False accusations

False accusations

It’s not unusual that a person with dementia makes accusations against people around them at some point. Common accusations are stealing or that someone is trying to harm the person. It can be hurtful and distressing to be charged with false accusations from the person with dementia. The accusations can be based on hallucination, delusion, a reminder from the past or that the person with dementia have forgotten where they have put certain items.

Don't take it personally.

Try to understand the persons reaction and remember the person is not against you personally.

Try to find out what the accusation is based on.

Is it something they have misplaced? Does the person have trouble recognising people? Is the person confusing the past with the present? Could it be a hallucination or delusion?

Don't try to argue with or correct the person.

Arguing can make the situation worse. Keep in mind that what they are experiencing is real to them. Try to reassure the person and acknowledge their feelings of distress.

Offer a simple answer.

Keep your explanations short and simple. Lengthy explanations may confuse and overwhelm the person.

Switch the focus to another activity.

Sometimes it may help to engage the person with dementia in an activity or ask for help with a chore.

Duplicate any lost items.

If you experience that the person with dementia often misplaces the same items, have several available. That could be wallet, handkerchief, comb etc.

Investigate any accusations that could possibly be true.

If the person is accusing someone else of something, don't automatically assume it is untrue. Investigate any accusations that could possibly be true.


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Alzheimer’s Society
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Alzheimer Society of Canada


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