How do you deal with a parent who thinks others are stealing her things? - AgingCare.com

How do you deal with a parent who thinks others are stealing her things?

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My mother lives in assisted living and thinks her neighbor resident is stealing her things. Then she hides them, can't find them, and gets really upset, even more convinced her neighbor is stealing. If she confronts her neighbor (verbally, not physically) the facility gets nervous and threatens to kick her out.

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Thank you all for your very helpful advice. I just touched base with the director, and will give her something to calm her when necessary. I didn't think about trying to approach the woman she thinks is stealing from her, because it's hard to get an opportunity when my mom isn't with me. I'm worried that if my mom sees me being friendly to her (beyond a nod and a smile), she'll think I'm being disloyal. Yup, eventually, relocation may happen. Thanks again, everyone!
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I agree that your mom's behavior is quite common with people who have dementia, at least from what I have seen. It's understandable that her accusations would be alarming to other residents who don't have dementia and who are not stealing from her. If medications can't calm her anxiety, then I would discuss the options with the director of the facility and see if they could have their team meet with you to discuss a plan for her. Certainly, this is quite common. From what I have seen there are many residents in Assisted Living facilities who have dementia.

I would ask about how they have dealt with it before and what their expectations are. I'd like to know in advance where the line is and what they intend to do if your mom continues with concerning behavior. I'd rather know up front, so you can make other arrangements if necessary. I'd view the contract to see how much notice they need to give, but also look into how much notice they need IF ANY if her behavior is threatening.

I would also have a backup plan. I would begin to look for places where she may be more comfortable, with staff and setup for residents with dementia. No one wants to relocate, but sometimes, it's an opportunity in disguise.
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This is classic Alzheimer's behavior, not that it makes it any easier to deal with. The person with Alzheimer's gets it in their broken mind that someone is stealing from them so they hide their personal belongings and then when they can't find them they think someone is stealing from them and on and on it goes.

As you know you can't explain this to your mom. I would take pam's suggestion and speak to the Director of Nursing. There may be something that can be prescribed that will lessen your mom's anxiety.

Have you tried to make nice with the neighbor? Explain to him/her that your mom has Alzheimer's and that you're working on a solution so he/she won't be troubled anymore? Sometimes the best defense is a good offense.
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Sit down with the Head Nurse as soon as you can, and ask for help with this problem. Ask about which meds would be helpful in this situation, and review her medical history to be sure there won't be drug interactions. Far better to medicate her than see her kicked out.
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