People with dementia WILL move your stuff around


Have more questions and don't know where to turn?

Join our community and get access to monthly support calls, an online chat forum for questions, and even monthly 1:1 calls with Rachael! CLICK HERE for more information.


…and that’s okay, because it’s really normal.

This is a hard thing for a lot of caregivers, including ones who work in senior living communities. 

Everywhere that I have worked, I’ve set up different interactive stations for my residents with dementia. These stations include places like a baby doll nursery or even an interactive kitchen. 

Anytime I’ve set one of these places up, some members of the staff complain. “But the residents take the baby dolls!” they’ll say. “They put them in their rooms and then we have to go get them.”

My response is always the same: “So what?”

The point of these interactive stations is for residents to do just that: take items that interest them, and move them around. Is it a little annoying when things go missing? Yes, of course it is. But, that’s the point: residents should be able to interact with their environment.

I have also had family caregivers complain of the same thing with their loved ones at home. “My dad takes all of the socks out of his drawer, and then he puts them in the kitchen,” one woman said to me. “How do I get him to stop doing that?”

While that is an annoying thing (having to go collect socks every day) it is not really that bad of a behavior. Her father probably thought he was being helpful. Dementia is a group of brain diseases—it changes the way that the person interacts with and understands the world. For one reason or another, moving socks from the drawer to the kitchen made sense to this man.

So, the conclusion is this: people with dementia will move your stuff. They’ll pick it up, enjoy it for a while, and then go stash it somewhere else. That’s normal. 

The key is for you to spend a couple extra minutes putting it back where it came from, so they can relocate it again the next day.

Liked it? Take a second to support Rachael Wonderlin on Patreon!
Become a patron at Patreon!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Rachael Wonderlin is an internationally-recognized dementia care expert and consultant. She has a Master’s in Gerontology and is the author of three published books with Johns Hopkins University Press. Rachael owns Dementia By Day, a dementia care consulting and education company.

16 things poster
Get the FREE “16 Things” poster!

You're not alone!

Get personal support from Rachael and connect with other Caregivers when you join our community.

16 Things I Would Want If I Got Dementia

Get the FREE “16 Things” poster for your personal use—or better yet—your dementia care community’s staff break room!

I wrote this poem years ago, but to date, it’s the most popular piece I’ve ever created.

When you sign up, you’ll also get access to Rachael’s weekly newsletter so that you can get her top tips, links to new content as soon as it’s released, and special offers directly in your inbox! We’ll never sell your information, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

16 things poster
Shopping Cart

Have questions?

Book a Dementia Detective
call and talk to a DBD expert!