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Accusing, suspicion and paranoia

The person you are caring for may sometimes become suspicious, believing that other people are taking advantage or intending to harm him/her in some way.

You may be accused of stealing possessions or of being unfaithful, for example.

Such ideas may be partly due to failing memory or an inability to recognise people the person knows. People with dementia sometimes misinterpret the world around them, which may be why they make such accusations. Probably, what they want is to make sense of what's happening.

If s/he accuses you of stealing, it can be frustrating for you. The person may be hiding things because s/he feels insecure and wants to keep possessions safe, but forgets where they're hidden.

When something goes missing, try to find it. It's important not to take the accusations seriously and it's pointless contradicting him/her, as an argument will probably make things worse.

Tips:

  • Keep copies of important items such as keys, identity documents and specs.
  • Check the contents of waste-paper baskets before emptying them.
  • Try to discover his/her favourite hiding places.