1. sixfoottwo

    sixfoottwo Registered User

    Jan 28, 2016
    Mum, who has dementia, but lives alone with carers calling 4 times per day, is making 14+ phone calls in quick succession in the evening to my brother, who also lives on his own but is also bipolar. Dad died 5 months ago and was her main carer.

    He is so fed up with this, he is thinking of moving in with her for several days a week, but I worry it will harm him even more, and will cause more problems than it will solve.

    Does anyone have a strategy for reducing the phone calls. I suggested getting her to write down she has called in her diary whilst talking so eventually she'll see what she's doing and realise how many calls she's making.

    Does anyone have a strategy to reduce the calls?
  2. CJinUSA

    CJinUSA Registered User

    Jan 20, 2014
    eastern USA
    Hello. This is a difficult thing. If you do a search in the talking point search, using the terms "phone calls," you will come up with a number of people who have addressed this issue. I'm sorry. Very troubling.
  3. Sue J

    Sue J Registered User

    Dec 9, 2009
    Does your brother call her? I know with my friend calls reduced when I started to call her and check things and if I say I will call again later, 'before bed' she seems content with that. I don't always remember:eek: but if I phone at least once a day it is better.

    I don't think writing down the number of calls will help as it sounds like she needs reassuring and when your sense of time has gone, coupled with your memory it wont mean much to her to know she has called 14 times. But maybe if your brother could say write yourself a note that I will call you later, 'before bed' may remind her that she doesn't need to call.

    Sorry if it doesn't help but hope you find something that will.

    Best wishes
  4. Amy in the US

    Amy in the US Registered User

    Feb 28, 2015
    Hello, sixfoottwo, and welcome to TP. I hope you are able to find advice and support and suggestions here.

    I'm sorry to hear about the death of your father, and the situation with your mother. You have a lot going on right now

    I have been through the phone calls, although of course you've got the added complication of your brother's mental health situation. What I can tell you is that the calls, while they sometimes still happen, did eventually stop, although I can't really tell you why.

    I will have a search and see if I can turn up some old threads for you. Even if you don't get an answer, it might help you to hear that others have been there also.

    Your mother may be lonely and seeking reassurance (this seems especially likely if she is now on her own), hence the repetitive phone calls. My only suggestion for this is, more company. Does she go to day care or a lunch club? Is she getting much social contact besides the carers? I'm not judging, just asking.

    You could try having her keep track of her phone calls but please be prepared for her to either not be able to follow your directions, or still make lots of calls anyway. It's not your mother being difficult, it's the dementia. I know it's horrible.

    You and your brother should discuss the options before he moves in with her part-time. My fear would be, not only would it be hard on your brother, but also it might be confusing for your mother to only have him there some of the week, but you won't know unless you try.

    I know how awful these repetitive phone calls can be. When they were at their worst, I used to start to cry every time the phone would ring. I know it's really hard.

    Let me see what I can find for you in the way of past threads here.

    Best wishes to you.
  5. sixfoottwo

    sixfoottwo Registered User

    Jan 28, 2016
    Thank you for the replies.

    I took mum to a day centre. She said she'd never forgive me for it, yet told her brother she'd enjoyed it. She told the social worker she doesn't want to go again, but reluctantly agreed she'd try Shared Lives which offers 1 to 1 support.

    She says she's happy on her own at home when there's someone with her, but as soon as she's alone, the calls start.

    You can't win.
  6. marionq

    marionq Registered User

    Apr 24, 2013
    I would persevere with the day centre. I see the old ladies at my husbands centre doing quizzes, playing bingo, enjoying exercises and entertainment. They get a hot lunch and endless cups of tea and best of all someone to chat to. Yesterday I heard one lady saying she would like a shower and her hair done.

    It can make a huge difference to quality of life. Some things you just have to make happen without discussion. My husband gets attention and flattery he would never get at home.
  7. Pear trees

    Pear trees Registered User

    Jan 25, 2015
    I would also give a day centre or lunch club another try, it's still early days, and suggest the befriending service from Alzheimers UK.
    Maybe you could put a message on a white board when you or your brother will call each day to reassure her.
    This phase does seem to pass. My mum used to phone frequently but now has totally forgotten how to make calls on her phone which has our pictures on, and sometimes just puts the receiver straight down when answering. She still pushes her panic button for attention but that's another story!
  8. fizzie

    fizzie Registered User

    Jul 20, 2011
    my mum was very similar
    We managed to keep her at home for 4 years
    The last couple of years we managed it by
    Carer in the morning for half an hour to see her onto the bus for day centre (If i was there she kicked off so I would go first help her sort out her clothes etc then swap with the carer). The transport brought her home at 3pm and then I would pop in at 4pm to make her a cuppa. Then we would pick her at 6.00 bring her home for supper - well we all have to eat so it didn't make any difference lol - then we would play a game of cards, take her home set the TV on automatic to programmes she liked then I would pop in at 9.30 to help her get to bed if she wasn't already. It seems quite a lot but it stopped her being lonely and gave her a good quality of life but I didn't have to have her living with me.
    Weekends were a bit more problematic as in the last year or so she didn't gel with going out much but we had a carer when we could get one spanning lunchtime to break up the afternoon 12 til 3 and then we just managed in the evenings often by having her at our house then taking her home later.
    I think it is easier and less stressful to have someone at your own house if it works - we only lived a few minutes apart
    I have to say that ultimately we removed the phone and she forgot she had ever had a phone
  9. stanleypj

    stanleypj Registered User

    Dec 8, 2011
    North West
    I think you're right in believing that your brother moving in, even part-time, is unlikely to work. I don't know what your mum's face-to-face conversations are like but if they are at all repetitive they may well cause more frustration than the phone calls.

    How often do you call your mum? How often does she call you? Are any other family members talking to her regularly? Although the repetitiveness is a symptom of dementia the need for someone living alone to be able to talk to others is pretty common and this is possibly what is behind the calls, in fact what you have already said would support this view. If so, it might just be possible to meet this need in ways which reduce the number of calls your brother receives.

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