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Misplacing Objects

Living With Alzheimer's >> Day-To-Day Issues | 04.24.15

Misplacing objects: the frustration of losing things

Losing track of the occasional item is something that happens to everyone. Remember the feeling of frustration the last time you couldn’t find your car keys or the remote control? Now imagine constantly misplacing items that are important to you. Imagine the desperation of not being able to remember where you last placed your most cherished belongings. That’s the situation many people with dementia find themselves in.

The disease also causes suspicions to arise. If a person can’t find an object, someone surely must have taken it. Accusations may be directed at friends, family members and other caregivers that they are stealing items or hiding them.

How should you respond?

Don’t take anger about missing items or accusations of theft personally. The person with dementia truly cannot understand that it is their memory deficits and disorientation that are to blame for their inability to find misplaced objects. Try to respect their feelings and calmly try to help them find the missing items.

In the person’s living quarters, consider having lots of shelves instead of keeping belongings “hidden” in drawers. When personal items are kept in the open and visible to the person with dementia, it might be easier for them to locate their possessions.

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