increasing confsing phone calls - day & night

saskia

Registered User
Aug 10, 2015
124
North Essex
hi all

mum is in early stages (not that she will admit or acknowledge -all is good in her world!)

but have experianced over last few weeks an increase in confusing phone calls.

Usually relate to my dad - who died 4 years ago'
Range from:
''Is dad with you''
''Dad has left me -i can't find his clothes''
to other tame issues like - i can't find card / keys etc

i have tried everything - going with the flow, writing notes to put next to her phone, keeping a copy of dads death certfificate in drawer by phone
I loathe fibbing to her - but have tried that, i.e. ''dads popped oout'' - but she is not at the stage where thats enough - as will phone an hour later asking if he is back!

during day at work i can keep phone on silent (i check it hourly!) and my husband works from home & he usually bears the brunt of daily calls - but evenings - i sit & just wait for the phone to ring - i can't concentrate on anything and have divided my evenign into ''danger zones' - between 7.00 & 8ish -mum falls asleep - 9.00 to 10.30 - danger zone!
& late afternoons when she wakes up - can set your clock by it.

I keep a book of the calls receive and I almost want to throw it in her face during particualry difficult times - but i know that won't acheive anything.....

any suggestions / advice - or just tell me im not alone in this!!

thanks for reading

Sas
x
 

Tin

Registered User
May 18, 2014
4,825
UK
Every single carer on this web site has probably had or still having the same experience with the phone. When it started with me I took it as a sign of some dramatic deterioration, it got so bad, it started with endless calls through the night to my brother and then sister and finally me. At some point she started calling her neighbours. I tried just listening and not answering any of her questions, in fact I put the phone under my pillow. Then we moved her telephone book away from the phone, she was never very good at remember numbers and would always refer to the book, eventually she would find it, but it worked for a while. In our case what happened was that mum just forgot to dial numbers and just picked up receiver, called out some random numbers and when that recorded voice came on line telling mum to "please hang up" she would just talk to it.
Is your number in the menu on the phone, if so, have you thought about removing it? I know its hard and some times suggestions can seem harsh. One up side, I suppose, is that it does eventually stop, but usually replaced by something else.
 

ellejay

Registered User
Jan 28, 2011
4,018
Essex
Hi Sas, I'm sorry you are going through this. When my mum got to this stage I have to admit it almost sent me over the edge. We even bought a phone that could block certain numbers do we could at least eat a meal uninterupted. If I didnt answer, mum would leave messages.
At first we checked for Uti as this can play havoc, but it was a new stage.
I have no answers for you Im afraid. After mum went into care, it took ages before I stopped feeling sick every time the phone rang.
Blocking her number periodically was how I got through it.

Thinking of you

Lin x
 

eddiesgirl

Registered User
Oct 22, 2012
62
Midlands
Oh Saskia, I know! (23 messages and 4 calls I picked up between 4pm-5.30pm today, same every day, give or take a few. Although she never seems distressed, I think it's Mum's version of sundowning.)
 

MERENAME

Registered User
Jun 4, 2013
236
scotland
I don't have a solution but a few hints that might work are to research phones that will allow you to record several different messages to switch between, allow you to have a recording give a message without allowing one to be left for you, has a wide variety of 'pleasant' ringtones and has a do not disturb function that will allow vip numbers through. So if you get calls at a predictable time you can set a message on answer only like. 'hi mum I'm in the bath right now. I'll call you back at 6 o' clock'. Put it on do not disturb until 6 o'clockbut let specific vip numbers through so you still have use of the phone.

Do not underestimate how much of a difference changing a ringtone can have too.

mine is a bt6500 not perfect but there are probably newer ones available.
 
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cragmaid

Registered User
Oct 18, 2010
7,942
North East England
It's 20 months since my Mum died. 4 years and 6 months since she went into the CH. ....... and my heart still plummets when the house phone rings.!!!:(

I hated the sound that my phone made....I hated the phrase " It's just me".....

Use the answerphone and only ring back when it suits you... it's not much help but it's the best I can offer.
 

Slugsta

Registered User
Aug 25, 2015
2,762
South coast of England
Oh, how I feel for you!

