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Mum calling emergency services at care home

ajb

New member
Jan 18, 2022
2
0
Hi all,
First time posting here but just looking for any advice that may be out there, sorry for the long post.

My mum was diagnosed at 57 yrs old with vascular dementia/Alzheimer's. Her husband of 20 years left her and she had to leave her home of 20 years, she then moved into assisted living where she started to get her life back on track, she had been a heavy alcoholic for at least 30 years and managed to overcome this with help from me and her very good friend she met at the assisted living place. For the last 5 years her dementia had been managed well with activities with her friend, I would take mum out couple times a week for lunch and trips down memory lane, even though she would have very low moments she was happy when we would reminisce to her favourite songs and drive down the same old roads that were her memories, same places every week but she was happy and settled.
October last year mum took too many paracetamol and was admitted to hospital when the assisted living home said they couldn't allow mum to go back as she was too much of a risk. Mum then stayed in hospital while they tried to find her a short term bed, Christmas eve last year they found one but it was a residential care home where mum can not leave. I have not been able to visit her either since then due to covid. This has been incredibly difficult not doing our routine trips every week but, I managed to stay in contact through her mobile, listening to her memories, easing her confusion about her condition and replying to her many question through text every day, just reassuring her and listening to her seemed to calm her down.

I had a call from the care home last week saying they had to take mums mobile away as she was making calls to the emergency services, i think she did this because she was scared and didn't know where she was at the time. It has been so difficult to not be receiving the streams of texts and calls from her every day and not being able to reassure her. I talked to her mobile network provider to see if we could somehow block the emergency service calls from her phone, but they said its not possible.

I just wondered if anyone has had a similar situation and if there is a way that somehow she can have a phone at the care home but not be able to ring 999? She lives for her phone,, sometimes mum has real low moments when she will say things like how she doesn't want to be here anymore, times like these is when i would be able to talk her out of the low mood which i can no longer do as often as is needed. She would also constantly ring/text me every day, also would talk to her friend from the assisted living place who also could reassure mum and is missing being able to talk her as regularly. I did manage to speak to her at the care home yesterday, she cried and asked if her memory damage was permanent and how much she missed us and just wanted her phone, i was heart broken. I am scared mums condition will deteriorate quickly whilst not having contact with people she love, i am scared when i do finally get to see her she may not remember me.

Is there a phone out there for people like mum without the option of calling emergency services?

I have gone on a bit so for that I apologise, however I do feel a small weight has been lifted having written this down.

Thanks for taking the time to read...
 
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Bunpoots

Volunteer Host
Apr 1, 2016
6,321
0
Nottinghamshire
Welcome to Dementia Talking Point @ajb

I can understand why you’re so upset. It’s awful when dementia fouls up even the simplest situations.

I’ve not heard of any such phone but I do wonder if there could be a different solution. Perhaps your mum could have limited access to her phone while someone can be close by to keep an eye on her? Maybe they could set up Zoom or something similar so you could see each other too. I appreciate this might not be possible depending on staff availability.

There have been a few threads about mobile phones having to be taken away because the PWD is causing upset or disruption. It might be that after a week of so your mum won’t keep calling 999. I think you’re probably right and it’s anxiety and confusion that’s leading to the calls. Hopefully you’ll be able to visit soon when the weather gets warmer.
 

Rosettastone57

Registered User
Oct 27, 2016
1,725
0
This theme of mobile phones in care homes comes up frequently on this forum . Personally I don't think they are a good idea as the person with dementia tends to focus on the phone rather than form relationships with staff for her needs. The phone becomes a reminder of what they used to have or where they used to be. Your mum won't be happy wherever she is, it's the nature of the illness . Ditch the mobile.
 

MartinWL

Registered User
Jun 12, 2020
2,029
0
65
London
How about putting a Alexa device in her room, assuming WiFi is available? They can't be used to dial 999 but she could message you and chat to you. She could also talk to nominated others who have the devices. Other threads explain how to do this.
 

nitram

Registered User
Apr 6, 2011
25,085
0
North Manchester
is a very small mobile, you can have up to 12 numbers preprogramed (not sure if you can edit the list), emergency numbers don't have to be included.
Calls are made by pressing names or images.
It's size and lack of keypad means it does not look much like a mobile.
@ajb
 

Jaded'n'faded

Registered User
Jan 23, 2019
3,190
0
High Peak
This theme of mobile phones in care homes comes up frequently on this forum . Personally I don't think they are a good idea as the person with dementia tends to focus on the phone rather than form relationships with staff for her needs. The phone becomes a reminder of what they used to have or where they used to be. Your mum won't be happy wherever she is, it's the nature of the illness . Ditch the mobile.
That's a bit harsh! The OP's mum is very attached to her phone (as many people are) and she's 57 not 97! It sounds like she gains a great deal of comfort from calling and texting her daughter - why deprive her of that?

