My aunt has paranoid schizophrenia. She has been living with my family (82 y.o. grandmother, my mother who just recently passed, and myself). I would say that her case is moderate. She can act appropriately in social situations, but it is obvious that something is right with her. She is unemployed and often walks to the bus stop and is gone from 8am-3pm. Living with her is all sorts of frustrating. She constantly harasses my grandmother (her mother). Just yesterday my aunt started calling her a worshiper of the devil. She is nearly impossible to reason with and does not take her medication. She has had an ongoing habit of stealing sentimental items and important documents. She has stolen her mother’s license, wedding ring and another ring, as well as her sister’s (my other aunt’s) many photos of daughter which she specifically said to her that she could not have. I believe she has stolen my mother’s bracelet that was given to my mother by her father. I am dying to have it back and asking for it wont do me any good. All she does is deny her taking anything. I consulted this forum once before asking if I had the right to search her room for said stolen items. It is difficult to search her room because she wraps most things in garbage bags or paper towels like it’s wrapping paper. It is difficult to go through all those things without leaving evidence that I was there. So I haven’t been able to search through very much. Although, my grandmother and I have concluded that my aunt keeps the most important things in her purse. We believe that she is keeping the stolen items in her purse. We suspect this because she keeps her purse with her at all times. I consulted this forum previously asking for suggestions on how to get to her bag without her knowing. Someone suggested I go in her room while she showers. It was a brilliant idea and I was excited at the thought that I would find what I was looking for but, am now very frustrated at the fact that she is so paranoid that she brings the purse into the bathroom with her when she showers.
I need a way to get into her bag. I am feeling a little desperate now. I am considering waiting for her to come downstairs where she places the bag on the dining room table and then grabbing it and bolting out the door. I know she wouldn’t be able to keep up with me. She’s 54 and not very athletic. I am 20 and quite the opposite. My main fear is that she will throw a tantrum and I don’t want my grandmother to feel overwhelmed by her. Since my mother’s recent death her health has wilted. My other aunt (also my mother’s sister, the one who’s photos were stolen) had come down from Colorado to assist me in caring for my grandmother. She is great to have around the house and feels just as frustrated and I do about my aunt. I know she will do her best to protect my grandmother from any backlash from my aunt.
So I need ideas and opinions. What do you think about my more direct approach to get into her purse? Also, should I go ahead and be thorough (in other words be forced to leave evidence that I was there) in searching her room if I don’t find everything I’m looking for in her purse. I know I can handle any of her reactions, tantrums and all.
Many thanks & happy holidays,