As seniors grow older and many begin to lose their memory, some become paranoid. This near-constant suspicion can lead to unnecessary calls to 911, asking friends or family to keep their valuables and even mistrust in banks. Seniors may opt to hide their favorite personal belongings as they may be convinced that someone will steal them. Before you transition an older friend or relative to assisted living, make sure you check these hiding places to ensure you're not leaving anything behind – the senior may not remember doing the hiding in the first place.
Does the older person have potted plants in his or her home? Believe it or not, this is a common hiding place for items of importance. Some may stash rolled up cash in pill bottles and hide it just under the soil. Or, the entire plant may be in a much too-large pot allowing for storage space under a smaller pot that is holding the plant.
In clothes and shoes
Another common place to stash valuables is in shoes. As you help a loved one make the move to an assisted living community, you'll likely help him or her downsize belongings. This means donating and giving away items like clothes and shoes. Be sure to check every pocket and inside of the shoes to ensure the senior didn't place anything important in them and then forget. You never know if you'll find the family jewels hidden in some dirty tennis shoes.
On the bookshelf
Many mystery movies feature a hidden stash of jewels or important documents tucked away in a secret bookshelf hiding spot. This may mean a hollowed out book or even a certain section of books that are actually glued together and hide a box attached at the back. Make sure to flip through every book before giving it away. Some seniors also stash a bill or two between the pages for safe keeping, so be thorough!
Anywhere there's room
Reader's Digest noted that many household appliances have small cavities that offer perfect places to hide things. A vacuum, for instance, offers plenty of room to hide important papers, money or even photographs. Take a look around your loved one's home to see what items may have room inside for hidden objects. You may be amazed at what clever places you find.
In the vents
Another movie trick often used in gangster and crime films is to stash contraband in the air vents. Look for air return vents near the floor or top of the wall. Use a screw driver to remove the screws and check inside the wall. Even if your senior friend or family member is no longer physically able to stand on a chair to reach a high spot, that doesn't mean he or she didn't hide something in the air vent long ago when they were more mobile.
It's also important to simply ask the senior if he or she has hidden anything. Depending on dementia and how far in the past they may have hidden something, the person may be helpful in ensuring you're not leaving anything behind.