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How to protect my mum's things in Dementia Home

Chook

Registered User
Jun 14, 2013
238
Westcountry
Well, after a long slog it looks like mum is finally getting a place in a Dementia Nursing home. She's currently in a non dementia home.

The manager has wisely told me that things go missing all the time so don't take anything in of value. How do you stop things getting stolen? Has anyone got any top tips? I was thinking of writing her name on everything but she has lots of nicnacs which you couldn't name.

Chook x
 

Hair Twiddler

Registered User
Aug 14, 2012
892
Middle England
Mum lives with us but even when she has visited a local home for respite I've still put mums initials on clothing tabs, underside of her bed side clock, hearing aid even her tissue box. I found a thin tipped permanent pen the best.
Perhaps you could take photos of her nick-nacks - just in case they end up in someone else's room and you need to claim ownership?

The one item that has me stumped is her engagement ring. She takes it off at night and always remembers to put it back on in the morning but that isn't a guarantee against it going missing if she does eventually move into a care home is it? As I say, it has me stumped.
 

Grannie G

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 3, 2006
71,487
Kent
I don`t think you can protect all possessions in a dementia home. Residents wander and doors are left unlocked for their safety. My mother had items taken and also took items belonging to others.

I`ll never forget visiting her room to find a photo of a baby by her bed and the baby was not one of ours. At the same time, ornaments etc of hers disappeared.

The answer is not to take anything in of value. I photocopied photos and framed the copy in cheap frames. I took only cheap ornaments and cheap jewellery.

My mother `lost` her wedding ring. As she lost weight it became very loose. It was the same with my husband but I took his and told him it was being sized. He was happy to know it was being sized and eventually he forgot about it. I`m glad I took it from him because our son has it now.

We must be practical. Staff cannot be expected to monitor every item in each person`s room.
 

Chook

Registered User
Jun 14, 2013
238
Westcountry
I'm completely realistic and all the things mum currently has in her room aren't valuable but she does have little things to keep her occupied. Taking a photo is a good idea. The home has a clothing tag system so that's good.

By the way, mum also pinches stuff, even teeth which is weird because she has her own still.

I was thinking of maybe putting all her nicnacs in a box with her name on, then perhaps someone coming into her room wouldn't think to open it. Who knows. I'm a bit anxious about mum moving, how she's going to cope.

Thanks x
 

curtainsgalore

Registered User
Nov 2, 2014
46
I sent off for printed labels and all ornaments even toiletries get a label put on them. This does help the staff get peoples belongings back to their room.
I didn't take anything in of Mums with any value though. Mum is the biggest culprit of them all and I constantly give a armful of things back to the staff for them to distribute, lol


Sent from my iPad using Talking Point
 

marionq

Registered User
Apr 24, 2013
6,115
Scotland
When John was in hospital in December I was very glad I had previously labelled everything ie slippers, pyjamas, underwear, shirts, glasses, electric razor etc. I sent off for a variety of sew on, stick on, iron on labels. I even labelled the legs of his specs. Since he wandered the corridors leaving a trail of possessions this was a godsend as nurses and myself would pick up and return.
 

Witzend

Registered User
Aug 29, 2007
4,291
SW London
Rings are difficult, especially if like my mother, the person won't part with them, but then takes to hiding them away. Her rings did go missing, and never turned up. I can't say categorically that nobody nicked them, but when a person starts wrapping things in tissues, or knickers (even dirty ones, I'm afraid to say) and starts hiding them all over the place, it's easy for things to be inadvertently thrown out. Especially tiny things.

Looking back, I wish I'd thought to tell her I was taking them away to 'have them valued' but she would have hated parting with them and in the early days at the CH it was hard enough anyway to keep her reasonably un-agitated. Might add that a valuable ring of an aunt's went missing in her CH, and it happened to coincide with my sister and BiL visiting. After an 'absolutely everywhere' search, it turned up in her waste bin - wrapped in a pair of decidedly manky knickers...

But I would certainly label absolutely everything, photos, nick nacks, the lot. An indelible marker pen is probably good for labelling anything like ornaments on the underside. Otherwise it's almost impossible for staff to know which room to return 'squirrelled' items to. A large old framed family photo once appeared in my mother's room - she had almost certainly helped herself - it was unlabelled and none of the staff could be sure whose it was. The only way was to leave it in the kitchen area, which most visitors used, in the hope that a relative would recognise it.