I can only concur with the advice to use your ansafone to screen calls, ring back when it suits you - and 'console' yourself with the knowledge that your mum will eventually forget how to use the phone, as mine has.
 

saskia

Registered User
Aug 10, 2015
124
North Essex
thank you all for your honest responses - i know im not alone.

things have taken another downward turn - last week mums beloved dog was put to sleep - to say he was her life is an understatement.

last night had an hour of hysterical calls - it brreask my heart. In the end we had to unplug the phone & keep our mobiles on silent.

this morning -calls started at 7.35 - i've taken a day off to work from home & went to mums- no recollection of last night at all & im ashamed to say i was so angry / bitter / tired - i played her the messages she eft.

She was distressed at listening to these and acknowledge that she ''is losing it''....... half an hour later, usual confusion.

We just don't know what to do - my brother is meeting with a OT who deals with dementia (he is a nurse so has easy access to this) and tomorrow me & hubby will have a eve without worry as brother wil be staying with mum.

head hurts.
feel like crying every minute.
HATE HATE this disease.

sas x
 

Angelcat

New member
Nov 10, 2017
2
So sorry to hear this news, yet I can relate to this, my mum is in a care home with mixed dementia she has gone downhill very fast over the last six months, in the beginning of the illness we would get up to 33 calls a day, some last only enough for me to get to the phone then nobody there, this would go on night and day( she knows no difference) I became ill and forced to block on house phone, the calls continue on my mobile(worst thing I did to let her take mobile to nursing home) but the biggest heartache ever, is when you answer the call, and its your loved one ringing you, and they say, whos this?
 

Rosettastone57

Registered User
Oct 27, 2016
1,150
hi all

mum is in early stages (not that she will admit or acknowledge -all is good in her world!)

but have experianced over last few weeks an increase in confusing phone calls.

Usually relate to my dad - who died 4 years ago'
Range from:
''Is dad with you''
''Dad has left me -i can't find his clothes''
to other tame issues like - i can't find card / keys etc

i have tried everything - going with the flow, writing notes to put next to her phone, keeping a copy of dads death certfificate in drawer by phone
I loathe fibbing to her - but have tried that, i.e. ''dads popped oout'' - but she is not at the stage where thats enough - as will phone an hour later asking if he is back!

during day at work i can keep phone on silent (i check it hourly!) and my husband works from home & he usually bears the brunt of daily calls - but evenings - i sit & just wait for the phone to ring - i can't concentrate on anything and have divided my evenign into ''danger zones' - between 7.00 & 8ish -mum falls asleep - 9.00 to 10.30 - danger zone!
& late afternoons when she wakes up - can set your clock by it.

I keep a book of the calls receive and I almost want to throw it in her face during particualry difficult times - but i know that won't acheive anything.....

any suggestions / advice - or just tell me im not alone in this!!

thanks for reading

Sas
x
No personal experience of this but a friend uses the following method with his mother. Her number was withheld so he used POA to get BT to remove ex directory . Then he set up so her number when she rang him was automatically diverted to a mobile with a soothing message on voicemail. He set up the mobile so it blocks her number. The mobile never rings just makes a tone when mum leaves a message. Neither phone then rings. You can choose when to listen to any message.
 

malengwa

Registered User
Jan 26, 2017
257
Mum went through this but it was thankfully a short phase maybe 6 months. She woukd frequently talk to the answer nachine then tell me that BT were very shirty telling her she can't use the phone. It wasn't long before she forgot how to use the phone and once she was not very mobile, it was too far away for her to use constantly.
She called at all hours usually saying she hasn't spoken to us for weeks.
 

Sammie234

Registered User
Oct 7, 2016
211
Shropshire
My OH doesn’t have this problem the reverse in effect, he always had a work phone and used the house phone with ease when he was diagnosed he just stopped using it, wouldn’t even answer it I would have to run from wherever I was to pick it up, bought a retro phone thought it would help but ignores that too as though it’s going to bite him. I can’t get him to take his mobile anywhere even when I reshow him how to use it he forgets almost immediately. He used to be so good with technology now it’s something to fear or ignore!
 

