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Old 12-29-2008, 12:52 PM   #1
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mother's repeated phone calls

My 91 year old mother who has Alzheimers lives in an assisted living facility 60 miles from me. She has been calling me numerous times within an hour to tell me the same thing--"don't drive it is too slippery". I have told her that I don't go out when it is slippery and not to worry. Unforunately this doesn't sink in and she keeps calling. Any suggestions on how to handle this situation?

 
Old 12-29-2008, 01:08 PM   #2
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Re: mother's repeated phone calls

She doesn't remember that she just called you. She is worried about you. There isn't much you can do .. screen calls and don't answer the phone every time? or just reassure her over and over again?

Martha

 
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Old 12-29-2008, 01:28 PM   #3
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Re: mother's repeated phone calls

You only other option is to block her ability to make outgoing calls. Her memory is at that stage where she doesn't remember that she has made the call to already...and again...and again..and again..and again..and again....she is like the record that is stuck. She will continue to make this call until she gets on another tack and starts on that one.

Good luck. At least you know that she cares!

 
Old 12-29-2008, 02:52 PM   #4
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Re: mother's repeated phone calls

Tell her that your car is broke and it won't run and that you can't go out because of it -- then you'll be fine.

if you don't answer the phone, she's liable to freak out thinking that you did go out and that's why you're not answering the phone.

Also, try to think of something that will get her mind off the subject. Ask her what she's watching and put on the same thing and then start a conversation about it.

Or bring up another relative and tell a story about them that will get her mind off onto another subject.

Good luck to you.

 
Old 12-29-2008, 09:03 PM   #5
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Re: mother's repeated phone calls

Be thankful that they are pleasant phone calls expressing your Mom's concern for you. I have had numerous calls from Mom since Friday because she wants to go home again. When I don't tell her that I am coming to get them and take them home she becomes angry, eventually hanging up the phone only to repeat it again later.

Hint, if your phone has a clip on it, slip a sweat band under the clip. Then you can put the sweat band around your head with the phone to your ear and keep doing whatever you are doing while you talk to her without getting a crink in your neck. Creativity is born of necessity! I iron, wash dishes, dust.... all while on the phone with Mom. That is how I got all my Christmas trees decorate

Love, deb

 
Old 12-30-2008, 06:36 AM   #6
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Re: mother's repeated phone calls

Deb, I love that suggestion!

If you're using a landline, maybe just take it off the hook after the second call, when you know she's on a jag again. She'll get a busy signal and probably keep trying to call, which will keep her occupied and out of mischief, but she won't be afraid that you're out on the road.

Emily

 
Old 01-11-2009, 03:48 AM   #7
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Re: mother's repeated phone calls

Have you talked with your mother's carers? Depending on what her living situation is (whether it's like her own home or a room in a facility) they may be able to do some diversional therapy with her at the times when she is more likely to call. As a carer in a dementia unit I know how frustrating it must be for families and often have family members come in upset that their relative is calling them constantly and it can be very upseting facing the fact that they cannot remember they call several times a day. We use alot of DT for this behavior and find that alot of it stems from anxiety, lonliness or boredom.
You could also try to involve your mother more in activities going on where she is. If you can give her other things to do and that should take her mind off worrying about you as much.
Is your mother aware as to time? If so, maybe write her a note near her phone with suggested times to ring...such as "I'll be home at 4pm but busy with the kids after 5pm" and try to establish a routine to talk.
Good luck!

 
Old 01-11-2009, 04:36 AM   #8
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Re: mother's repeated phone calls

How is it that she is allowed to pick up the phone and call so many times? There is generally someone there all the time isn't there? Your mom has reached the stage of not understanding that she just called then she doesn't need a phone at this point does she? or disconnect the phone but leave it with her and she can place all the calls she wants. My mother-in-law reached that stage and we her phone was disconnected...it was getting quite expensive for her to make so many calls. It would be different if the calls actually did some good or relieved her need to make contact...she is beyond that...in fact the phone now may just be making her more agitated.

 
Old 01-11-2009, 11:14 AM   #9
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Re: mother's repeated phone calls

jannar...you are one of her only "connections" to how life used to be for her.

