1. Welcome to Talking Point - an online community for everyone who is affected by dementia. Whether you have dementia or know someone who does, we will be there for you.

    Sign up to join the community, or Log in if you're already a member.

    If you need help using Talking Point, read our Help pages or contact us at talkingpoint@alzheimers.org.uk

  2. Hi everyone, Talking Point is back! We’ve updated the software in order to improve security, design, and the way the community works, and introduced some helpful features.

    Find out more

  1. Amber_31

    Amber_31 Registered User

    Jun 29, 2016
    48
    I live with my mum, I'm her carer, and she continually accuses me of stealing, three or four times a day. She does it very delicately, like she's trying to be polite but is absolutely convinced I've stolen things like, a plate, a jumper, a picture. And then when we find the thing, a few hours later, and then it starts again, with 'it's disappeared' or 'you just must have stolen it'. My constant denials and hugs mean nothing. It's so sad because I can tell she doesn't want to upset me but really wants what she can't find. Well, it breaks my heart and it's making each day really tiring. She's not sleeping now because she's looking for stuff, most nights are like this. How do I deal with this in a compassionate but effective way? She has hundreds of old letters, photos, thousands of books, china, clothes, jewellery, that would bring her joy if she didn't have her problems, but as it is they cause so many problems because so much stuff means things are easily lost. Thank-you
     
  2. jenniferpa

    jenniferpa Volunteer Moderator

    Jun 27, 2006
    38,130
    Well it's heartbreaking. For you certainly, but probably also for her. The truth (the very brutal truth I'm afraid) is that you can't fix it or even manage it much. She knows she had "X", she can't find "X", the only person who is around much is you, therefore you must have taken "X".

    I'm think that your only option (and I realise it might not be possible) is diversion: oh how awful that you can't find "X", let's have a cup of tea and then we'll look for "X". And then you hope she has forgotten X.

    But I can't think of any options that help you much, other than (and oh my god I know how difficult this is) is to not take it personally. Easy for me to say, really difficult to do. But you won't be able to change her mind about this, so all you can really do is change the way you think about it. It's not pleasant to be accused of being a thief but you have to keep telling yourself: she wouldn't do this, think this, if she was well.
     
  3. Amber_31

    Amber_31 Registered User

    Jun 29, 2016
    48
    Dear Jennifer, thank-you for your message. She has been better today; the problem is when she is convinced one thing has been stolen, she then decides another has been, and then, the issue of my thieving just relentlessly consumes the day and saps from me ever ounce of what's left of my positivity. But on the upside, days with no accusations are much appreciated. I will try the tea technique next time. By the way, I read your signature saying and it was relevant to me. I spend my days with mum and baby, and all too often I have the thoughts of 'oh why oh why do I have to do this' for the tasks I have to do for my mum, but, I never feel that way about anything I do for my baby son, and then moments later I feel so much guilt I'm very upset because I love them both but both need my help. Yes- caring for one's parents is the noble path and when I'm entirely without comfort that thought gives me some little comfort!
     
  4. Tin

    Tin Registered User

    May 18, 2014
    3,710
    UK
    Not to make light of this problem because it is hard and over the years my mum has accused me of stealing a lot, including kidnaping her dog and she would accuse me in such a sweet way, "Now I know you have taken it and I will not be angry with you, just tell me where you have put it" Of course this has all passed. About 8 months ago mum walked into the house (after one of her endless trips to the garden gate) wearing only one slipper and I had stolen it. Today after clearing one of my large flower beds, guess what we found! a very wet and muddy slipper.
     
  5. Amber_31

    Amber_31 Registered User

    Jun 29, 2016
    48
    Oh Tin, my mum is exactly the same; the desperation that I confess to theft expressed so politely, like politeness is ingrained stronger in one's persona than common sense and reasoning. I'm still waiting for my mum to get out of this phase. Back in 2014, before any other signs of anything being wrong, she kept telling me my brother was taking her things and selling them to buy drugs- that led to huge fallings out between me and my poor dear (entirely non drug taking) brother- as, why would someone make those accusations if they weren't absolutely, 100% convinced they were true? Since then it's been relentless. But I think it's all symbolic - she's really upset that she's losing her memory, not the thing itself, as she always says she wants to kill herself when she can't find something. At least my sweet child is too little to understand!
     