Tilly cat

Registered User
Dec 24, 2017
11
Hi Sas I am going through something similar. We lost our Dad over Christmas and my mum forgets then remembers and then rings one of her children in terrible distress. We have a new bereavement every 12 hours roughly where we have to explain what has happened. It’s wearing us down and stops us grieving as our focus is on constant explanation. We have stayed and visited and rang her but none of this is retained. Even her community matron is finding it hard to watch this. I am worried she will have a heart attack as not sure how this intense grief can continue. The suggestions people made are very helpful. I’m not sure I have any suggestions as learning from others but posting to offer support so you know there are others struggling with this. Take care x
 
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Maurice 5345

New member
Jan 6, 2018
2
Hi Sas I am going through something similar. We lost our Dad over Christmas and my mum forgets then remembers and then rings one of her children in terrible distress. We have a new bereavement every 12 hours roughly where we have to explain what has happened. It’s wearing us down and stops us grieving as our focus is on constant explanation. We have stayed and visited and rang her but none of this is retained. Even her community matron is finding it hard to watch this. I am worried she will have a heart attack as not sure how this intense grief can continue. The suggestions people made are very helpful. I’m not sure I have any suggestions as learning from others but posting to offer support so you know there are others struggling with this. Take care x
 

Zanni

New member
Jan 17, 2018
1
I'm new to this too. I find the constant phone calls so difficult and feel guilty if I don't answer as she may need help.

I do know that if we talk about something positive that makes a difference. My mum is a good gardener and I can ask her advice and she can answer. It gives us both a brief respite.
 

Sunnybat

New member
Jan 26, 2020
2
So relieved to realise endless phone calls is a common occurrence. Between us all we estimate 150+ calls in the evenings. What a cruel disease it seems so cruel for anybody to be so distressed and paranoid simply because they are old. My mother is 91 and has always been a proud, intelligent and private woman. Now her voice becomes hoarse and surely she must be utterly exhausted by the energy and emotional energy she is putting into calls. Thankfully she is physically safe. Has a good carer visiting daily, neighbours who are exhausted but ‘there’.
I have bitten the bullet and unplugged our land line. To be able to survive mentally and, in order to support her in whatever cruel twist comes next, I now choose when I speak to her. The vicious accusatory voicemails were tearing my heart so I block her calls in the evening (her worst sundowning time) once I have spoken to her. Other family members are equally exhausted. Never did I think a phone could be ‘weaponised’ in this way but I am choosing not to enter the war and to preserve energy for the next ghastly phase likely to come.
Hugs to all experiencing the same. A cruel disease indeed.
 

Ruth1974

Registered User
Dec 26, 2018
64
Let me let you in on a secret...
A couple of weeks ago i arrived at work and G hadnt phoned me half a dozen times so i phoned him. No answer. Then i got a text from my son to say he had hidden the phone.

I got home that night expecting G to be having a complete meltdown but he was fine. In fact, the phone is hidden from 8-3 every day now and he doesn't notice.

I think the endless, anxious phone calls are triggered by the sight of the phone. If its not there, he doesnt think to use it.
 

Sunnybat

New member
Jan 26, 2020
2
Let me let you in on a secret...
A couple of weeks ago i arrived at work and G hadnt phoned me half a dozen times so i phoned him. No answer. Then i got a text from my son to say he had hidden the phone.

I got home that night expecting G to be having a complete meltdown but he was fine. In fact, the phone is hidden from 8-3 every day now and he doesn't notice.

I think the endless, anxious phone calls are triggered by the sight of the phone. If its not there, he doesnt think to use it.
Did that continue to be effective?
 

PaulEd

Registered User
Feb 2, 2020
11
Worcestershire
No personal experience of this but a friend uses the following method with his mother. Her number was withheld so he used POA to get BT to remove ex directory . Then he set up so her number when she rang him was automatically diverted to a mobile with a soothing message on voicemail. He set up the mobile so it blocks her number. The mobile never rings just makes a tone when mum leaves a message. Neither phone then rings. You can choose when to listen to any message.
I'm interested in what you say here about POA because we have this over my mother's affairs yet when i called her phone supplier to change the phone package that is in her name but which I pay, they said my mother would have to agree to my making the changes, and I would need to 'put her on' first to confirm she was happy to do so. That cannot be right, surely?