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Both Parents have Alzheimer’s and making allegations

Carol.Ann

New member
Oct 14, 2021
6
0
I’m new here, and would really appreciate some advice.

Both Mun and Dad have had Alzheimer’s now for 3 years or so. They are at slightly different stages and living in an apartment at present. My sister and I are their main carers, but we do have carers going in once a day to administer their medication, food and a drink.

We have loads, I mean loads of situations to deal with - and thank God we have each other - a little text or phone call to my sister to let off steam really helps. But, we find ourselves in a right predicament atm and would appreciate some advice on how best to deal with it.

Mum has been hiding things over the last year, particularly jewellery and pens, of all things. You can quite often find them in the most unusual of places. Because she can’t remember where she put them, she started to think people have been going into the apartment and stealing them. Consequently, she now asks our Dad to put things somewhere safe, and we have another set of hiding places to search. Quite often, we literally can’t find items they are looking for, and then they suddenly turn up a week later! She will quite often call asking have we been in the apartment and taken something. Usually, oh I know where that it is, I’ll find it for you tomorrow ans lots of reassurance that no one has keys for the apartment and couldn’t possibly have taken anything does the trick.
Recently, Mum has become fixated on the idea that her granddaughter has one of her jewellery boxes at her house with mums jewellery in it. She can literally envisage herself at my niece’s house and seeing it in her bedroom. Even though she hasn’t been there yet (moved into a new house with her partner12 months ago) She believes and can describe the event so well , Dad also now believes it. My sister and I have tried to explain that she couldn’t possibly have taken it and how could they think such a thing of their granddaughter, (probs making things worse- as we are basically saying we don’t believe them) However, my niece is only 23 years old, and Mum has now rang her up at work twice, saying how upset she is and asking when is she going to bring her jewellery back. When my niece explains she hasn’t got it, mum then threatens her with the police. Dad is in the background cursing (very badly) mum for calling and giving my niece the heads up about a visit front the police saying she’ll just hide them somewhere else now. We have tried to tell my niece not to take it to heart and that this isn’t really her grandparents talking, but it must be so upsetting for her and is so difficult to watch as a parent.
We are having the same convo most days now, it’s getting very personal and upsetting the whole family. I’ve read on here that this behaviour often happens, but how is it best to handle the conversation when it comes up? We have now put all her jewellery together in one place and have started a journal and written in there where it is, I really dont feel comfortable saying, oh yes, she’ll bring it back tomorrow, that feels like I am lying and saying yes, I know my niece stole it but we’ll get it back. Change the subject?- but then later that day, mum calls my niece to demand where is it? I really don’t know what to do for the best.
And this is only one of the many challenges we are having - not bathing regularly, not wanting to change their clothes, not throwing out of date food away, not making drinks/snacks for themselves anymore, not really wanting to go out, dads driving license is up for renewal etc etc But the most overwhelming at the moment.
What would you do?
 

NicDim

New member
Oct 12, 2021
3
0
I have no advice as we are so new to this stage of the experience. Where my mother in law started to attack her partner because she thinks he is being abusive (he honestly is definitely far from it) it’s to do with him telling her when she needs to do something etc.

It’s so so hard to listen too. The only piece of advice Iv received so far is to go into their world but can certainly understand how hard it is when it’s accusing family of stealing.
Hope you get some good advice!
 

Bunpoots

Volunteer Host
Apr 1, 2016
5,868
0
Nottinghamshire
Welcome to Dementia Talking Point @Carol.Ann

My dad was exactly the same with my daughter - accusing her of theft over and over and destroying what had once been a lovely relationship. It’s heartbreaking.

Have you tried taking all of your mum’s jewellery and giving it to your niece (if she feels able to play along) so she can “return” it and apologise for “borrowing “ it for so long or something like that? Your mum “knows” she’s right and logic and truth won’t work but a little role playing might…or you could just “return” the jewellery yourself if your niece doesn’t want to be involved - and I wouldn’t blame her - I know my daughter couldn’t face her grandad after what he said and did to her.

My second suggestion is that you remove your niece’s phone number from your parents’ list so that they can’t hassle her and cause even more upset.
 
Last edited:

Midge155

Registered User
Jul 14, 2021
11
0
I’m new here, and would really appreciate some advice.

Both Mun and Dad have had Alzheimer’s now for 3 years or so. They are at slightly different stages and living in an apartment at present. My sister and I are their main carers, but we do have carers going in once a day to administer their medication, food and a drink.

