Dealing with what others would call shoplifting

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by debclarke, Nov 10, 2015.

  1. debclarke

    debclarke Registered User

    Nov 10, 2015
    We have recently found out that mum has been shoplifing from the local shop obviously we know she does not realise this, mum is 82 and has alzeimers/dementia she as been putting the items directly into her shopping bag then leaving the shop without paying, the owner has known mum a long time but has had to tell us that she has done it 3 times and might have to ban her from the shop, i think this is so extreme. We have tried to explsin she needs to get a basket and take it to the till but she doez not undrrstand the wrongdoin, this independence is what keeps her going besides keeping her locked in i dont know what else i can do( i would not lock her in) i need advice the best way to try to explain to mum :)
  2. fizzie

    fizzie Registered User

    Jul 20, 2011
    I don't think you are going to be able to explain to Mum. Can you reach an agreement with the shopkeeper that you will pay for what she takes? Would they accept that it is part of her illness and help you deal with it by running a 'tab' that you will pay every few days?

    Alternatively is there a friend or relative who can potter to the shop with her and take over the when it comes to the till?
  3. fizzie

    fizzie Registered User

    Jul 20, 2011
    sorry just realised that you are new to talking point. Welcome, you will find lots of support here. More people will be along soon and everyone will do their best to help. Welcome to a lovely community
  4. mrjelly

    mrjelly Registered User

    Jul 23, 2012
    West Sussex
    Perhaps the shopkeeper could intercept Mum on the way out and ask to double check the expiry dates on her food. They could blame the council trading standards people or something.
  5. Chuggalug

    Chuggalug Registered User

    Mar 24, 2014
    If it had been me, I would have spoken to the shopkeeper re fizzie's comment, which is an excellent one, in my view. If the shopkeeper tried to ban your Mum, s/he'd have a hard time doing it, as someone would have to be on watch for her constantly.

    Your poor Mum has obviously lost her power of reasoning. That's why she can't take in what you tell her. I really would also have a quiet chat to the shopkeeper and see if things could be paid off when you go in. Nobody but the owner needs to know about the problem.
  6. jaymor

    jaymor Volunteer Moderator

    Jul 14, 2006
    #6 jaymor, Nov 11, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2016
    When my husband was still driving I spoke with the Manager of the petrol station my husband always used. I was afraid he might forget to go to the kiosk and pay or would not remember his PIN. He was very understanding and was willing to ring me and show me the cctv recording to prove he had been. I told him that was not necessary as I knew roughly what he used a week.

    He never called me, my husband might have forgotten where he left his wallet, his glasses, his just about everything else but he never forgot to pay for his petrol.

    I am sure the shopkeeper will work with you especially as he has known her a long time.
  7. debclarke

    debclarke Registered User

    Nov 10, 2015
    thank you for your kind replies, the shopkeeper did ask to speak to my sister when she went into the shop yesterday, this was the initial finding out of what has been happening, she did explain what her illness was and it is not intentional, they have been kind to her, but with it being a big shock I think it left my sister a lost for words, she said she would try to explain to mum to try and help, but after discussing it further last night I think we became pretty upset and thought about asking if we could settle up on her behalf, but unless they intercept her they wont actually know what she has, with this she will just end up paying. I was also thinking if they could just make an effort to actually ask her if she needs any help and maybe just speak to her every couple of mins to remind her she needs to come over to pay and they will help her bag it up, we do all work in the day time and my sister cares for mum by living with her all the other time, but this is honestly her only independence, also I do know that she spends a long time in the shop just browsing, so I think its time for another visit to sort something out properly with the shopkeeper, I really appreciate all the comments and as this is new to me hopefully it will really help talking to people who have and are in the same situation. talking to family is sometimes just not enough x
  8. Beate

    Beate Registered User

    May 21, 2014
    To be honest, none of this is the shopkeeper's responsibility. They have a business to run and while it is ok to ask them to be kind to her, they shouldn't have to develop a whole programme around her needs. If she does things like that while on her own it might be time to ask social services for more support, ie a day centre or sitting service. This shopkeeper might not be the only one, and you don't know what else she is up to while you're at work. If she needs supervision to go shopping, then that should be provided, but not by the shopkeeper himself.
  9. Linbrusco

    Linbrusco Registered User

    Mar 4, 2013
    Auckland...... New Zealand
    We have had the same thing recently, but thankfully I was with Mum. Which I pretty much am all the time when we go out shopping.
    I take her grocery shopping every week. I make sure that we go to a checkout next to each other, so I can keep an eye on her.
    The checkout operators know her by now too.
    Mum puts her grocerys on the conveyer belt, but before they get the chance to scan them Mum is putting them in her grocery bag and one time her handbag.
    The ladies are kind enough to remind her, without making a fuss.

