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Accusations of people taking stuff
Sharon S.
Posted: Wednesday, March 13, 2019 11:40 AM
Joined: 3/12/2019
Posts: 4

My 85 year old dad was diagnosed with alzheimer approximately 7 or 8 years ago in early stages. He has been on Namenda from the beginning. However, after a recent 10 day hospital stay, the doctors there commented that they don't think he has alzheimer's but some other dementia.

Now to a recent dad accuses "Jacob" (we don't know a Jacob) of taking stuff from him, his glasses, his shoes, his handkerchiefs and has stated that this Jacob hit him in the back. We have cameras installed for when we are not there so we know that no one is coming that we aren't aware of. He says that Jacob is living down in one of his shops and we have to go unlock in numerous times and come back to tell him that no one is in there. He will say those kids took this, then sometimes he will include my son's name which is not a kid, he is an adult.

 How do we deal with this? He has quit wearing his glasses because he says that Jacob or those kids took his glasses and the ones that are there aren't his (but they are).

This is seriously the first major problem we have had with him. He knows us, he dresses and feeds himself, showers himself with help, goes to the restroom on his own and has control.

How do you deal with something like this? He gets angry because I haven't got his glasses back. He gets angry if I tell him that I don't know a Jacob.

Would appreciate any input.

Posted: Wednesday, March 13, 2019 11:55 AM
Joined: 11/13/2014
Posts: 2296

Time for fiblets. He is having delusions and just go along with him. Tell Jacob it's time to leave and open the door for him. I kicked people out,took care of the kids, lied all of the time.
Posted: Wednesday, March 13, 2019 11:55 AM
Joined: 3/8/2018
Posts: 808

Hello Sharon and welcome to the boards

First rule of Dementia Fight Club: you don’t reason with Dementia Fight Club

The key is to step into your LO’s reality and validate, not explain or contradict. So the response becomes “I talked to Jacob, he said he’s sorry for what he’s done and he’s moving to Pittsburgh” “we changed the locks, Jacob won’t come here any more” “oh look I found your glasses!”...and then change the subject. “Therapeutic fiblets” is the term used here

My mom in MC thought there were people in her house, loudly playing cards and “they won’t leave”. She was pretty agitated about it. I told her I’d take care of it, and send everyone home. I closed the door to her room so it was quieter, waited a few minutes and told her they’re gone and to find somewhere else to play cards

Your dad may need more supervision than he has, and some form of activity/distraction when family isn’t around

Posted: Wednesday, March 13, 2019 1:25 PM
Joined: 10/25/2018
Posts: 238

Take him to the optometrist and get him some new glasses. Perhaps he is having trouble seeing out of the ones he has, and that's why he believes they are not his. Then take a nice, big picture of his wearing his new glasses, so he can refer back to that if this delusion continues.

As far as Alzheimer's goes, it cannot be definitively diagnosed until after death. I am awaiting the results of my dad's postmortem to find out whether or not his diagnosis had been correct. Hopefully I'll get that soon, he passed at the end of November.

Chris F.
Posted: Wednesday, March 13, 2019 6:31 PM
Joined: 12/29/2015
Posts: 79

Hi Sharon - we dealt with a similar situation with my 89 yo mother in MC who believed she shared her (private) bathroom with teenage boys. At first, it was one young boy who came in the middle of the night to use the bathroom and progressed to a whole host of older boys - sounded like a fraternity! She believed her toiltetires belonged to them. My husband is a lawyer, so I told her he had spoken with the staff and the boys were told to never use her bathroom again. I wrote her name on adhesive labels and stuck them on everything (Pat's toothpaste, Pat's lotion, Pat's shampoo...) she appreciated that because "if they do come back, they'll know those are mine." 

Like Miss Her and Sel said, tell your dad the staff has spoken to Jacob, and he won't be coming back. Embellish as much as you need. Don't be surprised if it comes up again. It may. Just repeat what you said before, maybe with a twist. That's what we had to do. The subject hasn't come up for over a month now. 

Good luck and let us know how it goes.

Posted: Wednesday, March 13, 2019 9:46 PM
Joined: 7/12/2017
Posts: 1540

Do you need to be "right"?  Does it really matter?  Go with it, and move mom's car was in the shop "getting a new battery" for three months, as she couldn't drive anymore and we sold it, so whatever, fib, bend the truth, in the long and short calm and peace is what you want
Greg G
Posted: Friday, March 15, 2019 7:34 PM
Joined: 2/8/2017
Posts: 984

Hey Sharon,

You have received some excellent advice on things to do.  I agree 100% with all of them.  And I am going to add something else.  To me, you indicated that dad spends some time alone.  I will assume (yeah I know) that he lives in his own place.  If he is being by himself for some extended periods of time, his brain can focus on all the things Jacob has and is doing.  Kind of stuck on the hamster wheel.  More activities (maybe adult day services) to focus on could very well help dad think less about Jacob and who ever else is causing him problems.