We have loads, I mean loads of situations to deal with - and thank God we have each other - a little text or phone call to my sister to let off steam really helps. But, we find ourselves in a right predicament atm and would appreciate some advice on how best to deal with it.

Mum has been hiding things over the last year, particularly jewellery and pens, of all things. You can quite often find them in the most unusual of places. Because she can’t remember where she put them, she started to think people have been going into the apartment and stealing them. Consequently, she now asks our Dad to put things somewhere safe, and we have another set of hiding places to search. Quite often, we literally can’t find items they are looking for, and then they suddenly turn up a week later! She will quite often call asking have we been in the apartment and taken something. Usually, oh I know where that it is, I’ll find it for you tomorrow ans lots of reassurance that no one has keys for the apartment and couldn’t possibly have taken anything does the trick.
Recently, Mum has become fixated on the idea that her granddaughter has one of her jewellery boxes at her house with mums jewellery in it. She can literally envisage herself at my niece’s house and seeing it in her bedroom. Even though she hasn’t been there yet (moved into a new house with her partner12 months ago) She believes and can describe the event so well , Dad also now believes it. My sister and I have tried to explain that she couldn’t possibly have taken it and how could they think such a thing of their granddaughter, (probs making things worse- as we are basically saying we don’t believe them) However, my niece is only 23 years old, and Mum has now rang her up at work twice, saying how upset she is and asking when is she going to bring her jewellery back. When my niece explains she hasn’t got it, mum then threatens her with the police. Dad is in the background cursing (very badly) mum for calling and giving my niece the heads up about a visit front the police saying she’ll just hide them somewhere else now. We have tried to tell my niece not to take it to heart and that this isn’t really her grandparents talking, but it must be so upsetting for her and is so difficult to watch as a parent.
We are having the same convo most days now, it’s getting very personal and upsetting the whole family. I’ve read on here that this behaviour often happens, but how is it best to handle the conversation when it comes up? We have now put all her jewellery together in one place and have started a journal and written in there where it is, I really dont feel comfortable saying, oh yes, she’ll bring it back tomorrow, that feels like I am lying and saying yes, I know my niece stole it but we’ll get it back. Change the subject?- but then later that day, mum calls my niece to demand where is it? I really don’t know what to do for the best.
And this is only one of the many challenges we are having - not bathing regularly, not wanting to change their clothes, not throwing out of date food away, not making drinks/snacks for themselves anymore, not really wanting to go out, dads driving license is up for renewal etc etc But the most overwhelming at the moment.
What would you do?
Hi Carol.Ann I’m sorry you are going through this horrible situation. I had similar with my mam who lived on her own with her jewellery - it hadn’t escalated to accusations of theft by me but she had 2 chains and her wedding/engagement rings etc and she would literally ‘loose’ them on a daily basis and this would result in a ridiculous amount of manic calls to me saying that she can’t find them etc and she was having none of it when I’d suggest she’d just misplaced them in the house and they would turn up (always thought it was the first time it had happened). They would always turn up but I got to the point where I took the jewellery and kept it out in my house for safe keeping as I knew the situation was only going to get worse and that eventually she would forget about them. It did work and she would occasionally ask about them and I would reassure her that they were safe in my house. It is extremely difficult to deal with the paranoid delusions of our loved ones with dementia and I can’t even begin to imagine how hard you and your sister find it with both parents. Please mind yourselves.
 

canary

Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
16,076
0
South coast
Yes, my mum did this - it is so common that it is almost diagnostic of mid-stage dementia.
What happens is that they move things, forget, think someone is coming in and stealing so they put their precious items somewhere "safe" so that the thief wont find it - which they then forget that they have done, so they think it has been stolen....... And round and round it goes. I found mum gold necklace (her most expensive piece of jewellery) in the tea caddy underneath the tea bags!!

Her being certain that she has seen her jewellery at your daughters is a false memory that seems to your mum like the real thing, called confabulation. It is a symptom of dementia and is caused by the brain "filling in" gaps in the memory. Your mum has no control over this and is not aware that it is happening.

Rather than saying that she is wrong (she wont believe you, because she "remembers" it) try changing the narrative - eg, your daughter was keeping it safe for her, but gave it back. Im afraid that the journal is unlikely to work - she will probably not remember to write it down, not believe what is written, or think that someone else has written it to make her think its there when actually its been stolen!
Try to see if you can keep the jewellery and other important things/documents at your home so you can reassure her that they have not been stolen.
 