Those persistant calls are most likely one of the few things she feels she still has control of in this progressing cloud taking over her. She is frightened beyond what any of us can understand...and she cannot escape. YOU are there. YOU are a part of the life that she once had. YOU have that familiar voice she will remember for a while yet. The time will come too quickly where you will long to hear her voice.

Please don't think I'm taking your challenge lightly!

Been thru it.
Been thru it.
Been thru it.

There were three different loved ones at the same time who have gone thru this identical method of reaching out to somebody familiar in their lives!

Challenging?? You bet!! Will it stop?? Yes, eventually. How long?? Each of my loved ones were quite different.

Mom would call...curse or cry...and expect me to do nothing but stand there and listen to her. (Deb...GREAT idea!) If Mom heard even a hint of water running, she'd get mad, expecting me to give her complete attention. She did soften somewhat, and in a couple months, didn't know how to use a phone.

MIL...didn't call too often, but would whisper and cry...(sure did add to our guilt...)

FIL...ARGH! Probably 40-50 calls a day for that first month! Like many suggestions here...we finally chose to ignore them because they were full of hate and frustration. It is just so hard NOT to feel guilty....but that's exactly how we have to be.

The phone...(actually TV, light switches, drawers, toothbrushes, etc, etc,etc,) will become foriegn objects soon enough. This calling stuff is just one of the phases that is such a challenge to us.......but you'll get thru it, and you'll look back and wonder just how you did it.........Pam

 
Old 01-11-2009, 12:27 PM   #10
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Re: mother's repeated phone calls

The sweat band idea really does work. I have sweat bands attached to my phones and use them regularly. Pam is right, it is a phase. The phone calls will decrease as your loved one forgets how to use the phone. Mom only calls me now when she is spit fire mad. For some reason her mind works better when it's raging with anger. I do forsee the day when she can no longer call. She is slowly losing the ability to work electronic devices. Now, if you tell her to use the TV remote to push channel 6 so she can watch something she might be interested in, you have a good chance of hearing her push 6 on the phone. Mom, get the OTHER remote!! Yes, the calls are frustrating but as I said before, they are better than no calls

Love, deb

Last edited by Gabriel; 01-11-2009 at 12:27 PM.

 
Old 01-11-2009, 04:55 PM   #11
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Re: mother's repeated phone calls

When mother first lost the ability to talk in whole sentences, the only time it would work for her was if she was on the phone believe me. So, what did I do? I got a spare phone receiver and gave it to her to carry around hoping it would let her talk to us some more. It didn't work but we had a laugh

While the phone calls are annoying, enjoy them, laugh about them but treasure them. I long to hear my mother's voice just once even if it was to yell at me. She can't talk, she can only moan, and say ah ah ah. Now she's even losing that I understand.

 
Old 01-12-2009, 05:02 PM   #12
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Re: mother's repeated phone calls

deb....How creative are you girl??? My neck has been killing me at times when I'm talking to Mom. Trying to iron is the worst. I'm going to try your trick. Thanks.

I had to laugh at your story about the remote. Mom does the exact same thing. I'll call to tell her when something is on that I know she enjoys. I dread doing this because I'll tell her turn to channel 5......then I hear the phone beep. She pressed 5 alright but not the TV remote. Now she has the lift chair remote thats hooked on to the chair. She'll press that instead of the TV remote and yell into the phone, "Wait a minute honey something is going on here very weird.....my chair is moving". Meanwhile I'm yelling into the phone "Mom, Mom you've got the wrong one"!!!!!!!! I'll explain everything to her very slowly and she always says "Well thank God. I thought I was going crazy. You girls have got to get rid of some of these gadgets".

You've got to love her.

Love Chris

Oops.......I forgot to say that the repeated phone calls I did get everyday from Mom have stopped. Some days there were 10 to 15. Now she forgets to call or she can't remember how it works. I do miss the phone calls when I answered she would say "Well, tell me something new and exciting".

Last edited by DrewsG; 01-12-2009 at 05:07 PM.

 
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