Stamford Hill woman’s book gives fascinating insight into delusions of theft

Landa George

Landa George - Credit: Archant

Pots, pans, screwdrivers, sugar: these are just some of the things that Landa George’s mother has wrongly accused neighbours, friends, and family of stealing over the last twenty years.

In 2009, mental health nurse Landa’s mother was diagnosed with vascular dementia. It was only then that she and her family realised there might be a link between her illness and her delusions. “Up to that point, we thought it was just her personality,” said Landa.

Now Landa, of Stamford Hill, is launching a free e-book - Delusion of Theft in Dementia - to raise awareness of the issue, informed by her experiences with her mother.

“Over the years I was managing my mum’s personality, and we were in conflict even though I was trying to support her. We would always argue, because she thought I wasn’t listening to her when I didn’t believe her.”

In Landa’s experience it is almost always non-valuable items that become the focus.

“She accuses the neighbour of taking sugar, and she’ll hide piles of scissors under the sofa because she’s convinced the neighbour is taking them. She’s had arguments in the street with the neighbour over it, even called the police.”

The issue is not unique to Landa’s mum. After announcing the book at National Carers Day last year, she was surprised by how many attendees came up to her afterwards to talk about people exhibiting the same delusions.

Most Read

“One woman told me her mother-in-law kept accusing people of stealing cheese - never anything else, just cheese.

“The book should be useful for both carers and professionals dealing with vulnerable older people with delusions. I go through things that help, as well as what not to do.

”You have to listen, take their concerns seriously and be reassuring. Decluttering the environment around them helps too, being active, making sure the person isn’t home alone. And never shout.”

Landa hopes the book will help improve the quality of care for those with dementia.

A launch will take place at Dalston’s LR James library at 3pm on Thursday. Tickets can be reserved here.