Phone calls have stopped suddenly

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by Amy in the US, Apr 11, 2015.

  1. Amy in the US

    Amy in the US Registered User

    Feb 28, 2015
    4,624
    USA
    I did a search and found lots and lots of threads and discussion about excessive phone calls from the person with dementia, but not so much information about when the phone calls stop. It's late and I'm tired (can't sleep!) so I hope this is somewhat clear.

    My mother is 72 and after a crisis and hospitalization in January of this year, went into a care home, what we call assisted living. From day 1, for about the first six weeks, we received lots and lots of phone calls. This was different; when she lived alone, we rarely got calls. It was part of her mind-set "not to be a bother" and she basically never called me; that has been the pattern since I left home.

    But when she moved into the CH she had difficulty with the transition and the phone calls started. Lots of them, mostly in the evenings, over and over and over again.

    BUT all of a sudden, not quite two weeks ago, the phone calls just stopped. She hasn't called us once. I know she loses our home phone number (what doesn't she lose?) but the staff is good about writing it down for her and every time we've visited, there are at least 2-3 notes with our number, and always one next to the phone. And judging from the phone bills, she still remembers how to call information. So I don't think that is it.

    Could she have finally settled, and no longer feels the need to call? (too much to hope for, I fear)

    I hate to think this, but could the dementia have progressed to where she can't use the phone? I am fairly sure she no longer uses the answering machine and have been considering removing it.

    Could she have settled enough to go back to her pre-hospital mindset of, I don't call?

    Or what else could this be?

    I would welcome any suggestions or thoughts, especially if perhaps someone has experienced something similar. One of the dementia books I read reported the same thing, her mother called non-stop for about 6 weeks after moving in and then, boom, no more phone calls, so maybe it's common?

    I just thought that, as I can't sleep, it couldn't hurt to ask. Thanks for listening!
     
  2. Cat27

    Cat27 Volunteer Moderator

    Feb 27, 2015
    10,167
    Merseyside
    Why don't you ring the home & have a chat with the staff about what's happening?
     
  3. carol4444

    carol4444 Registered User

    Feb 5, 2014
    109
    Hi, this has just happened to me. The calls just stopped and I found that I missed them. It seemed as if I was getting the cold shoulder as my brother still got calls. Just one of the unfathomable directions of alzheimers I think. I was apprehensive about visiting as I thought Mum would be 'off' or 'anti' me again, but she was fine and said 'oh, I thought you were never coming.
    I lose sleep over it too, I'm trying to train my brain to think of other things to ensure I get some rest but it is difficult.
     
  4. Witzend

    Witzend Registered User

    Aug 29, 2007
    4,293
    SW London
    Maybe she's just forgotten about it. Before she went into her CH my mother was phoning incessantly, though mostly it was to my brother. And by incessantly I mean sometimes 30 times in one hour. Because of this we said no to a phone in her room.

    For the first week or so she would very often ask the staff to 'ring my son' , and they would limit it to once a day, and otherwise tell her he was out.

    But, more quickly than we could ever have imagined, she completely forgot about it, and no longer asked. She was otherwise 'as normal' - there was no apparent reason. I was going in to see her often, since the CH is close by.

    A phone call to the CH might put your mind at rest - I hope so.
     
  5. MeganCat

    MeganCat Registered User

    Jan 29, 2013
    356
    South Wales
    When mum was at home it became clear that she was unable to use the phone (enter a 11 digit number). I got her a phone that had 3 big buttons and programmed them for myself and brother. You could put something behind the cover of the button - I put card with our names clearly written on, but the packaging showed that you could put photos (I thought mum would think I was patronising with photos as she was very much in denial about AZ).
    To phone us she just had to push the button with our name on - that worked for about a year.
    On clearing cupboards I found lots of bits of paper where she'd obviously been trying to write out my number (missing digits, wrong order etc) despite my having written it in big writing and sticking it on the wall above the phone
    Eventually she stopped recognising the phone ringing, and wouldn't answer it.
     
  6. Tin

    Tin Registered User

    May 18, 2014
    4,829
    UK
    Did not stop immediately with mum, it sort of dwindled off. When she moved in with me she still phoned my brother constantly. I put an unplugged phone in her bedroom and she continued to use this, dialling his number and then leaving 'air' messages. then she forgot his number and soon after stopped dialling and just calling out his phone number. Lots of 'air' messages for months. Around December last year she stopped all this, no interest in the phone except when I am having conversations with friends. Now we use Skpe, initially fixated on this like the phone, but not now, though she is really happy when we have Skpe contact with the family.
     
  7. Amy in the US

    Amy in the US Registered User

    Feb 28, 2015
    4,624
    USA
    I've talked to the staff at the CH and they haven't noticed anything unusual or different or concerning. They do feel she is settling much better and has apparently been spending time outdoors, now that the weather is better (we had a long, cold winter here). Come to think of it, the phone calls stopping might correlate to the weather getting better.

    At any rate, my husband will see her today (it's tax time here in the States and I'm working on both ours and my mother's) and see if he can figure anything out about the phone, and the staff are aware and will encourage her to call us (and help if needed) if she really wants to.

    Part of me is guiltily relieved, because the phone calls were pretty stressful. I still jump every time the phone rings, I admit.

    The advice about the phone with the pictures is a really good one. I knew about those but hadn't thought of it, so thanks for that.

    Many thanks to you all!
     

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