The problem is simply to stop her calling 999 and there must be a (fairly simple) way to prevent that without her having to give up the phone altogether. I agree that the time may come when she is better off without it but I don't think that time is now.
 

silkiest

Registered User
Feb 9, 2017
636
0
Hi @ajb, Alexa echo devices are just for speech, Alexa show has a screen attached so you can do video calls also. I found it was easier with my family to set up a separate Amazon account to manage the different device - family photos and contacts can be added to the device via the app or website.
Rather than add all contacts I just added close family and gave them permission to "drop in" which means the family can initiate a video call without the PWD having to answer the call. You can send screen messages and text also.
 

canary

Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
18,424
0
South coast
Im not a fan of mobile phones in a care home either @Jaded'n'faded
The thing is that when someone with dementia moves into a care home they need to learn the routine of the home and to form bonds of trust with the carers so that the PWD can seek them out if there are problems and/or need reassurance. I feel that if they are constantly on a phone, then it can become a distraction and they are not doing this. If there are "streams of texts and calls from her every day" and "she was making calls to the emergency services, i think she did this because she was scared and didn't know where she was at the time", then IMO there is a problem that just removing the ability to dial 999 is unlikely to solve.
 

ajb

New member
Jan 18, 2022
2
0
Thank you all for your kind words,

I haven't spoken to anyone apart from my boys and husband about this since mums diagnosis, as much of a support they are, it's different. To hear peoples opinions and experience is strangely comforting in some way, makes you realise you're not alone maybe..

I am going to try to get a tablet so she can still play games and we can do stuff like zoom or face time... no idea what that is but sure i will learn. I will also try out other massively useful suggestions you have all made, thank you so much :)

I have spoken to the home today and they say she is happy, talking to other residents, she is a cheeky one and always keep others smiling.. I think the vascular side of the dementia is the difficult part, knowing there is something wrong at the same time of not having any ability to control it, that is where constant texting and calls were helpful because while i would be crying and broken, i could still re assure her for a few minutes then few minutes later, do it again, that's hard to do on just a video call.

After she has stayed at this care home for 6 weeks or so, social services say they can then do a full capacity assessment on her, who knows where that will lead and maybe the phone will eventually be allowed back, will take all your advice in the mean time though, thank you.
 
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MartinWL

Registered User
Jun 12, 2020
2,029
0
65
London
The problem is simply to stop her calling 999 and there must be a (fairly simple) way to prevent that without her having to give up the phone altogether. I agree that the time may come when she is better off without it but I don't think that time is now.
The problem is tha there isn't a way to prevent 999 calls.
 

Quizbunny

Registered User
Nov 20, 2011
149
0
Could you not tell the home that you wish to be your mums essential care giver in order to provide the emotional support that she clearly needs. Government guidance states that every care home resident is entitled to an ECG and as such you would be able to visit mum, even during lockdowns due to covid. There are steps that need to be taken, a weekly PCR test, and a LFT every day you visit, but it would mean that you would be able to help mum with her memories and support her mental health.
 

Denise1978

New member
Jan 21, 2022
2
0
Hi all,
First time posting here but just looking for any advice that may be out there, sorry for the long post.

My mum was diagnosed at 57 yrs old with vascular dementia/Alzheimer's. Her husband of 20 years left her and she had to leave her home of 20 years, she then moved into assisted living where she started to get her life back on track, she had been a heavy alcoholic for at least 30 years and managed to overcome this with help from me and her very good friend she met at the assisted living place. For the last 5 years her dementia had been managed well with activities with her friend, I would take mum out couple times a week for lunch and trips down memory lane, even though she would have very low moments she was happy when we would reminisce to her favourite songs and drive down the same old roads that were her memories, same places every week but she was happy and settled.
October last year mum took too many paracetamol and was admitted to hospital when the assisted living home said they couldn't allow mum to go back as she was too much of a risk. Mum then stayed in hospital while they tried to find her a short term bed, Christmas eve last year they found one but it was a residential care home where mum can not leave. I have not been able to visit her either since then due to covid. This has been incredibly difficult not doing our routine trips every week but, I managed to stay in contact through her mobile, listening to her memories, easing her confusion about her condition and replying to her many question through text every day, just reassuring her and listening to her seemed to calm her down.