Violet Jane

Registered User
Aug 23, 2021
393
0
The first thing to do is make sure that your mother can’t ring your niece either at work or at home. If your mother used a mobile then delete the numbers. If she uses a diary then erase the numbers. Ditto for your Dad if he might give your Mum your niece’s numbers. For everyone’s sanity and to try to preserve family relationships you are going to have to start lying or being creative here. If your Mum asks about your niece / asks for her numbers then just say that her phone is broken / she’s changing jobs or moving house and doesn’t have a contact number at present. It’s sad that you have to do this but your niece is young and you need to protect her.
 

Sarasa

Volunteer Host
Apr 13, 2018
3,891
0
Hi @Carol.Ann , I agree about making sure your mother can't contact your niece, specially if she has her actual work number. My mother was convinced her neighbours were stealing from her, and her explanations as to how they managed it were creative to say the least. Mum had no qualms about banging on the door demanding her false teeth or electricity back, or in phoning the police about them. Like you I didn't want to say anything that suggested her accusations were in any way correct,. One of the neighbours was a teacher and at the time mum would have been capable of phoning up her work with her accusations if she'd found out which school she worked at. What made things trickier was that even when things turned up, mum often didn't recognise them as hers, which made persuading her they hadn't been stolen even more difficult. The police were wonderful by the way and sent round a community officer to try and explain that the neighbours weren't committing hate crimes (mum listened to a lot of radio 4) and that her best bet was to ignore them. That would work for a while, but then things started again. You might find this thread https://forum.alzheimers.org.uk/threads/compassionate-communication-with-the-memory-impaired.30801/ useful in that it gives ways you might be able to distract your mother. Don't beat yourself up if it doesn't work. My mum could hang onto a topic like a starving dog with a bone.
I also agree about making sure important documents are elsewhere. I often used to go to mum's house to find her files strewn about the place as she was trying to find something. If things aren't recognised they can all too easily be thrown away.
Do you have plans as to what to do next? It sounds your parents are on the cusp of needing more help.
 

MartinWL

Registered User
Jun 12, 2020
1,279
0
Would it be a good idea to take the jewellery out of the house for security, maybe say there had been burglaries in the area? Or get a little safe for them, the combination for which she will soon forget? You can then take the line that they are all in a safe place.
 

Fatigued

Registered User
Aug 21, 2021
12
0
I’m new here, and would really appreciate some advice.

Both Mun and Dad have had Alzheimer’s now for 3 years or so. They are at slightly different stages and living in an apartment at present. My sister and I are their main carers, but we do have carers going in once a day to administer their medication, food and a drink.

We have loads, I mean loads of situations to deal with - and thank God we have each other - a little text or phone call to my sister to let off steam really helps. But, we find ourselves in a right predicament atm and would appreciate some advice on how best to deal with it.

Mum has been hiding things over the last year, particularly jewellery and pens, of all things. You can quite often find them in the most unusual of places. Because she can’t remember where she put them, she started to think people have been going into the apartment and stealing them. Consequently, she now asks our Dad to put things somewhere safe, and we have another set of hiding places to search. Quite often, we literally can’t find items they are looking for, and then they suddenly turn up a week later! She will quite often call asking have we been in the apartment and taken something. Usually, oh I know where that it is, I’ll find it for you tomorrow ans lots of reassurance that no one has keys for the apartment and couldn’t possibly have taken anything does the trick.
Recently, Mum has become fixated on the idea that her granddaughter has one of her jewellery boxes at her house with mums jewellery in it. She can literally envisage herself at my niece’s house and seeing it in her bedroom. Even though she hasn’t been there yet (moved into a new house with her partner12 months ago) She believes and can describe the event so well , Dad also now believes it. My sister and I have tried to explain that she couldn’t possibly have taken it and how could they think such a thing of their granddaughter, (probs making things worse- as we are basically saying we don’t believe them) However, my niece is only 23 years old, and Mum has now rang her up at work twice, saying how upset she is and asking when is she going to bring her jewellery back. When my niece explains she hasn’t got it, mum then threatens her with the police. Dad is in the background cursing (very badly) mum for calling and giving my niece the heads up about a visit front the police saying she’ll just hide them somewhere else now. We have tried to tell my niece not to take it to heart and that this isn’t really her grandparents talking, but it must be so upsetting for her and is so difficult to watch as a parent.
We are having the same convo most days now, it’s getting very personal and upsetting the whole family. I’ve read on here that this behaviour often happens, but how is it best to handle the conversation when it comes up? We have now put all her jewellery together in one place and have started a journal and written in there where it is, I really dont feel comfortable saying, oh yes, she’ll bring it back tomorrow, that feels like I am lying and saying yes, I know my niece stole it but we’ll get it back. Change the subject?- but then later that day, mum calls my niece to demand where is it? I really don’t know what to do for the best.
And this is only one of the many challenges we are having - not bathing regularly, not wanting to change their clothes, not throwing out of date food away, not making drinks/snacks for themselves anymore, not really wanting to go out, dads driving license is up for renewal etc etc But the most overwhelming at the moment.
What would you do?
Oh Carol.Anne I feel for you. If I am saying anything that’s obvious, please forgive me. My mum has Alzheimers as well. She also went through the phase of hiding everything as she thought people were either breaking in or indeed a relative was helping themselves to her belongings. Its amazing how good they are at hiding things – such as the TV remote control. I used “love lies” of saying I will have a strong word with “that” person or saying that the authorities are aware and are dealing with it. I also say things like “it was found this morning and you took it to your room”. In most cases once the missing object was found days later and giving it to mum, she wouldn’t accept that she hid it in the first place. Anyways, this will pass and could be replaced with something else, such as “I want to go home” or “gosh its late and I have to get ready to go home”, for example. The thing is one needs to remember is that on most occasions, arguing from a “logical” point of view just won’t help. Let me give you an example. As I mentioned my mum thought a relative was helping themselves to her belongings – this couldn’t be as the relative she was sure was the culprit had passed away a long time ago. Informing her that “that” person had died didn’t help as she has forgotten of their passing with “I saw him yesterday in the house”.