One minor thing - I bought my mother a new dressing gown a couple of Christmases ago and in addition to a firmly sewn-on name tape, I stitched the belt very securely to the gown. So that unlike its predecessor, the belt never went missing, never to be seen again.
 

Chemmy

Registered User
Nov 7, 2011
7,591
Yorkshire
I agree with the others. Nothing of important sentimental or monetary value is 'safe' in a dementia home. Label everything.

And I think that it's important to think of things potentially 'going missing' rather than being 'stolen'. My mum took other people's stuff when she went into their rooms, as did others when they went into hers. There is no way that their behaviour should be regarded as theft.
 

Chook

Registered User
Jun 14, 2013
238
Westcountry
I agree with the others. Nothing of important sentimental or monetary value is 'safe' in a dementia home. Label everything.

And I think that it's important to think of things potentially 'going missing' rather than being 'stolen'. My mum took other people's stuff when she went into their rooms, as did others when they went into hers. There is no way that their behaviour should be regarded as theft.
You're absolutely right, it's not being "stolen". As I wrote that I thought it was a bit.... you know. It's horrible to say your loved is a thief, when actually they just think these things are theirs.

x
 

Witzend

Registered User
Aug 29, 2007
4,291
SW London
Another thing - if any photos are particularly precious then do get copies before they go to the CH. One of my mother's family photos was taken by another resident, removed from the frame, and folded up small and torn. Luckily it was not a disaster since my brother had the original, but it's worth bearing in mind.
 

LYN T

Registered User
Aug 30, 2012
6,960
Brixham Devon
When Pete first went to his CH I can honestly say that he was the biggest collector in the home! Especially shiny things:eek: He was a regular magpie. Every day I was returning things to the staff. It happens all the time and it's very difficult to know what to do about it. As others have advised I would label everything and not leave expensive things.

I took the attitude that as the care was exceptional if a few of Pete's things went missing it was a small price to pay.
 

nitram

Registered User
Apr 6, 2011
20,589
North Manchester
I agree with all that has been said but I am a bit concerned about:-

"I was thinking of maybe putting all her nicnacs in a box with her name on, then perhaps someone coming into her room wouldn't think to open it."

Unless it was very heavy or fastened down this could be an invitation to remove an interesting box and distribute the contents to all and sundry.
 

Witzend

Registered User
Aug 29, 2007
4,291
SW London
I agree with all that has been said but I am a bit concerned about:-

"I was thinking of maybe putting all her nicnacs in a box with her name on, then perhaps someone coming into her room wouldn't think to open it."

Unless it was very heavy or fastened down this could be an invitation to remove an interesting box and distribute the contents to all and sundry.
Yes, and to be honest I don't think the box being named would make the slightest difference to many people with dementia, certainly not if they are at the stage of needing a care home.
 

nitram

Registered User
Apr 6, 2011
20,589
North Manchester
"I don't think the box being named would make the slightest difference to many people with dementia"

Agreed, but it would help staff to return it to the rightful owner. Mark the box as well as the lid.
 

Chook

Registered User
Jun 14, 2013
238
Westcountry
Thanks everyone, I've been over to mum's current home this morning and covered everything in labels!

Love n hugs to all

x
 

Tatiana

Registered User
Feb 23, 2014
54
My mother in law had lots of good quality, gold jewellery which we 'removed for safekeeping' (we said we were having it cleaned). However she had two jewellery boxes of costume jewellery which we left with her - I sorted through everything and removed brooches because of the pins.

I managed to find a couple of cheap dress rings that looked very like her engagement and eternity rings (I had the originals, so I knew her sizes). She wore these quite happily and I'm certain she didn't realise they weren't 'the real ones'....

A few months ago the staff gave me an envelope with a pink, plastic stone necklace in, and asked if I could fix it as it was one of Sheila's favourites. It just needed a new fastener, so it was easy to do. I did laugh though as I knew that it wasn't one of hers and she much have picked it up from one of the other ladies!

Label everything is my advice, too. Write with indelible pen on the base of ornaments and backs of pictures. Label TV remote controls. Things will inevitably go missing (FiL has lost three TV remote controls and they never turned up) but we knew the model number and just order new ones as and when.

The best of luck!
 

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