  6. LadyA

    LadyA Volunteer Host

    Oct 19, 2009
    11,517
    Ireland
    Tin, can't offer any advice, but my husband used to do the same. He was convinced I was stealing things, and hiding them "to make it look as if I'm losing my mind." But eventually, as his dementia progressed, he started to come to me when he'd lost something. Because he realised that I could usually find whatever it was. And he was astonished - every time! He'd laugh, and say "How? How do you always know? Ha! You're a genius!" :)

    One thing I learned over time - almost without fail, William generally stashed things at his eye level. So the first places I had to look were shelves etc. that were his eye level when he was either sitting down or standing up. And generally, I found whatever was missing there. Somehow, as dementia progresses, it never occurs to a pwd to seek out a more obscure hiding place.
     
  7. blue skies

    blue skies Registered User

    Sep 18, 2015
    30
    Patience of a Saint Required

    Good Morning Amber
    All I can say is that patience of a Saint is required in this situation !!! and I should know.
    My Mother has been in this Phase for 2/3 years accusing me of stealing things like a silver plate that she's had for 61 years, broken watches, shoes,(even though were not the same size) odd wine glasses, beakers you name it I've taken it !!!! At night just like your mother she is wandering opening and closing drawers, we live in separate flats, me being below her, mirror image of layout so I hear everything. The thing is I haven't had her house keys for 5 years but I'm still the person who is entering her flat when she goes out even though I work half an our away !!! Like your mother she is in total denial that anything is wrong . When the items are found then she has no idea how they got where they have !!!
    Does anyone have any idea how long this Phase may go on for ??? as like you I find it totally wearing, I love my mum ti bits but to be constantly accused of something that I've not done is horrible and no matter what I say she wont be side-tracked, either face to face or on the telephone.
     
  8. Shedrech

    Shedrech Volunteer Host

    Dec 15, 2012
    4,397
    Yorkshire
    hi Amber-31
    with dad I took to accepting the blame to a large extent eg Sorry dad, I thought that needed a clean so I took it and have forgotten to bring it back i will return it next visit . or . Sorry I wanted to show it to someone as it is so lovely
    it sometimes lessened his worrying
     
  9. Tin

    Tin Registered User

    May 18, 2014
    3,710
    UK
    Mum is the same now, if she remembers that she has lost something she always asks me to find it and is so surprised and grateful when I do.
     
  10. Tin

    Tin Registered User

    May 18, 2014
    3,710
    UK
    It does stop, it has with mum, but she still misplaces things and I still retrieve. Actually what happens is that mum is continually picking things up and then putting on a different surface, or just moving things around. So these days not taking as long to find things.
     
  11. LadyA

    LadyA Volunteer Host

    Oct 19, 2009
    11,517
    Ireland
    Ah good - sorry, I meant to address post to amber, the original poster! :)
     
  12. Tin

    Tin Registered User

    May 18, 2014
    3,710
    UK
    I know but thought I would answer anyway!
     
  13. BR_ANA

    BR_ANA Registered User

    Jun 27, 2012
    1,080
    Brazil
    I used to know my mum's stashes. However I used to help her find her stuff by herself, so she kept trusting in her stashes.

    Of course I was accused of changing everything to made her think she was mad.
     
  14. Langleys10

    Langleys10 Registered User

    Dec 29, 2016
    6
    Guildford, Surrey
    My husband is in this phase - I didn't know it was a phase until I read this chat - and it was one of the issues that alerted us to the personality change which lead to diagnosis and medication. Problem is that it has not stopped and the "culprit" is ALWAYS our 15 year old who is really struggling with the nastiness which accompanies the accusations. It even got physical once and the police were called. They were brilliant but that call was reported to social services who got the local adult mental health team involved. I wonder if the squirrelling away of things is a common trait of AD? He seems to take anything that is even loosely "his" and put it away, for example, he hides his razors and dental products in a bag in a drawer in his bedside cupboard, then of course forgets where they are. I only realised when I bought razors for the third time in a month! As everyone else has said, you need the patience of a saint. Best wishes.
     
  15. canary

    canary Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    4,350
    South coast
    Yes, mum used to squirrel things away and I think its very common. To be fair - in mums mind, what she was doing was "putting things away safely" so that no one would steal them.

    Then, of course, she forgot what she had done and accused people of stealing them :rolleyes:
     

Share This Page