When I am exasperated with some behaviours of mum, I have to remind myself that this condition is one where the carer is always tested with the twist and turns it throws at you. One of the many things to remember is that the sufferer will be very obsessive and obstinate in “their” reality. There is no amount of reasoning that will open their eyes. So this is a marathon and you need to make the course as smooth for yourself as you can (arguing will only affect you, the carer.) It’s a shame that her reaction is to vent her fury and contact her niece. It isn’t clear to me if your niece is being contacted on her mobile at work or being contacted through her offices’ switchboard. I wonder that if it is a mobile, then there are a couple of alternatives that come to mind; one is to block the number being called or more drastic to change the mobile number. I do understand that the loving memories of her grandmother could be affected by these experiences. I don’t know if this is the correct action, but my sister has decided that her son no longer sees my mum for the sake of her son to remember mum as she was before Alzheimers set in. Is it right or not ? I don’t know. I think it depends on the family and what is considered best for each family. Someone with this condition has lost the natural speed of time – in other words, they showered last night (nope, it was days ago), that they ate an hour ago (Nope they haven’t had a meal in hours) or changed clothes this morning (Nope, it was 2 days ago). Speaking of food, I am convinced that with Alzheimers the body feels hunger but the message of feeling hungry isn’t recognised by the mind so unless you make them a meal they won’t eat.

I don’t know if this helps, but I hope that you don’t feel alone in this predicament.
 

Carol.Ann

New member
Oct 14, 2021
6
0
Oh Carol.Anne I feel for you. If I am saying anything that’s obvious, please forgive me. My mum has Alzheimers as well. She also went through the phase of hiding everything as she thought people were either breaking in or indeed a relative was helping themselves to her belongings. Its amazing how good they are at hiding things – such as the TV remote control. I used “love lies” of saying I will have a strong word with “that” person or saying that the authorities are aware and are dealing with it. I also say things like “it was found this morning and you took it to your room”. In most cases once the missing object was found days later and giving it to mum, she wouldn’t accept that she hid it in the first place. Anyways, this will pass and could be replaced with something else, such as “I want to go home” or “gosh its late and I have to get ready to go home”, for example. The thing is one needs to remember is that on most occasions, arguing from a “logical” point of view just won’t help. Let me give you an example. As I mentioned my mum thought a relative was helping themselves to her belongings – this couldn’t be as the relative she was sure was the culprit had passed away a long time ago. Informing her that “that” person had died didn’t help as she has forgotten of their passing with “I saw him yesterday in the house”.



