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  1. #1

    Repeated phone calls

    Good evening all. I wonder if anyone has similar experience with an increasing problem I have with my mother making multiple phone calls to me - often only five or ten minutes apart? I live at some distance and have always provided her phone support whilst my sister and a local care agency provide her with the practical support.

    I have had to resort to leaving my answerphone full so that when Mum phones and I am out, she gets the recorded voice saying that she is unable to leave a message and she seems to accept that. When she was able to leave a message - then she would leave them continually until she filled the machine - getting increasingly distressed as she seemed to think I was ignoring her.

    Her calls now are getting more and more frequent and are especially difficult to manage in the evenings and weekends. Mostly they concern when her next carer will be in and if its arranged etc - or what she should do etc. I have tried reminding her regularly what is happening and when, saying what the time is when I call or she calls me as she is always reluctant to check this herself. I have tried telling her in different ways and asking her to tell me what she understands is happening etc.

    If I ignore the phone ringing as sometimes I have to do if in the shower etc, she just keeps ringing and ringing until I answer.

    I just feel there must be a better way to deal with this for both our sakes as obviously Mum is anxious and worried and I get increasingly stressed as the day/ evening goes on.

    Any help much appreciated. Mum has vascular dementia, has what I believe is called sundowner syndrome and can be very rude and aggressive if she feels she isnt getting what she wants or if you ask anything she doesn't like. I love her to bits but not sure how much more of this I can cope with, especially if I get runs of night calls or early morning ones and so am too tired to do my job properly.

    Thanks for taking the time to read this...

    Celia
     

  2. #2
    Hi Celia

    I went through this and used to cry when the phone rang. MIL's record was 10 phone calls in 40 minutes when I didn't pick up. It felt like water torture and I hated going to bed due to night calls, leaving the house as I knew that the machine would be full when I got back but if I rang her when I got in even 5 minutes after the call she wouldn't know she had rung or what it was about. She had carers and even rang me while the carer was out of the room. They came back in and asked who she was talking to. She seemed to have a loop in her mind that she had to ring but didn't know why.

    Its so difficult and I know the advice is to unplug the phone at night but I was afraid to turn the phone off at night incase she really did need me but it made it very difficult to function without sleep.

    Lemony xx


    When life gives you lemons make lemonade.
     

  3. #3
    There is a thread here that deals with the same sort of thing it might be useful to you



    http://forum.alzheimers.org.uk/showt...lls#post301208

    Jeany x
    You Never Know How Strong You Are Until Being Strong Is the Only Choice You Have,
     

  4. #4
    Thanks for the replies - I had read a couple of threads and looked at some of the help sheets but not seen that one.

    In a small way it helps to write it down and find other people have the same issues - even if there are no easy answers.

    Thanks

    Celia
     

  5. #5
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    I'm in the same situation, been looking after my parents for 8 years now, dad died 3 years ago with motor neurone disease, and mum has dementia/Alzheimer's. I live about 3 miles away from mum who is OK during the day. It is the nights that I dread. She has left the house on a few occasions, and I've been called by very (up till now) understanding neighbours, as she knocks on their doors at all hours. I end going around at all hours, 5am, 1 am, to sit with her and try to calm her down. I'm getting burnt out, I sometimes lose my temper, as she wants to go home, to the home she is living in now. I then feel so guilty, as nothing I say has any effect.

    They say that people benefit from stimulation, but I find a very high correlation between outside activities and increased confusion and sun downing. Its a catch 22 situation, keep them stimulated and make sure they get exercise, but the effects are worse.

    I'm dreading tonight, its nearly 10:30pm, and I just left 20 minutes ago. I'm on call 24 hours of the day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year, solid for the last 3 years. I'm exhausted, and don't know what to do next. She is usually OK during the day, but the nights. Would carers coming in at night help? or just cause more confusion? Do I ask for some other medication other than aricept? or is it time for a care home? I just don't know what to do.
     

  6. #6
    However painful it is, these repeated phone calls demonstrate the anxiety experienced by people with dementia who live alone .

    I know no one wants to make decisions too soon but those who live alone and experience this night time anxiety really do need residential care for their own safety , comfort and well being.

    Please do not wait for a crisis.

    Sylvia
    Carer and Member of the Volunteer Moderation Team

    I cried because I had no shoes until I met a man who had no feet

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  7. #7
    Oh dear Derek - I know a bit of how you feel. I know SS can offer alarms that let you know if someone leaves a room / house - might that help?

    I think, from reading other peoples threads here, that you have to discuss all this with the SS and GP/ Consultant and ask for help. I am sure they could at least offer respite - I don't know the position re overnight carers but there are many experienced people here who will.

    I hope you get some sleep but I know how it feels as you can't really relax and you sleep with one ear cocked - if that's possible!

    Take care

    Celia
    Last edited by CeliaW; 10-06-2012 at 10:44 PM.
     

  8. #8
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    Yes that is how I go to bed, with a phone on the bedside table, waiting for the call, hopefully falling asleep. I appreciate what granny G says, but a care home is a huge one way step, and she is fine during the day. The burden of guilt is huge. My brother offers little in the way of support, and I just could not face moving in with her to look after her, selfish I know as I live alone, at the moment, but my now ex-girlfriend left to move in with her mum, who has very advanced Alzheimer's and she often just wants to run away, or just die. I just could not face that. I've already given up my career, to work self employed so that I have more time to see to mum, and it has impoverished me. I'm going to call the nurse from the memory clinic tomorrow to discus.

