Why do sufferers always think we are stealing from them

Harley

Registered User
Apr 20, 2007
20
Sheffield
One of the things that I have noticed is that people with Alzheimer's always think everyone is stealing from them. (Except my dad, who is actually going out and doing the stealing himself at this stage, but that's another thread)

Does anyone know why this is such a reccuring theme, has research found any answers? Really curious as to why this is so common.
 

noelphobic

Registered User
Feb 24, 2006
3,452
Liverpool
the obvious answer is that it's some kind of paranoia. I don't know whether any research has been done to explain this phenomenon though.
 

Skye

Registered User
Aug 29, 2006
17,000
SW Scotland
I don't know, but I would suspect it's all to do with memory loss.

They forget where they put things, don't want to admit it, so assume it has been stolen.

It's worse when it's money, because that can lead to all sorts of accusations. But again I think it's because they lose the ability to understand it (my John lost this at a very early stage), panic because they think they haven't got any, and accuse everyone else.

Just my theory, of course, but it makes sense to me!
 

Canadian Joanne

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 8, 2005
16,325
66
Toronto, Canada
Yes, I think it's about memory loss. Also, since rational thinking seems to disappear about this time, it's impossible to explain to the person that it's their memory loss which is causing the problems.. Since nothing is wrong with them (we throw denial into the mix), it must be that someone is stealing their money, and the most likely person is the one they see the most.

Harley, AD patients will also take other people's things or shoplift simply because they think they are theirs or they want that item & take it, much like a young child. Again, it comes down to impaired cognition and the loss of social inhibitions, which isn't only about taking clothes off. My mother used to make LOUD remarks about others' fatness, big noses, bad skin etc etc. Obesity was a favourite topic of hers, even when she was almost 4 stone overweight & looked like a little lumpa-lumpa. She told me once - staring me in the eyes & stark naked, with her stomach hanging out and down attractively - that she had never been fat. Sigh......

These days are now gone, of course.

Joanne
 

jenniferpa

Registered User
Jun 27, 2006
39,448
Joanne: I can so relate to that "never been fat" comment. My mother, who spent her entire life worrying about her weight, suddenly decided after her strokes that she was a size 12 (22 more like). It must be 40 years or more since she was that size.

Jennifer
 

Helena

Registered User
May 24, 2006
715
With Vascular Dementia its

"somethings lost " years and years before the real problems become apparent

I remember so well all the times my Mother phoned me late at night claiming she had lost her watch or the sound on the tv or the phone did not work or whatever and no amount of patient ........

Are you sure your watch is not caught in the sleeve of one of your hand knitted cardigans ?

Have you pressed the mute button on remote control ?

are you sure its not just that your hearings bad today ?

would resolve it

Yet next day she would phone and tell me she had found x or y or z

Later the paranoia was carrying her handbag with ALL her savings books in it ........i eventually managed to lock them away in a drawer she could not manage to open

The next paranoia was she did not have any money despite £700 in her bureau

Seems to me that diagnosis / recognition of VD or AD is made way way too late
 

Nebiroth

Registered User
Aug 20, 2006
3,511
It is because the person puts things away - and very often, in completely inappropriate and downright weird places - and then forgets they have done so. They will then go back and look where they think the things should be - and of course can't find whatever they're looking for. Of course, they can't have forgotten, there's nothing wrong with them, therefore, the only rational explanation is that someone is moving and/or stealing things.

The desire to find an "explanation" plus the denial element make for a powerful combination. So much so, that it makes more sense - and is less painful - to believe that your loved ones (or mysterious "someones" that seem able to enter your house without ever being seen) are stealing from you than it is to accept that you've stuck your slippers in the freezer only five minutes ago but can't remember doing it.

It is a way to rationalise the situation, in which (to them) objects are mysteriously vanishing.

There can also be a belief of having had things that have never existed - often this can be traced back to a confused old memory.

My Dad was totally convinced that he had a set of black underwear and that because he couldn't find them, we'd hidden them in the loft.

