A person with dementia may make accusations against people around them, including their family, friends and carers.

The most common accusations are that others are trying to steal from them or harm them. They may also accuse their partner of being unfaithful, or of being an impostor. Being falsely accused can obviously be distressing. Often the person’s accusations are based on a delusion or hallucination.

Sight, perception and hallucinations

A person with dementia’s accusations can be based on a delusion or hallucination. Understand more about sight, perception and hallucinations in dementia.

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Accusing – tips for carers

  • Try not to take it personally when the person falsely accuses you.
  • Consider that a person may have confused the past and present, so accusations may be based on things that have happened in the past.
  • Don’t try to argue with or correct the person. What they think has happened feels real to them. Acknowledge their feelings and offer them reassurance.
  • Try to find the reason behind the accusation. If, for example, a person is accusing someone of stealing something, is it because that person has forgotten where they put it?
  • If the person is accusing someone else of something, don’t automatically assume it is untrue. If it’s possible, look into whether it’s true or not.
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