I had a call from the care home last week saying they had to take mums mobile away as she was making calls to the emergency services, i think she did this because she was scared and didn't know where she was at the time. It has been so difficult to not be receiving the streams of texts and calls from her every day and not being able to reassure her. I talked to her mobile network provider to see if we could somehow block the emergency service calls from her phone, but they said its not possible.

I just wondered if anyone has had a similar situation and if there is a way that somehow she can have a phone at the care home but not be able to ring 999? She lives for her phone,, sometimes mum has real low moments when she will say things like how she doesn't want to be here anymore, times like these is when i would be able to talk her out of the low mood which i can no longer do as often as is needed. She would also constantly ring/text me every day, also would talk to her friend from the assisted living place who also could reassure mum and is missing being able to talk her as regularly. I did manage to speak to her at the care home yesterday, she cried and asked if her memory damage was permanent and how much she missed us and just wanted her phone, i was heart broken. I am scared mums condition will deteriorate quickly whilst not having contact with people she love, i am scared when i do finally get to see her she may not remember me.

Is there a phone out there for people like mum without the option of calling emergency services?

I have gone on a bit so for that I apologise, however I do feel a small weight has been lifted having written this down.

Thanks for taking the time to read...
 

Denise1978

New member
Jan 21, 2022
2
0
Hi, I have had the same issue with my mum. I removed the 9 button and packed it with blue tack so that it doesn’t press properly. Added family numbers as fast dials press 1,2,3 etc and so far the issue is resolved. Hope that helps xx
 

Shedrech

Volunteer Moderator
Dec 15, 2012
12,132
0
Yorkshire
hello @Denise1978
a warm welcome to DTP
blutack! .. sometimes the low tech solutions are the ones to go for
and as your mum is in residential care she wouldn't be making any necessary emergency calls, the staff will
 

mummymeaney

New member
Feb 19, 2022
1
0
I shall try the blue tack ..... nothing else helps and would stop wasting the paramedics time with dad calling 999 saying he's got no food !!!!!!!!!!! thank you .
 

Shedrech

Volunteer Moderator
Dec 15, 2012
12,132
0
Yorkshire
hello @mummymeaney
a warm welcome to DTP

I hope that works ... and your dad stays safe and well fed ... though you may end up with calls from him that his phone isn't working (I had a few like that)
 

Pork Pie lady

Registered User
Mar 16, 2013
96
0
Anglia
My husband has been in hospital for several weeks and probably will be for many more to come. He would be devastated if he wasn't allowed to talk to me. All the time he knows he can call me whenever he wants he is mostly OK but without that life to him would be intolerable. Dementia takes away so much that is precious, it is not OK to restrict more than is absolutely necessary particularly when it is causing so much distress.
I agree that there is a need to form new bonds with the care staff but that is no excuse for restricting access to loved ones, how will anyone ever settle if basic rights are being denied them. It can be a real nuisance and I am hoping that when he goes into care (probably when he is discharged from hospital this time) that he will gradually stop feeling the need for a phone but I will never agree to it being taken forcefully and would fight any suggestion of it.
 

Shedrech

Volunteer Moderator
Dec 15, 2012
12,132
0
Yorkshire
hi @Pork Pie lady
I appreciate your situation and point of view and your choice

I think this has to be a decision by the individuals involved in each particular situation as only they have the broad picture of what is happening with the person they care for and about

members post with suggestions and from their own experience ... any member reading is free to take what is useful for them and set anything else aside
 

MartinWL

Registered User
Jun 12, 2020
2,029
0
65
London
My husband has been in hospital for several weeks and probably will be for many more to come. He would be devastated if he wasn't allowed to talk to me. All the time he knows he can call me whenever he wants he is mostly OK but without that life to him would be intolerable. Dementia takes away so much that is precious, it is not OK to restrict more than is absolutely necessary particularly when it is causing so much distress.
I agree that there is a need to form new bonds with the care staff but that is no excuse for restricting access to loved ones, how will anyone ever settle if basic rights are being denied them. It can be a real nuisance and I am hoping that when he goes into care (probably when he is discharged from hospital this time) that he will gradually stop feeling the need for a phone but I will never agree to it being taken forcefully and would fight any suggestion of it.
My father is free to call me whenever he feels a need. Fortunately that isn't often. I visit weekly and can deal with anything then. If he were calling me 28 times a day that would cross the line from calling for support, to harassment. That's not something a carer should expect to tolerate.