When I am exasperated with some behaviours of mum, I have to remind myself that this condition is one where the carer is always tested with the twist and turns it throws at you. One of the many things to remember is that the sufferer will be very obsessive and obstinate in “their” reality. There is no amount of reasoning that will open their eyes. So this is a marathon and you need to make the course as smooth for yourself as you can (arguing will only affect you, the carer.) It’s a shame that her reaction is to vent her fury and contact her niece. It isn’t clear to me if your niece is being contacted on her mobile at work or being contacted through her offices’ switchboard. I wonder that if it is a mobile, then there are a couple of alternatives that come to mind; one is to block the number being called or more drastic to change the mobile number. I do understand that the loving memories of her grandmother could be affected by these experiences. I don’t know if this is the correct action, but my sister has decided that her son no longer sees my mum for the sake of her son to remember mum as she was before Alzheimers set in. Is it right or not ? I don’t know. I think it depends on the family and what is considered best for each family. Someone with this condition has lost the natural speed of time – in other words, they showered last night (nope, it was days ago), that they ate an hour ago (Nope they haven’t had a meal in hours) or changed clothes this morning (Nope, it was 2 days ago). Speaking of food, I am convinced that with Alzheimers the body feels hunger but the message of feeling hungry isn’t recognised by the mind so unless you make them a meal they won’t eat.

I don’t know if this helps, but I hope that you don’t feel alone in this predicament.
Thank you ever so much for sharing your experiences. It’s much appreciated and it’s helpful to know that it’s not just happening to us and that it is all part of this illness. It’s just so hard not to put your reasoning head on, but as you say, the only ends up infuriating is me
Thanks again
 

Carol.Ann

New member
Oct 14, 2021
6
0
Would it be a good idea to take the jewellery out of the house for security, maybe say there had been burglaries in the area? Or get a little safe for them, the combination for which she will soon forget? You can then take the line that they are all in a sa good idea on both counts
 

Carol.Ann

New member
Oct 14, 2021
6
0
Thanks - these are both potentially good ideas. Dad has taken to locking her jewellery boxes in his briefcase now bless him. But has to be reminded that’s were he has put them. When we do find them Mum is pretty annoyed with him as she thinks Dad has lied about them and done it on purpose. Then round and round we go. Safe sounds a good idea those as they can stay in their apartment too. Thanks for this.
 

Carol.Ann

New member
Oct 14, 2021
6
0
Thank you ever so much for sharing your experiences. It’s much appreciated and it’s helpful to know that it’s not just happening to us and that it is all part of this illness. It’s just so hard not to put your reasoning head on, but as you say, the only ends up infuriating is me
Thanks agai
I have no advice as we are so new to this stage of the experience. Where my mother in law started to attack her partner because she thinks he is being abusive (he honestly is definitely far from it) it’s to do with him telling her when she needs to do something etc.

It’s so so hard to listen too. The only piece of advice Iv received so far is to go into their world but can certainly understand how hard it is when it’s accusing family of stealing.
Hope you get some good advice!
Thanks. Everyone has been so helpful on here. It’s just so reassuring to know you’re not on your own and to listen to how others have coped in similar situations.
 

Carol.Ann

New member
Oct 14, 2021
6
0
Hi Carol.Ann I’m sorry you are going through this horrible situation. I had similar with my mam who lived on her own with her jewellery - it hadn’t escalated to accusations of theft by me but she had 2 chains and her wedding/engagement rings etc and she would literally ‘loose’ them on a daily basis and this would result in a ridiculous amount of manic calls to me saying that she can’t find them etc and she was having none of it when I’d suggest she’d just misplaced them in the house and they would turn up (always thought it was the first time it had happened). They would always turn up but I got to the point where I took the jewellery and kept it out in my house for safe keeping as I knew the situation was only going to get worse and that eventually she would forget about them. It did work and she would occasionally ask about them and I would reassure her that they were safe in my house. It is extremely difficult to deal with the paranoid delusions of our loved ones with dementia and I can’t even begin to imagine how hard you and your sister find it with both parents. Please mind yourselves.
Thanks for sharing what youve experienced. It’s not been getting any easier tbh. She is really fixated on it at the moment. My sister suggested removing the jewellery to her house, which we are toying with. So it’s good to read this
 

B72

Registered User
Jul 21, 2018
178
0
My mother in law called my husband and asked him to come over. When he did, she told him he must be very short of money to grab that money from her. An only child, he returned home. shattered. We spoke to her doctor and he put her on a medication, I don’t know what it was, but she stopped accusing him.

(We als had the most terrible abusive phone calls in the evening. We mentioned this to her doctor too. He asked about her evening routine. We told him she usually had a whisky in the evening . He said that she probably forgot she had drunk it and eventually probably had quite a bit more. We monitored the whisky level (and watered it down), and the abusive phone calls also stopped.)

It’s so sad when someone, at a very deep level, feels very vulnerable and attacks the people who are caring for them.
 

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