    So I have huge guilt problems, and consider myself selfish. Mum always used to say when she was fine, If I ever get like that put me in a home. But now she says she is fine where she is, and there is no way she is going in a home. How could I face her if I did do it? Hopefully a good nights sleep will help clarify things.

    I have read that melatonin can calm sundowning down? is it any good?
    Last edited by Derek61; 10-06-2012 at 10:55 PM. Reason: addition
     

  9. #9
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    When my mother was up and about all night and phoning me at all hours, I spoke to her GP who had the following to say:

    1. Can't give sleeping tablets etc because she lives alone and would put her at greater risk than she is now.

    2. Get careline phone installed and get her used to using the pendant. This can now also include various alarms being installed in the house and if they go off then it goes straight through to the careline provider etc who can get the appropriate help.

    3. That I had a right to have a decent night's sleep. He said that his advice would be to make a night-time recording on the answering machine along the lines of - Mum, it is now nighttime and I am in bed so can't answer the phone right now. Go back to bed and get some sleep and I will phone you as soon as I wake up in the morning.

    All of the above was sound advice, with a few snags in that you have to tell neighbours etc not to phone you but hit the careline button instead if they find her outside wandering around etc. You also have to get over the guilt of not answering calls before you can even sleep - mine was the - "I hope there isn't a real emergency - should I get up and answer it anyway.... The clincher for me was when I asked my mother why she hadn't called my other 2 sisters - she said oh they are busy and work hard so I don't like to bother them! Grrrrrrrrrrrrr ! LOL

    Fiona
     

  10. #10
    Derek - hope you got some sleep last night and good luck with talking to the memory clinic nurse.

    Celia
     

  11. #11
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    This may sound really daft, but I've been trying to think of something that might help you.

    Could you buy yourself a really cheap mobile phone and give that number to your mum, saying that you've changed your phone number? Or programme her speed dial, or whatever she uses, to ring only that number?

    You could then record a personal message to your mum, offering any reassurances that you think she might need, bits of information, etc. (maybe allowing her to leave a message if she wants to [in case she really does need help] or maybe not if this causes problems) and then leave the phone on voicemail, with you checking the phone at an interval that is acceptable to you, say once an hour or every two hours, whatever you are happy with. You don't need to tell your mum that this is what you're doing, just let her think that you're out if she's happy with that. You could then ring her at times you're happy with in order to check that everything's okay.

    I know this isn't foolproof and it would be difficult to use this system through the night (unless you were prepared to set your alarm for once during the night so that you could check for messages in case she did genuinely need you?)

    Not sure if this will help but I can understand how anxious you must feel, getting these phone calls all the time.

    Fortunately I don't have this problem because my dad is always with my mam, but even if he wasn't, she's not capable, I don't think, of making a phone call unassisted. However, that throws up other problems if an emergency occurs!

    Good luck, I hope you get sorted one way or another.
    Last edited by CollegeGirl; 11-06-2012 at 09:45 AM.
     

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grannie G View Post
    However painful it is, these repeated phone calls demonstrate the anxiety experienced by people with dementia who live alone .

    I know no one wants to make decisions too soon but those who live alone and experience this night time anxiety really do need residential care for their own safety , comfort and well being.

    Please do not wait for a crisis.
    We have no choice. m-i-l has been making these calls for the past 2 years, but she refuses to be moved and cannot be moved against her will. It seems to me that the sicker she becomes, the more determinded she is to stay in her own home. It is a constant worry, she has carers come in 4x a day but really needs 24 hour care. It may sound awful, but we are longing for the crisis that will force the move.
     

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Derek61 View Post
    So I have huge guilt problems, and consider myself selfish. Mum always used to say when she was fine, If I ever get like that put me in a home. But now she says she is fine where she is, and there is no way she is going in a home. How could I face her if I did do it? Hopefully a good nights sleep will help clarify things.
    Derek - the only thing I can offer is sympathy and recognition. My m-i-l would have been horrified at the situation she is now putting her family through. If she had watched it from the outside she would have been convinced that the only sensible move would be to put her in a home. But now she is 'fine' too and there is no way she will be moved. She is due for an assessment soon but last time we were told she understood her own decision and until that is reversed we have no power to act.

    One thing I am convinced of though is that your mother would not want to destroy your life. You are not being selfish, in some way you are following her real wishes.
     

  14. #14
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    I'm with Granny G on this one. Care homes are not just about nursing-type care, they're also about supervision and companionship and your mum would seem to be becoming anxious about spending prolonged periods on her own. During the day, neighbours and carers are about and perhaps she still goes out if she needs to be in company.

    You are certainly not selfish for not wanting to move in as her full-time carer. I applaud you for having the courage to draw up your own personal line in the sand - your ex-girlfriend's experience is not uncommon, as she has learned to her cost.

    Caring is a compromise and your mother's needs are no more important than yours. If it all gets too much, don't be too big to admit it. If I was in your position I would be looking around at potential CHs. You might not need one tomorrow, or next week..or even next month.. but having Plan B up your sleeve can be very reassuring.
    Last edited by Chemmy; 11-06-2012 at 12:24 PM.
     

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Grannie G View Post
    However painful it is, these repeated phone calls demonstrate the anxiety experienced by people with dementia who live alone .

    I know no one wants to make decisions too soon but those who live alone and experience this night time anxiety really do need residential care for their own safety , comfort and well being.

    Please do not wait for a crisis.
    I begged SS to come out and when they did MIL told them she was fine and they decided she was. She refused to talk about a home and screamed at us if we mentioned it. SS managed to close her file twice and, as some will remember, it took a most dreadful crisis to end her living hell.

    Lemony xx


    When life gives you lemons make lemonade.
     

 

 

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