This was a combination of remembering an old set that we'd thrown away years ago, and my mentioning that we couldn't buy his new underwear in the shop the day before because all they had was black in the wrong size.

It is usually almost impossible to persuade someone they are wrong - they will just cling to their reality for all they are worth. Now and then Dad still mutter about the underwear he never had.

More seriously, it can be a sign of paranoia, in which case it is usually associated with a particular person doing these things, and usually out of "malice" with intent to hurt or harm. So it will be "the evil neighbour Mr X" who is "stealing my money" rather than "I can't find my slippers, someone must have stolen/moved them".

In my experience anyway.
 

Natashalou

Registered User
Mar 22, 2007
426
london
oo yes

Canadian Joanne said:
Yes, I think it's about memory loss. Also, since rational thinking seems to disappear about this time, it's impossible to explain to the person that it's their memory loss which is causing the problems.. Since nothing is wrong with them (we throw denial into the mix), it must be that someone is stealing their money, and the most likely person is the one they see the most.

Harley, AD patients will also take other people's things or shoplift simply because they think they are theirs or they want that item & take it, much like a young child. Again, it comes down to impaired cognition and the loss of social inhibitions, which isn't only about taking clothes off. My mother used to make LOUD remarks about others' fatness, big noses, bad skin etc etc. Obesity was a favourite topic of hers, even when she was almost 4 stone overweight & looked like a little lumpa-lumpa. She told me once - staring me in the eyes & stark naked, with her stomach hanging out and down attractively - that she had never been fat. Sigh......

These days are now gone, of course.


these personal comments about others are SOOOOO EMBARRASING. When mum was in hospital she became obsessed with the size of peoples bottoms. She made very loud remarks about everyones rear end. Regretabbly the ward manager WAS fairly well endowed in that area.
Mum even convinced herself it was part of the staff criteria to have a large bottom to work on the ward and tried to draw me into discussions on the subject. It seems quite funny now and thank goodness she has now stopped doing it!
 
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Harley

Registered User
Apr 20, 2007
20
Sheffield
Really don't want to offend anyone as I am new to this forum. But some of these posts make me laugh out loud. However would we cope if we weren't able to laugh at our loved ones sometimes. :D
 

Skye

Registered User
Aug 29, 2006
17,000
SW Scotland
Harley, one of the lovely things about TP is that, however dire things look, we can usually find something to laugh about. Try Tea Room!
 

Tender Face

Account Closed
Mar 14, 2006
5,379
NW England
Wasn't going to mention this bit of trivia today - but in case it raises a smile, having just read this thread - had a battle with mum this morning about cream cakes!!!!

I delivered shopping and lunch etc this morning ... complete with fresh cream cake treats as behoves Saturday morning visit .... I was lambasted with '"What have you brought those for? .... I've been saving these up since last week!"

'These' being the cream cakes I delivered LAST Saturday ........ Where those cakes have been the last seven days I daren't imagine!!!!!! :eek: Me trying to get them off her .... tell her she would get food poisining ..... they really didn't cost that much ..... she grabbed the package off me like a prized possession!!!!!

I've had many accusations over many years (frightens me to think when I could now honestly say 'symptoms' began) ... but a simple 'incident' like that this morning tells me there is a whole sense of loss of security ...... whether it's cream cakes or anything else .... a security which is helped by 'having things' .... cash being stashed somewhere ..... week old cream cakes in reserve ..... empty containers 'which may come in useful' .....?????

Whether it's a generational thing? Whether it is purely a by-product of mum's dementia ....... ????? Just learning to accept it's 'my fault' when things go missing/out of their use by date and to smile sweetly and say 'Of course, it is'......

:) Karen, x
 

Margarita

Registered User
Feb 17, 2006
10,824
london
'Of course, it is'......
5 years on and I have learn that of course it is me that mad , that I am Stupidly losti in to the madness as my mother says in Spanish to me today (that does not sound right in English) when she confused me saying to her washing gold fish with cooking her fish.


