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Only symptom is false accusations - is it dementia


New member
Jan 28, 2021
Hi. My 98 yo grandmother still lives at home and seems sharp as a tack. Her memory is fine, and you can have a great conversation with her about all kinds of topics. She is a great woman.
mover the past 18 months she has begun obsessing about things. First was a ghost in the house who annoyed her, shook the bed, all kinds of mischief. She believed it was my great grandfather - paternal side who she had never met, spirit recently released and living in a photo. She was so convinced and I couldn’t talk her out of it. I removed the photo. Problem solved. Then she became obsessed there was mould in the carpet. My cousin had the carpet tested. No mould. She ended up having the carpet lifted. No mould, but that obsession gone.
Most upsetting my, she has now accused my mother of elaborate plan which resulted in trinkets in her house being replaced by cheaper replacement trinkets - we are talking 4 items of little real value - but she is insistent that my mother is a thief and telling everyone my mother stole from her.
It’s quite upsetting. My question really is whether this false accusation / delusion behaviour is a symptom of dementia even when everything else with her is great. My extended family don’t want to acknowledge it could be a symptom of dementia which is even more upsetting for my mum.
kimmy x


Volunteer Host
Mar 25, 2016
Welcome @Kimmylicious you'll find lots of friendly support and advice here. Obsessing about things and accusing others of stealing can be signs of dementia but it would be best if your grandmother could be checked over by her GP to rule out anything else that may be causing these symptoms. It would be helpful to keep a record of what is happening so that the GP has a better idea of what is going on - could your mum contact the GP to let them know what has been happening and request a check up for your grandmother? The GP may not be able to discuss details of your grandmother's health with other family members but at least your mum would have made them aware of the situation. A diagnosis of dementia usually requires some tests, and it can take time to obtain a diagnosis - you might find these factsheets about the dementia diagnosis process helpful:



Volunteer Host
Apr 13, 2018
Hi @Kimmylicious and welcome to Dementia Talking Point. My mother was convinced that her new neighbours were coming into her flat taking things and then bringing them back 'I'd never leave water in the iron' was one reason she gave as to why it was true. Explaining that we all do things like accidently put our purse in our shopping bag when out rather than our handbag met with very short shrift. 'I never do thing like that so it must be them.' However we could still discuss politics, books, family stuff and mum was pretty much as she's always been on those topics. Mum's GP gave her a mini memory test which she passed easily as it wasn't her short term memory that was affected, it was her reasoning. As my husband said her logic boxes were fried, and over the space of a few months this got much worse. After an incident when she had a meltdown in her doctor's surgery as she thought they'd deliberately given her the wrong medication a psychiatrist visited her at home. He diagnosed 'probable vascular dementia.' Mum is now in a care home as she became a danger to herself and others living independently.
As @Louise7 says make a note of all these incidents and send them to her GP. I got the ball rolling on a diagnosis by piggybacking an appointment my mother has already made. Does anyone in the family have Lasting Power of Attorney, as this will make talking to the GP easier, and if your grandmother needs more care either at home or in a care home easier to arrange.
Finally it's probably a good idea for the family to keep talking to each other about what may be happing with your grandmother. If other family members start believing your mum is stealing from your grandmother there could be all sorts of family falling out.


Registered User
Jan 23, 2019
High Peak
I'm afraid it's incredibly common with dementia, particularly the stealing/replacing of - often - silly or insignificant things. So it's not just the delusion but the loss of logical reasoning. My mother would say people came in at night and stole her dentures or her best knickers - never the 'ordinary' ones, always her favourite floral ones. At first I burst out laughing saying 'who would want your pants?' but that just made her angry because in her mind she knew for certain she'd been robbed.

You say that otherwise she's 'as sharp as a tack' but maybe she's trying really hard when she's talking to you. If you spent longer periods of time with her I think you'd probably see more problems....