Dad thinks his carers are stealing from him

It’s incredibly common for older people, especially those with dementia or cognitive impairment, to believe that people are stealing from them. Often, it’s their carers who are in the firing line.

Why should this be? In many ways, it’s understandable. They are physically vulnerable and can’t easily control their environment, so they feel doubly insecure. On top of this, they may forget that they have entrusted valuables or cash to relatives, or that they have put their possessions in a safe place.

Is this something you should worry about if your loved one makes an accusation? Probably not, but you should investigate and be sure of your facts before challenging their carers. In the vast majority of cases, they will be completely honest.

What’s your experience of this? How did you manage claims of theft? We look forward to hearing from you.

Best wishes

SimplyHealth Care Community team

4 Replies

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  • My father was drugged and his money which I had given him for a hair cut the next day stolen from his wallet. My father was in his ninety's. I believed him and so did the management. It turned out that a carer had been doing it in other care homes before my Dad's. He put the drug in my father's bed-time drink. My father could see what the carer was doing, but the drug rendered him completely unable to move or do anything about it.

    My mother also lost her engagement ring and many other personal items of sentimental value. It was a night-mare whilst they were both in care and I wouldn't wish it on anyone.

    All the relatives of the patients set up a committee to monitor their relatives and what was going on because I raised the issues with other relatives when I saw them in the lounge.

    One relatively young man with brain damage due to an accident, told his sister that he was continually woken up by sex going on in the next room. They didn't believe him, but I said keep an open mind.

    Eventually it came to light that the manageress, a married woman with an eight year old daughter, was having sex with a young care worker in the next room to this man.

    She was sacked, but it went on some time before it came to light and in the meantime, I had been to see her because my mother was not being fed. Luckily my father was of sound mind and he told me about it.

    When I approached the manageress, she said my father didn't know what he was saying and he must have been confused.

    I had to be assertive and I said my father may have many things wrong with him, but one thing he is not is confused. If he says my mother is not being fed, she is not being fed and I want it sorted. The next time I went in, my father told me she was being fed again.

    I was not well myself, but I would have loved to have cared for them myself, but with a job, a family and a home to run, it was not possible.

    I went in as often as I could to check on them and eventually had to contact the Quality Care Commission because there was so much wrong. That is when they found out what the manageress was up to when she was supposed to be looking after the patients.

  • I think this is also a nearly universal truth. We caring family aren't always in the best of health ourselves. And then there's the family that does.

  • Yes my mum is 95, and is always accusing people of stealing from her. I have to be patient and say oh dear, never mind, I find things hoarded away, her carers were stealing her tea spoons, and I found them all in a box under her table. I also get accused of stealing, it is a relief to know that this is a common occurrence in older people. Thank you.

  • It's something I think about a lot. I've experienced both sides. A family member who made the accusations even when we got her to sign something to say the item had been gifted, then a lady nearby now serving a prison sentence. . . Ad of course she denied it, even in the face of covert cctv

    And a family member who was accused of making sure she got the lion's share - but was there any truth in it?

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