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What to say when your loved one says 'you dont believe me do you'?

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by LHS, May 21, 2019.

  1. LHS

    LHS Registered User

    Oct 5, 2018
    My mums currently lives alone and constantly forgets where she has put things and is adamant that people are coming into the house and stealing things. She also often says to me 'you dont believe me do you?'.

    I started off responding that I could see no evidence of a burglary and that maybe she had put it somewhere different and forgotten where that was. That however invariably brought on a strong verbal response and mum possibly also getting upset ( because i dont believe her).

    So now I choose to ignore it and say nothing or, if I have the chance, to divert her to something e.g. ''i tell you what mum lets watch some tv'.

    Is there anything i can realistically say in response that will help or is it just a losing situation and I should just stay quiet or divert her?
  2. Rosettastone57

    Rosettastone57 Registered User

    Oct 27, 2016
    This is very common and is not easy to deal with. My mother-in-law was like this,on her own,thought carers were stealing and moving things. We had all sorts,from carers swapping sheets, to bringing in telephone directories to annoy her, to me bringing back other people's laundry when I used to do hers in my own home. She could never see of course the irrationality of these accusations. I would carry on with the distraction techniques,although it is difficult to sustain them.

    When she used to accuse the carers,I told her that I was dealing with it with the management. I primed the care agency anyway so they were used to this sort of behaviour. When she accused me of swapping her sheets, I told her I had found better sheets for her while the others were drying. My husband told her he had put the telephone directories in the lounge to help her if she needed to contact someone. In reality, they had been in the same place for years. I would help her look for the knives if she said they were missing. Of course we never found them, or I would say I had moved them to clean and say I had forgotten to tell her. Not easy I know.
    Eventually she went into care and by then,she wasn't aware of her surroundings, so these situations didn't arise
  3. LHS

    LHS Registered User

    Oct 5, 2018
    Rosettastone57 - thank you for your message. It is just so tiring having to think constantly what to do or say to cause least offence to someone who has developed a misaligned rationality and paranoia. Because she has misplaced her purse and front door key so often, I have had to hide a couple of spare keys and pockets of cash in her house so that I or a friend can direct her to them on the phone if needs be.
  4. Grannie G

    Grannie G Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 3, 2006
    You are doing the right thing @LHS There is absolutely no point in contradicting your mother or trying to explain something if she is not in the right frame of mind to accept what you say.

    I know how wearing it is but it`s better than accusations.

    Have you seen the Compassionate Communication link? It has helped many carers and shows how common these behaviours are.

  5. LHS

    LHS Registered User

    Oct 5, 2018
    Hello #Grannie G. Thanks for the link I will take a look.
  6. Sarasa

    Sarasa Registered User

    Apr 13, 2018
    @LHS, My mother was the same (she's now in a care home). She couldn't find things, or couldn't remember how things worked so she assumed they'd been stolen or broken. When she first said it I told her I was seriously concerned about her mental health if she thought that someone would come in and take her hole punch and instructions for her iron and she backed off and claimed it was a joke. A few weeks later new neighbours moved into the next door flat and after that mum accused them of all sorts (controlling her heating, changing her dishwasher without her noticing, stealing £500.00). She'd go and bang on their door and scream at them, and several times called the police.
    No amount of reason and logic helped. I tried Occam's razor, in any given situation the simplest explanation is the most likely. Therefore is it more likely that the neighbours came in and moved your purse from your handbag to your shopping bag or that you accidently put in the wrong bag. That didn't work, nor did any other similar approaches. the only thing that did was my brother treating her like his dog and distracting her with something more enticing
    I think you are taking the best approach, but I do agree it is frustrating. However no amount of reason and logic will help, so distraction is the only way. It does go against the grain, but my defending the neighbours and saying they couldn't have done the things mum thought they had only ended up with me being accused of being in cahoots with them.
  7. LHS

    LHS Registered User

    Oct 5, 2018
    Hi #Sarasa. Your post just rings so true. And particularly the last bit because I am so worried about raising 'negative' things with my mum in case she then permanently associates that with me and starts accusing me of stealing. She has already started accusing her best friend of stealing. Just sometimes I wish I could be just a daughter again instead of a carer.
  8. canary

    canary Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    South coast
    Your time will come again.

