brother was living with her and she kicked him out because she wanted to live on her own. So he lives across the street. She can do daily tasks and keep the house clean, personal hygiene and does well with cooking and everything. But she continues to be paranoid that people steal from her. Just one brother gets accused besides me. You’re right it is better that I don’t visit there now. She is going to a neurologist next week that specializes in memory. Her regular physician recommends that she goes. She is taking two types of pills for Alzheimer’s. Hopefully the new doctor will make sure that her medication is in balance. Between my two brothers they check on her about six times a day. In a few weeks she’s going to have a caregiver come Twice a week to bring her shopping and help her with laundry and other tasks.
I have brought up the next stage where she may need to go to a nursing home but both brothers would rather have her live with them then put her in a nursing home. She wants attention desperately so I think that need contributed to her big stories. She wants people to feel sorry for her. Thanks for your insight.
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These seem to me to be a direct product of her dementia.
When my grandmother became ill, she turned on my dad, accusing him of throwing human waste on her property.
Previous to this, she had dearly loved him all the years head beenher son-in-law.
As her dementia increased, she forgot her accusations and became peaceful towards him.
Sometimes it’s hard to remain focused on the widespread damage that dementia does to even very close, very dear relationships.
Whether you attempt to “prove” that you didn't steal from her, or ignore what you are told she has said, it makes NO difference to her, and in the long run, no difference to the sadness you feel about it.
If you are able to forgive her and realize that it is her ILLNESS TALKING, NOT the loving soul you have begun to lose to her disease, I promise you that you will ultimately find yourself at Peace.
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jodall May 2, 2019
Thank you for the very helpful and kind words.
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I, too, like many of the other caregivers, was in the same boat. My once stable, grounded, and intelligent mom became paranoid and distrustful once Alzheimer's was in full swing. In a book I wrote about it, "My Mother Has Alzheimer's and My Dog Has Tapeworms: A Caregiver's Tale," I have chapters entitled, "Steel Yourself for Stealing," and "Paranoia Can Annoy Ya." At first, I tried to reason wit my mom. When she accused "coffee thieves" of coming in a second story window to steal her coffee, I reminded her that she just drank a cup (of decaf), but since she didn't remember doing that, the only "logical" explanation was that someone came in and siphoned it out of her cup. When she accused someone of trying to put poison in her cup of coffee, I offered to drink it to prove otherwise, but it just escalated the situation, so I went in the kitchen, banged around some pots, poured her coffee into another cup, and she said it was delicious. I learned to think on my feet, and get rid of logical thought when necessary. It's so counter-intuitive, but it was our "new reality." At first, her insults really hurt my feelings. We had always gotten along so well. Sometimes my husband would mouth, "It's not really your mother," and he was so right. You just have to view your mom's insults as the disease talking, and not her. Best of luck.
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vicky64 May 4, 2019
M folks are gone on ahead now, but when they had an accusation, it became the 'norm' that we had to think on our feet, so to speak!!
I love your way of 'fixing' her coffee!!  If we can get into their head and figure out where they are coming from, then sometimes that makes it easier to handle and also helps us realize, again, that this person is not the real person we love!!
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My mom has done this for over ten years. No dementia. She has a hoarding problem. Very suspicious of my sister Ian's I once when we cleaned her home. (We did NOT grow up that way in filth). Now while in hospice for renal failure, and other issues that impact blood flow and clear thinking, I think, she blames everyone about the loss of even trash envelopes. All I can say is hang on. Best wishes.
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gdaughter May 4, 2019
Do not feel badly...hoarding is a national health problem yet to be fully recognized I think.
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Unfortunately your issues with mom seem to be pretty common. My mom has dementia but thankfully (knock on wood) her illness hasn't gone in that direction. If you start reading more posts on here you'll notice that people in your situation usually have siblings that take mom's side. It's great to hear that your brothers are on your side and close enough to mom to check up on her. Hopefully things will change in regards to her paranoia. I had an older friend (70) that started telling everyone her daughter was trying to poison her. This started right after she started taking a new medication for her dementia. They changed meds and her paranoia went away. Unfortunately her dementia staid the same but she was a lot happier it seemed without the meds.
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jodall May 2, 2019
Thank you for your response. It may be awful but I like to hear other people that are having the same problems. It makes me not feel so alone. I called her on the phone today and she literally yelled at me for the first 15 minutes about stealing. She hung up on me three times but I kept calling back. I was able to get past the accusations finally and hear about how she was doing. At the end of our conversation I told her I loved her and she told me she loved me. She hasn’t told me that in three months.
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We went through that with mom - my sister stealing anything mom couldn’t find. It escalated to anything she noticed that didn’t look right had to assign blame and was often negative. Very hard. But every friend told me this is a phase and there is the other side. It’s true. She stopped accusing everyone of stealing or doing things in her home etc etc. Someone else brought up meds and I will add that codeine made mom hallucinate. To this day she firmly believes the crazy stuff she saw and only gets angry when we poke holes in her story to try and reason and reassure her. Hang in there - its the awful Dementia not mom. One more thing. We got rid of her AARP newsletter which is filled with useful information on how to avoid scams including being taken by family members. All these would cause great fear in mom and some stories became her reality. So if possible have your brothers bring mom to your place for visits so mom cant accuse you of taking anything when at her house. Or take her out for drives. This is what my sister started doing during that phase.
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gdaughter May 4, 2019
Isn't that AARP newsletter a trip! And some of these elders take it all in like it is the gospel. I tossed out the last issue I came upon, but I struggled to not waste energy on sending a response to a woman who felt SHE was entitled and all parents should expect their kids to work their asses off for taking care of them because they were their kids and just SHOULD. This feeds into my father's mentality which is what I feel on the one hand is true...family being there for each other...but not to the level of sacrificing your own life and future. And not to devalue the energy and time a child puts in to the point of their own exhaustion. And then AARP is not only for our parents, but WE are the new AARP'ers. In re to the stealing accusations...so many dilemmas...my mom has hidden not only her own wedding ring, but my dad's. It has to be somewhere in this house, but thus far I've had no luck...so I have taken and not made a secret of it...the more valuable or sentimental jewelry pieces...also in light of our having a home care person starting in the next week. Way too easy for anything to go missing, not notice, and/or blame it on the dementia. I tell myself it's better to take and stash the items now then wonder as I am about the rings.
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