    Our local shop which is the only one that Mum walks to, which is just a 3mn walk, the shop owners know Mum, know me, and have my phone number.
    They are only too happy to ring me and let me know if Mum has a) forgotten her PIN
    b) forgotten to put money in her purse

    If Mum was anywhere else on her own, without a doubt she would have been done for shop lifting.
    I don't see how a ban can work when someone does not have the memory to not go into the store? If they are unable to help you otherwise at least, go to your police station to advise them and maybe provide a photo in case they were ever called.
    Its not as if you know when your Mum is going either so that a companion/neighbour/friend can go with her. Its a tough one.
  10. fizzie

    fizzie Registered User

    Jul 20, 2011
    I do understand what you are saying and how worrying it must be but this will not get any easier and although you are trying to encourage her independence it does sound as though she might be very bored and trying to fill time. Have you thought of a lunch club (often they provide transport) or a day centre or a sitter or a combination of both. She is really vulnerable left on her own all day.

    You are entitled to Attendance Allowance for her which would help with costs and if your sister is living with her then you are probably entitled to the higher rate but get someone to help you fill in the forms and treat it as though it is her very worst day. Remember Attendance Allowance is not about the care you get it is about the care you need to have in an ideal world. If you need any help private message me - form filling a speciality, i'm a real paper pusher lol

    You are also entitled to a Carers Assessment (social services) this should give you some free hours of sitting service.

    The sooner you put something into place the happier your Ma will be - I think many of us found that if we leave it too late people become resistant, if we do it early on then they are more accepting.

    I just worry that she is so very vulnerable.
  11. Amy in the US

    Amy in the US Registered User

    Feb 28, 2015
    Of course this must have been a shock for you and your family to hear about. I do hope you're able to work something out with the shopkeeper in question.

    I know you're still taking this in, but as others have mentioned, this may be an indication that she is not able to handle certain tasks and she may be (and her finances may be) vulnerable.

    I understand about wanting to foster independence, and am all for it, but sadly for some of our relatives with dementia, independence didn't always work out the way we thought it would. In the situation with my mother with Alzheimer's type dementia, she could be independent OR she could be safe, but not both.

    Perhaps it's time to review your mother's living situation and see what changes can be made that will keep her safe and as contented as possible. It's possible she can no longer safely be left alone.

    Wishing you all the best. It's so terribly difficult for everyone, and hard to know what to do.
  12. debclarke

    debclarke Registered User

    Nov 10, 2015
    Thank you for all the advice which i agree with entirely, especially the fact that it is not the shopkeepers responsibility and they do have a business to look after, i no she needs more to do in the day but it is so difficult, we have had people round to arrange social activities but she point blank refused, then becomes very rude. I cant force her to do or go places its weird, but i think i might try again and this time go with her to keep her settled. She does most things with me at the weekend as we all have to work in the week. I think uptil now she has not needed to be watched constantly, but i think your comments are right we need some help. The doctor is correct she as a loving caring family but we are not well off so unable give up work to give her extra care, thank you again x
  13. fizzie

    fizzie Registered User

    Jul 20, 2011
    on the financial side have you accessed attendance allowance - she would qualify and that would help a bit but social services can help you to sort out a day care place/lunch club and if you could go with her once or twice she might see it in a different light and want to go just for the company.
    you might have to sell it to her as something different - like they need someone to help them out with lunches for old people and we thought you would like to help or there is a lady there who needs a bit of company and we thought you might be the right person or even simple that it would save a packet on the heating bills as a cold winter is forecast and it would be really warm and cosy

    Anything that you think might help her accept it
  14. geniemax

    geniemax Registered User

    Oct 30, 2015
    Hi there I have very recently had the same problem with my dad he has been pilfering at our local supermarket and another shop which he goes to my local supermarket were very understanding I went in with a photo of dad with my number on back to contact me if there was a problem in the future and paid there and then for a Bootle of wine which I found and only a packet of butter on his receipt its real stressfull and I understand how you must feel I am also looking into getting some sort of tracking device? As dad travels on the bus and every day he is going for a trial day at day care next week so fingers crossed this might be an idea for your mum all the best
  15. missmarple

    missmarple Registered User

    Jan 14, 2013
    My Dad has been doing this for at least 3 years. In fact he was once barred from Poundland after a security guard challenged him. Now he has carers with him all day and they go in after him, try and retrieve what they can and put it back on the shelves, if all else fails they pay for it.
    Before Dad had the carers one of his activities was to go to cafes, order, eat and drink and leave without paying. Again he got barred from a few places. At his favourite place I asked the owner to run a tab and would go every fortnight and pay up. It's a small independent place and it worked well.
    NB As he had no capacity he could not be held guilty of shoplifting (no criminal responsibility) so I had no worries about he police. HTH.
  16. missmarple

    missmarple Registered User

    Jan 14, 2013
    I should add that I have long ago stopped being ashamed of anything Dad does. It's Alzheimers, he can't help it and neither can his family. On the whole the town he lives in has been pretty supportive and understanding.
  17. Slugsta

    Slugsta Registered User

    Thank you so much for being open about this.

    My Mum lives in a warden controlled flat and has been seen helping herself to chocolate and cakes from the communal kitchen without paying. she has not, as far as I know, yet done this in a shop but I think it is only a matter of time! She likes to go up to the corner shop on her own, I think maybe I should go and have a chat with someone before the event. I wouldn't have thought of it if I hadn't read the original post.

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