    Mum used to accuse me of stealing when she was living at home too, but eventually she needed to move into a care home. Once she settled there all her paranoia went, she was content and I could relate to her as a daughter again.
  9. Rob_E

    Rob_E Registered User

    Feb 1, 2015
    I can empathise with this, it is very frustrating. Things are constantly going missing here, items of clothing that mum hides because our cats move them! Tea spoons are another favourite, I'm constantly having to retrieve them from her handbag and tissue boxes. Then there is clothing that she insists isn't hers. A pair of floral ladies trousers which are apparently mine! A jumper of hers that she believes I used to wear at school. I left school nearly 30 years ago and couldn't get rid of the uniform quick enough. I soon realised that aguing is futile.
  10. olliebel

    olliebel Registered User

    May 1, 2017
    Harlow Essex
    This link is brilliant..i dont know what to say sometimes..at the moment my husband is holding on to our letters, not letting me look at them (this is a new thing). I say..look its in my name its mine. He holds them tightly and says 'there mine!! It is so frustrating..i have to leave it and hope they are not important..if he doesnt hide them (which he does) i can sometimes find them when he is not looking..is this part of dementia???
  11. Champers

    Champers Registered User

    Jan 3, 2019
    I think so. My mum lives alone and has been diagnosed with early onset dementia. We have a routine now that after we arrive for a visit, my husband chats with her over a cup of tea to distract her whilst I’m upstairs rifling through her bedroom drawers to retrieve post that she’s tucked away. She’s been doing it for months. I’ve found letters about hospital appointments, cheques, statements etc etc. She opens them but I’m not sure if she actually reads the contents as they are usually still neatly in the envelopes. If she sees me with them, she gets quite defensive so I shove them in my handbag and sort through everything once I’m at home. She will also hoard junk mail too.
  12. Witzend

    Witzend Registered User

    Aug 29, 2007
    SW London
    By the time my mother started insisting that things had been stolen - including her mother's house and her own garage!!). her short term memory was almost zero. so instead of reason/logic/arguments I started saying e.g., 'Dear me, that's terrible, I had no idea - I'll get on to the police/a solicitor first thing tomorrow.'
    It invariably pacified her for the moment.

    Trying to reason with her had only ever made her angry, and distraction had never worked, at least not for more than about 30 seconds, before she was back to whatever it was, like a wasp to a jam jar.
  13. Joy1960

    Joy1960 Registered User

    Oct 29, 2018
    @LHS...have you seen the key finders on Amazon...Godsend!!!
    You attach a fob to keys/ handbags or whatever else goes AWOL and have a transmitter which corresponds to the colour of the fob. Just press the colour on main transmitter and a bleeping sound should direct you to the lost item.
    6 fobs with the one I purchased £21.99...Wonyered Key Tracker Wireless Key Finder.
  14. Rosettastone57

    Rosettastone57 Registered User

    Oct 27, 2016
    @Champers if you have POA for finances, you can get the post redirected to you. I did this for my mother-in-law, we had the same situation as you.
  15. Lyd

    Lyd Registered User

    May 27, 2019
    thats good to know. we have POA for finances and any mail that has "private and confidential" on it is very stressful for my MIL. thank you.
  16. LHS

    LHS Registered User

    Oct 5, 2018
    Ta i did not lnow it was possible to redirect post with LPA. We have got trackers on mums purse but only i can use the remote handset because otherwise mum would lose the handset! Not possible to fix because most trackers cant be heard loud enough in whole house and also my mum tends to dismantle things all the time.
  17. canary

    canary Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    South coast
    If you are going to redirect post (I did for mum too) then do be aware that the Post office will send a letter to the original address saying that they are redirecting the post and where they are directing it too. I suspect this is to prevent fraud, but if you dont want your PWD knowing about it, make sure you watch out for it and remove it before its seen.

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