Coping with Moms Dementia When She Accuses You of Stealing

It's an emotional rollercoaster when a loved one with dementia accuses you of actions you haven't committed. Feelings of guilt, overwhelm, and stress are natural reactions.

understanding delusions in dementia and steps to manage them

1. Recognizing Delusions in Dementia

When dementia patients believe in scenarios like break-ins, thefts, or misplaced items without such events occurring, they're experiencing a delusion. This often arises due to memory gaps, which makes them create reasons that seem plausible to them.

2. Empowering Daughters of Dementia: A Workshop

To transition from feeling overwhelmed to empowered, consider attending specialized workshops. Workshops like "Empowering Daughters of Dementia" can offer valuable insights and coping strategies.

senior with dementia alone and sad

3. Three Crucial Insights on Delusions in Dementia

Medical Checks for Sudden Changes:

If there's an abrupt onset of delusions, consider a medical examination for underlying conditions, such as infections. Rapid behavioral changes might hint at treatable medical problems.

Communication Challenges:

Advanced dementia can make abstract communication tools, like phones, confusing for patients. They might better comprehend face-to-face interactions. Remote cameras or video feeds, like Sociavi, might be effective alternatives for staying connected.

Evaluating Living Arrangements:

Continuous progression of dementia can make independent living unsafe for patients. It's crucial to assess whether they can continue living alone, anticipating the inevitable need for supervised or 24-hour care.

4. The Imperfect Perfect Plan: Planning Ahead

Waiting for a crisis to determine caregiving solutions can be stressful and overwhelming. Being proactive by creating a roadmap for future care needs gives control over the situation. Although no plan is perfect, planning ahead provides clarity, reduces anxiety, and ensures the well-being of both the caregiver and the patient.


Delusions in dementia can be emotionally taxing for both the patient and their loved ones. By understanding the root causes and being proactive, caregivers can better navigate this challenging phase of the dementia journey.

Remember, proactive planning is the key to managing the unpredictable nature of dementia. Stay blessed and empowered in your caregiving journey.

Let me know in the comments below if you have questions about dementia that you need answered.

senior with dementia with her daughter Coping with Moms Dementia

Coping with Moms Dementia When She Accuses You of Stealing

[0:01] In the past month, my mother has started accusing me of breaking into her house, stealing things or moving her things around.

And whenever I call her, she accuses me and then she hangs up the phone.

It is starting to negatively impact my own health and wellness, but then I feel guilty for not helping her.

I am overwhelmed and stressed.

How do I calm down and accept that, right now, I'm enemy number one?

Firstly, I want to say that I'm very sorry that you're experiencing this.

I would recommend that you register to attend my next workshop where I go over what you can consider doing in order to go from being an overwhelmed daughter of dementia to an empowered daughter of dementia.

Workshop Recommendation: Empowering Daughters of Dementia

[0:52] I will drop the link in the show notes today. But back to your question, when a person living with dementia starts to believe things like somebody coming into their house or somebody stealing things or moving their items around, that is called a delusion.

Sometimes the delusion develops because when you cannot remember that you actually did something, then it becomes easy to fabricate a reason that makes sense to you.

[1:26] To explain what happened, right? Just think about that. You don't remember where you put something, so therefore somebody did it, correct? But having a delusion like this does tell me a little bit about where in your dementia journey, where in her dementia journey, your mom might actually be.

3 Tips for Coping with Moms Dementia

[1:45] Here are three things that jump right out at me from what you've described.

The first thing I want to say is, if this was a sudden change, if for example, overnight or over a very short period of time, your mom started to have these delusions, she might need to be checked for an infection like a urinary tract infection or a lung infection or anything like that. Because a sudden change like a delusion or paranoia or any other behavioral change that is sudden could be a sign of an underlying medical condition that can be treated. So consider if.

[2:22] She might need to be checked out for a form of infection. The second thing that jumped right out at me is that your mom may be struggling to comprehend how to speak on a phone anymore.

I had this happen with my mother. She can communicate face-to-face with me, but on a phone it is too abstract and too confusing to her. So perhaps you calling her is not good for either her or you.


You might consider other ways of monitoring her or communicating with her, using either remote cameras so you can see what's going on in the house, or even a product called Sociavi, which I'll also put in the show notes, which is a way of communicating with her via a video camera feed. The last thing that jumped out at me is if it wasn't a sudden change, that it might be a sign of your mom's dementia advancing, and you might need to consider if she is still safe to live alone.

[3:26] Any person living with dementia who lives long enough will not be able to live alone and they will need supervision for safety.

Do you have a plan put in place for the next phase of this journey for if or when, not if, but when mom cannot live alone anymore?

Because I know from my 30 years of working in health care as an occupational therapist, Even if my patient's family wasn't ready for 24-hour care, at some point, the crisis always forced them to provide 24-hour care.

But what happened was, then the crisis dictated the solution and not you dictating the solution to the problem of needing 24-hour care.

24-hour care is inevitable in a dementia journey. But if you are proactive and put a plan in place before you need it, you end up being in control of the situation. You know then from the beginning what you're willing to do and you know when you need to put these solutions in place and you can do it before the crisis hits, which then actually ends up decreasing your stress and anxiety and helps you keep control of your own life and your own health. I call this an imperfect perfect plan.

Find effective and empathetic ways to cope with your mom's dementia, especially when she accuses you of stealing. Explore valuable tips on dementia care and discover compassionate strategies to navigate this challenging situation.

So, if you like this video, please subscribe to my YouTube channel.

It's called Think Different Dementia and I will see you soon and as I always say, may the Lord bless you and keep you.

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About the author

“Think Different” Dementia’s owner, Lizette Cloete, OTR/L graduated as an Occupational Therapist from the University of Pretoria in South Africa in 1992. Lizette has almost 30 years of experience as an Occupational Therapist in a variety of settings, the latest being in the home health environment. She enjoys teaching on the topic of dementia, most recently presenting at a national conference on the topic “Dementia Made Simple”.

Disclaimer: These blogs, videos and any work done by Lizette Cloete OT, as a Member of Think Different Dementia, LLC, is given only as educational content and consulting work. This does not create an Occupational Therapist-Patient Relationship. The educational content and consulting work performed should not be considered medical treatment as an Occupational Therapist. The consulting work does not take the place of medical work normally performed by a licensed Occupational Therapist. Please consult a licensed Occupational Therapist for medical advice.

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