Have you ever gone to leave the house and searched forever to find your car keys? Yup! Happens to all of us, we place something in a specific place and then later when we go to find it we cannot find it.
Normally, for most of us this happens on occasion but for someone with dementia this may be an everyday occurrence, possibly multiple times a day. When we go to help a family member with dementia in their home it is often to help them find these missing items, which are often right out in the open or in the most obscure location imaginable.
Sometimes when our loved one with dementia misplaces something they will start accusing people of stealing from them. Family members or complete strangers are all potential suspects and these accusations can be emotionally very painful. As painful as it may be to have your loved one accuse you of stealing from them may be it is important to keep in mind that it isn’t really THEM making the accusation, it is the DISEASE.
Dementia destroys the brain and especially in the beginning it destroys not only memory but also the ability for rational thought and logic. So when they can’t find something they want (memory problem) and they know they didn’t do anything with it (again memory problem) then it is obvious that someone stole it even if no one has been in their home (logic problem) and if you happen to come into their field of vision or thought then you are the guilty party (rational thought problem). This is all symptoms of the disease, the same as a rash is a symptom of an allergic reaction.
The best thing you can do during these times is to reassure your loved one that you will help them find whatever they are looking for, and don’t blame them for anything. You will need a lot of patience, love, understanding and patience. (Yes, I did put patience twice.)
Check in often, I will post more about patience and loving while caring for a family member with dementia.