Alzheimer’s and dementia (AD/D) loved ones may become paranoid or suspicious about family or staff “stealing” their belongings. This may happen because they forget where they have put their valuable items. On the other hand, they may really be upset because you have taken the car away or made the decision to sell their home to pay for residential care. They feel like they are losing control over decisions that they have always been able to make on their own. But someone else is now needed to make those decisions on their behalf.
So many times AD/D patients will place their jewelry in a Kleenex or paper towel and hide it somewhere for “safe keeping,” like their nightgown drawer. Unfortunately when they find this tissue a week later, they think it is a dirty tissue and throw it away. And there goes their rings or necklaces.
If you are dealing with someone with memory loss, using a therapeutic fiblet (little white lie) might work to protect the family jewelry. You might explain that the prong is broken or weak and a jeweler needs to examine it. That will allow you to place the family jewelry in a safe deposit box and replace it with jewelry that looks very similar to the original jewelry that Mom or Grandma had been wearing. Or you might discover that your Mom doesn’t even remember that she is no longer wearing her rings which makes it so much easier on everyone involved.
Using therapeutic fiblets is a well accepted practice that is used in the Alzheimer’s and dementia world. Many people are uncomfortable using them, but if you are doing it for the good of the person involved or helping to keep that person in his or her comfort zone, it can be a very positive technique for the care-giver and the care-receiver. It takes practice to learn how to use them and become comfortable with using them, but therapeutic fiblets can make a huge difference in your life and the person for whom you are caring.