Good luck and best wishes, Greg

Posted: Thursday, March 21, 2019 9:36 PM
Joined: 5/12/2018
Posts: 83

Hi Sharon.  Sometimes it's hard to hear "maybe they shouldn't be alone anymore.."  I know it was hard for me and I still struggle with it.  Going with whatever is being said by our LO's is the best rule ; )

Also, a facilitator shared in a group once that his DW was constantly bringing up a name and he had no idea who it was, thought it was just the disease, a  made up name of this person.  After some family discussions turns out that was someone from her childhood. ; ).. He could not have known this name from her tiny childhood.. but after he learned he just..went with it.  

Maybe "Jacob" needs to get caught and put in juvenile hall and not be able to return..... ^ : D

xx D

Chef CJ
Posted: Thursday, March 21, 2019 9:59 PM
Joined: 3/21/2019
Posts: 6

So sorry for your lost  Pidgeon92...

NC caregiver
Posted: Friday, March 22, 2019 6:14 AM
Joined: 2/7/2018
Posts: 855

You might try taking the glasses & then have someone bring them in saying they found Jacob & got his glasses back and told Jacob he is not welcome anymore .  Mom frequently talks about someone taking her things . She had a very elaborate story of 2 guys stealing her car (which is in my driveway as we speak) .  She does this less often now . When in stage 4/5 she often accused others of coming in her house to steal stuff . That was her explanation of why she couldn't find things.  Now she needs to be able to see her shoes & purse when she's in bed because "those boys" might come in & take them .  As others have said, it does no good to argue or use logic to try to convince them . This is his reality so you have to go into his reality .   Some YouTube things I have found helpful are Teepa Snow videos, Careblazers series, & Dementia with Grace . I also liked Tam Cummings book . And the 36 Hour Day is a good reference.
Posted: Friday, March 22, 2019 11:36 AM
Joined: 4/9/2018
Posts: 66

My mom went through the thing about the glasses but in her case it was "The eye Dr. gave me back the wrong glasses." It was pretty irritating but it wasn't often enough that I had to do more than just say "No she didn't. Those are yours," then change the subject. She would sigh and shake her head and mutter a bit but she didn't argue about it. She rarely wears her glasses so it didn't come up very often. I still find it pretty hard to enter her reality. I mostly just steer the conversation in another direction when she's obsessing about something she's imagined happened.
Posted: Friday, March 22, 2019 2:03 PM
Joined: 12/15/2011
Posts: 3964

Sharon, it sounds like your father is either hallucinating or having vivid dreams he believes are real.  My mother believed that her house was being robbed nightly by 30 burglars who all rode around in one car with her former housekeeper who was apparently the ring leader. Of course it was all nonsense. There is medication that can help with this (for my mom it was Risperdal.)  In addition, I found all the missing stuff, put it on mom's bed with a letter of apology from the housekeeper (which I wrote) that said she was very, very sorry for what she had done and she promised to never do it again.  Mom bought it and the housekeeper and burglars didn't come back for a good 3 weeks.  Then I had to find the stuff and write the letter again.

Return dad's glasses and all the other stuff with a letter of apology from Jacob (written by you) who will promise he will never come back because he is joining the army and will be overseas for the next 4 years or more.  With luck this will be enough to get rid of Jacob for a long time.  But, if not, just keep finding the stuff and writing a letter until your dad finally forgets about him.

Jo C.
Posted: Saturday, March 23, 2019 8:15 AM
Joined: 12/9/2011
Posts: 10735

Hello Sharon, and welcome to this supportive place.   I am sorry for what is happening and can certainly understand how stressful and difficult this is.   In my situation, with my Loved One, (LO), I too had a convoluted set of circumstances which affected pretty much everything.   There is no way to successfully deal with this without some intial time consuming approaches.  As things move forward and  the situations addressed, it will not be as overwhelming.

First and foremost, it is extremely important to get your father to a dementia specialist.  An accurate diagnosis for type of dementia is key to managing all else. Reason for this is; there are multiple different types of dementia of which Alzheimer's Disease is only one.  Sometimes, the initial diagnosis is incorrect. That happened with my LO.   Medications for one type of dementia can be contraindicated in another and make things even worse. The gold standard for accurate diagnosis is a good Neurologist who sees dementia patients as a routine part of his/her practice.  Our primary MDs are so good with so much, but they are not on the cutting edge of dementia dynamics.

