The first time your senior accuses you of stealing something from her, whether it’s money or an item she uses often, you might feel extremely hurt. But if she has dementia or other cognitive issues, this can be something that happens more often than you might think.
Try to Understand the Motivation
If your senior has dementia, there’s more going on behind these accusations. The first thing to remember is that she may be experiencing delusions or paranoia. But the other factors you need to consider could be that your senior feels that she has no control or she’s embarrassed because she can’t remember where she put a favorite item. There’s a lot that can be behind these accusations and they don’t necessarily mean that your senior truly believes you’re a thief. Often she’s trying to make sense of what is going on and that’s an explanation that makes sense to her.
Offer to Help Her Find the Missing Items
Your response matters a lot when it comes to keeping these incidents calm. Offer to help your senior find her money or whatever item is missing. Don’t try to use logic, because that’s not going to help in this situation. Express concern and let your senior know that you’re all in on helping her. Follow through and do as much as you reasonably can to help her.
Keep up with New “Hiding Places” as Much as Possible
Often your senior might think that particular objects have been stolen because she can’t find them. She may have left them in another part of the house and forgotten or she may have stashed them somewhere. Typically your senior might “hide” things when she’s afraid that they will get stolen. Do what you can to try to keep up with your senior’s favorite stash spots so that you can locate items more quickly.
Keep Duplicate Items on Hand
In the case of inexpensive items, it might make sense to have more than one on hand. This buys you a little bit of time to find the original item for your senior. This can be an excellent way to help your senior avoid being upset for long periods of time when she can’t find something she’s been looking for. You might want to be careful where you stock the duplicate items, though.
These kinds of accusations, especially when they’re happening multiple times per day, can get exhausting. Make sure that you’re taking care of yourself and getting regular breaks. Hiring elderly care providers can help you to feel more secure taking time away because you’ll know that someone is there with your senior.
If you or an aging loved one are considering elderly care in Princeton Junction, NJ, please call the caring staff at Care Street Home Care. You can reach our Mercer/Burlington Division at (609) 496-5666.
Dr. Shelly, as he is fondly known, has served as an Alzheimer’s Support Group Facilitator in Mercer County and is a Certified Dementia Instructor. Knowledgeable, compassionate, and unusually devoted, his guidance is crucial in helping families understand their options and render decisions for their loved ones’ care plan. Dr. Shelly’s extensive experience, sincere and pleasant demeanor, and professional affiliations have made him a vital asset to Care Street.
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