Grandmother thinks someone is stealing from her.


New member
Jan 13, 2022
Hi I’m new to the forum and looking for some advice if anyone can help.
I care for my grandmother, her dementia has just suddenly gotten worse since my grandad passed away in December 2019.
She’s currently living on her own at home. She stays at my mums every other weekend.
I’ve contacted social services for a care assessment and also booked her in for day centre with age concern as she’s very lonely and gets really upset. She wont sit and watch tv or have the radio on. She’s just always waiting to see someone.

At the moment she seems to think someone is stealing her clothes, dishcloths, towels and even underwear.

I’ve obviously assured her she may have just miss placed them and forgot. I have spent hours with her finding the things she’s been hiding and putting them all together again.
My mum goes round on a Wednesday and takes her food and cares for her. For whatever reason my grandmother thinks it’s my mum, moving and taking things.
I know for a fact she isn’t and it’s her dementia bless her but my grandmother is adamant she is. This causes a lot of upset and anger for my grandmother. I suggested maybe mum doesn’t go on a Wednesday and my grandmother only goes there but she wants her to come. It’s like she latches onto my mum. Always wants to call her and if she’s not in she gets really jealous.

It’s got to the stage now my grandmother is asking for locks to be put on her bedroom doors so no one can touch her things.
Obviously I don’t want to go down that route and just looking for ideas in to resolve this issue if anyone can help.



Volunteer Host
Apr 13, 2018
Hi @andyp3121 and a warm welcome to Dementia Talking Point. This is a very friendly and supportive place and you'll get lots of help and advice here.
Thinking people are stealing from you is very common in mid-stage dementia. It can turn into a nightmare as things are hidden in odd places to keep them safe and then are difficult for family and carers to find. I also found with my mother when I did find whatever it was she thought had been stolen she often didn't think it was the thing she was looking for, though I knew it was. It was a very tricky stage as mum thought it was the neighbours who were stealing from her and she called the police on them several times and could be very aggressive about demanding things back from them too. One thing that might help a little is Compassionate Communication with the Memory Impaired. Don't beat yourself up if it doesn't work but I found with mum telling her she was mistaken, or using logic to show that it was impossible the neighbours were coming in didn't work. Changing the subject or promising to look into it helped a little. This is a link to other threads that mention stealing. Some won't be relevant and some will be from people who no longer post, but you might find some useful ideas among them.
Social Services are very pressed at the moment, so if your grandmother would be self-funding (assets of over £23,500) it might be worth looking into private care. Age UK have a Help at Home service in some areas that might be a start. They don't do personal care but they could provide your grandmother with some company, taking her out or just helping her cook or do housework.
Also do you have Lasting Power of Attorney set up? If not this is the time to get it organised as I think it might not be long before your grandmother needs help managing finances etc.
I'm sure others will be along shortly with their tips and suggestions.


Volunteer Host
Mar 2, 2017
Hi @andyp3121 and welcome to Dementia Talking Point. I am afraid this sort of thing is very common as the person with dementia can't remember doing things and hence blames others. I don't think there is a simple solution but I am sure other members may have good suggestions.


Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
South coast
I found this a very difficult stage with mum. She was convinced that her cleaner was stealing from her, so she sacked her, but of course it continued, so she thought that the cleaner had stolen her spare keys (because she couldnt find them) and was letting herself in. She persuaded me to change all the locks, but this didnt work either and mum was convinced that she was still coming in. When I asked how she was getting in as Id changed the locks she told me she must be getting in through the letter box!!!!! At about the same time she accused an old and very dear friend of hers of stealing too and then it became me that was stealing from her and she wouldnt let me in her home.

As you said @andyp3121 , it is they themselves that are moving things around, but they do not remember and do not believe that it is them so will often get angry if you try and suggest it. The complete lack of logic used to get me. How could mum believe that an old and trusted friend could change like that, or that someone could get in through a letter box? Surely it made more sense that they were doing it and just forgot? But mum didnt see it like that. Im afraid that I never did find a solution. Soon after, mum started wandering out of her house in her nightwear and banging on random peoples doors at silly o'clock in the morning because she was lost and I knew a crisis was looming. Mum moved into a care home after a TIA and after she settled she stopped worrying about people stealing.


Registered User
Aug 7, 2021
When my mom was at home 'people' regularly took stuff. As is was during lockdown the only 'people' coming into her house was me and occasionally my teenage boys. All of the stuff that went missing eventually turned up in weird places - her purse was in a shoe box in the kitchen, her purse was stuffed down the sofa, the shoes that she claimed had been stolen in the hospital had actually not left her house and were still on the top shelf of the cupboard.

She is currently in a respite bed in a care home with a view to staying there long term. I have already been told a pair of shoes have been stolen and various other stuff. As the care home is on lockdown I have no idea what has actually gone but I can guarantee that most of it will have been put away somewhere safe by her.

Prior to the dementia becoming apparent my mom would come to my house nearly every day - she would let herself in and go straight into my kitchen to fill her bag with whatever she fancied (usually teabags, a few sheets of kitchen roll, toilet rolls, sugar - she even had a little pot to put it in, chocolate biscuits, oranges - basically anything she took a shine too). I did question her once but she basically shrugged it off and still it carried on. I wonder if that was the start of the dementia. I did not begrudge her anything and she was welcome to take it however it did niggle me slightly that she felt my home was a free for all and she could help herself.


Volunteer Moderator
Dec 15, 2012
hi @andyp3121
a warm welcome from me too

might your mother change tack a bit and if your grandmother says your mother has moved or taken something, suggest your mother apologises (even though she's done nothing wrong, simply to keep the peace or at least not have your grandmother so wound up), then comes up with an excuse, then distracts
eg 'Oh sorry mum, I thought it could use a clean, I should have told you. I'll sort it out. How about a slice of that cake I brought to make up for it' then walk away and make a cuppa
maybe think up some excuses your mum could use, so she's not necessarily having to improvise on the spot (it gets easier with practice)

if this works some of the time your grandmother may not be so agitated and your mum can keep visiting, which is important


Registered User
Aug 9, 2015
North West
best thing to do is you and your mum log everything and anything of value -photo and any serial number and then re-check at various intervals for your own sake of mind and to either support or refute the current storyline PWD can get things very wrong and they can also be very right. To be fair my brother repeatedly stole from my mum before I actually realised what she was saying was true -so to dispense with any doubt as I said and be objective -that helps to protect those who are trying to help rather than an issue become something it might or might not be