It can take a month or sometimes even more to gain an appointment with a specialist as they are so booked up; so it is good to make that appointment asap.  Also, one can call in each day to see if there are any cancellations for that week and also ask to be placed on a waiting list for appointment cancellations.

Hallucinations are seeing and hearing things that are not there.  Delusions are rigid false beliefs.

In the situation as it is, I would suspect there may even be a possibility that there may be a diagnosis of Lewy Bodies Dementia; hallucinations are often very much a part of that dementia.  Vision changes are also a frequent issue with LBD.  If one Googles "vision changes in Lewy Bodies Dementia," there are multiple sources discussing this issue that you may find helpful.    LBD is often associated with Parkinson's Disease, but one can have LBD without having been diagnosed with Parkinson's.

Of course, it could also be another dementia which is why that specialist is so very important.

As for the glasses; your father's vision may well be changing secondary to the impact of the dementia changes in his brain that are affecting his vision.  This happened with my mother who had FrontoTemporal Dementia.   She became very angry about her "worthlesss" glasses and went on and on.  I took her to an Ophthalmologist ( not an Optometrist) to have her eyes and prescription checked.  The Ophthalmologist conducted a lengthy exam and also gave a reading test with different lenses.  He took me aside and explained that there was nothing wrong with the glasses; it was sadly, visual changes that occurred secondary to dementia impact upon the brain and no amount of changing lens prescriptions would be helpful. 

I agree with the practical advice already given regarding going along with your father's delusional beliefs about "Jacob," and other matters.  It does not cost us anything to validate our LOs feelings.  First rule in all of this is never, ever argue, or try to correct such beliefs; it will only worsen matters on several levels.  Your father's world reality is no longer the actual reality you/we live in; so we must enter their world reality as we are capable of doing that; they are no longer capable of being in ours.

Also, I am not certain if your father is living alone or not. If he is living alone with no 24 hour carer, this is no longer a safe situation.  Adjustments will have to be made in such a situation. 

You are a loving and caring daughter, you are doing your best under trying circumstances; there is no perfection in all of this, just the best one can do with the challenges at hand.   As you learn more with an accurate diagosis and get things into place, it will at least provide you a road map so you will know what to pretty much expect and then adequate plans can be made for various eventualities.

Without that accurate diagnosis, it is like being parachuted from a plane in the dark, not knowing which country you are in, without a road map, not speaking the language and you MUST get to a destination, but you do not know where that destination precisely is.  Diagnosis will at least bring daylight, give you a starting map and you will know which path will be best.

Best wishes are being sent your way; please do let us know how things are going and how you are doing, we will be thinking of you and we truly do care.


Jo C.
Posted: Saturday, March 23, 2019 3:04 PM
Joined: 12/9/2011
Posts: 10735

Posted: Saturday, March 23, 2019 3:20 PM
Joined: 3/13/2019
Posts: 1

Hi Sharon I am sorry you and your family are going through this.  It can be very difficult and challenging with someone with Alzheimers and Dementia. Has your dad been checked for a UTI?  This often occurs with the elderly especially if there is a change in mental status.  I suggest that you provide him with plenty of cranberry juice/water.  I am caring for my partners mom and she went to the Drs twice since she has been home from the MC unit.  They ran test on her and she didnt have a UTI but she was dehydrated.
Posted: Sunday, March 24, 2019 7:37 PM
Joined: 1/28/2019
Posts: 22

My mom is doing a lot of this as well, not actually naming anyone but her glasses are all wrong or not hers and then the next day (or the next hour) they are hers and fine.  We've made an appointment with her eye doctor to see if there really is something wrong or it's just the dementia.

I'm intrigued about Jo C's statement that with a diagnosis there's a road map - I'm thinking that must vary with medical providers.  We went to a gero-psych unit in a local hospital to get the diagnosis but basically got no real road map of what to expect going forward just that mom was going to get more challenging and links to online sites to check out.  It still feels sometimes like I'm out on a windy corner and just poking at things with a stick and hoping for the best outcome, whatever that may look like.  I have found reading some of the posts on this forum and talking to friends and coworkers that my experience isn't unusual and that we're doing the best we can and the right things but it's still hard.

I will say this about the fiblets and redirection - sometimes it won't work.  My mom, even in her not good times, will not let a redirection happen and she can smell the fiblet a mile off.  If we don't answer, that just makes things worse.  She's determined to be angry with us and blame things on someone else.  It's hard to stand there and take it but I can see that it's how she's dealing with the disease - her brain can't recognize it's impaired so when things are missing or moved, it's someone else's fault.  I wish I could give you some good advice but I've yet to find something that works myself.

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