(Don’t forget that chemical control are perception how we perceive think and if the disease is hitting that area , your geting all those Systems )


yes I belive that its more that they forget Mind go blank forget where they put it , what has been said to them
paranoia set in and its every one fault , but they own ., when they can not find it Amazing really what can happen when those chemicals in the brain go wrong ,
 
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noelphobic

Registered User
Feb 24, 2006
3,452
Liverpool
Margarita said:
5 years on and I have learn that of course it is me that mad , that I am lost Stupidly in to the madness as my mother says in Spanish to me today (that does not sound right in English) when she confused me washing gold fish with cooking her fish.
As long as YOU don't get confused and cook the goldfish :eek:
(are you supposed to wash them, by the way)
 

Margarita

Registered User
Feb 17, 2006
10,824
london
Just learning to accept it's 'my fault' when things go missing/out of their use by date and to smile sweetly and say 'Of course, it is'......
Karen how I learn its my fault From joining TP, because its to much of a coincidence, that what is happen to my mother is happening to so many other people , I have read what you have wrote shared also , and its like reading what has happen , happening to my mother , so it not my mother fuilt nore my fauilt , it’s the disease fault I blame it all on that , my mother can never understand that , but I can I can cry with the frustration of it all and get depress or I can learn and become stronger , seem to me I get stronger over the years with the help of TP :D
 

Margarita

Registered User
Feb 17, 2006
10,824
london
As long as YOU don't get confused and cook the goldfish
(are you supposed to wash them, by the way)
:eek: you never know ROTFL


I ended up showing my mother the fish and the 12 baby fish they have had , and she understood :), but I could of never of done that without karen shareing her poem so maggie ((((hugs )))) Karen
 
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blue sea

Registered User
Aug 24, 2005
270
England
How great that we can both laugh and cry on TP! I thought that dad, in the early days, seemed so certain always that he had not changed, but that the world around him had. It was stronger than denial of his condition - he genuinely believed that it was the fault of the object or the person, not him. Once he started to mix up time / days, this caused the usual problems. Once he went repeatedly to the post office on the wrong day of the week to get his pension. Eventually the assistant actually gave him the pension ( a day early ) to get rid of him - a victory over officialdom I think! Then he went to get his paper and had an argument with the newsagent because he said he had been given yesterday's paper as he knew it was Thursday, not Wednesday as he had just collected his pension. Absolutely logical! :confused:
As we have so many desperately sad moments, it seems only fair that we can find some humour occasionally!
Blue sea
 

Margarita

Registered User
Feb 17, 2006
10,824
london
Absolutely logical!
sound logical to me :)

- he genuinely believed that it was the fault of the object or the person,
Its like a puzzle who do we blame the post office woman ?

Your right as in life anyway we always have to blame an object or person


Once he started to mix up time / days, this caused the usual problems.
Yes that is what I am finding now with my mother Mixing time is the most hardest because she wants her dinner, after the fish issue .

I cook her lunch and gave her it at 11:30 , that was her dinner , and then something light meal at 4pm , now I understand when CPN said I should write all mum challenging behaviour down for something .
 
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Skye

Registered User
Aug 29, 2006
17,000
SW Scotland
I'm having the same problems with John, Maggie. He starts wanting his lunch about 10.30, then a cup of tea, then his tea at 3.00.

WHen he's had his tea he starts nagging about going to bed. It used to be 8.00, but it's got earlier and earlier.

I think it's just boredom. Since he can't read, and doesn't understand anything, he can't even enjoy TV.

I put him to bed at 6.00 this evening, at his insistance. Now he's just been down to see what I'm doing!
 

Margarita

Registered User
Feb 17, 2006
10,824
london
I think it's just boredom.
I was thinking that also
As I gave mum something light at 4 pm as soon as she had eaten it , she said that your give me my cream crackers later No ” and went to lay down to sleep , like your John she pop up in a hour just to check I am hear .

I thought to myself she must be bored if she just thinking what she going to eat later on then if I did try and do something with her motivation her , she just say margarita let me sleep , so I do