1. Our next Q&A session is on the topic of Christmas and dementia.This time we want our Q&A to involve our resident experts, you! Share tips and advice on navigating Christmas here in this thread.

    Pop by and post your questions or if you prefer you can email your question to us at talkingpoint@alzheimers.org.uk and we'll be happy to ask them on your behalf.
  1. Cheesecake4242

    Cheesecake4242 Registered User

    Apr 9, 2013
    MIL rings us constantly from 4.30 hoping to speak to my husband who does not get home until gone 7 o'clock. I tell her the same thing that I have told her everyday for the last two years - he will ring you at 8 o'clock. Two minutes later, she rings again. I tell her the same thing and then switch the phones off so that I can't hear them ringing. By dialling 1471 I know that she rings every two minutes until about 7.30 when she falls asleep. Today she told me that she is going to throw the phones out of the window.

    Has anyone taken the phones way from their loved one? She lives in a sheltered flat so has careline and 24/7 on site manager. The phone is causing her deep anxiety and I really think she would be better off without it.
  2. Canadian Joanne

    Canadian Joanne Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 8, 2005
    Toronto, Canada
    I took the phone away from my mother in the nursing home because she no longer made or answered calls. Even when she was calling me a lot, she didn't call every two minutes.

    I think answering the phone a few times, then switching it off for a while is a good idea. Although your MIL says she's going to throw the phone out the window, she probably wouldn't. If she did, then I would remove the phones. For now, calling repeatedly is a comfort for her so I would let her have it within reason.
  3. Liz57

    Liz57 Registered User

    Dec 22, 2013
    I've posted several times on here about the repeated phone calls my mother makes. When I first started posting people recommended I switch my phone off but I couldn't bring myself to do that. Months later and the calls are now every two to three minutes all day every day or at least whenever Mum is alone. I did nearly have a breakdown as the only number she dials is my number. I eventually started unplugging my phone when I realised my dog was starting to cower when the phone rang!

    I realise now that when Mum can't get hold of me, she can work herself up into a state and if I happen to appear then or answer, it can take me hours to calm her down. However, quite often she forgets and although she might have made a note for herself that she couldn't get hold of anyone, she quickly forgets and is OK again by the time I see her. I'm sorry if that sounds cruel, but I figure my mental health is as important as hers.

    I wouldn't necessarily take the phone off her if she is still able to use it as somewhere she may realise that this could be a lifeline of something goes wrong (I accept she has an alternative) and it enables you to call her when necessary. However, do switch your own off even if its for short periods.
  4. Cheesecake4242

    Cheesecake4242 Registered User

    Apr 9, 2013
    Yes, I agree it could be a lifeline so probably a bad idea to take it away! it saddens me to think that she spends hour upon hour getting worked up because we don't answer the phone.
  5. Amy in the US

    Amy in the US Registered User

    Feb 28, 2015
    We also get repeated phone calls from my mother, although not to the extent that many of you experience. But enough that it's disruptive and I've done some research about it.

    If you do a search on "phone calls" here on TP you will find a lot of threads on this topic.

    Here are some ideas I've been given:

    -answer phone calls up to a point and then turn off your phone/ringer so you can at least sleep at night

    -if people who call you will be understanding, record a message on your voicemail/answer machine along the lines of "Hi, Mum, I will call you back soon!" or if you have a set time you visit or call her it could be "Hi, Mum, I will call you at 8:00 tonight."

    -get a separate phone line (mobile or land line, give the new number out to friends/family/business contacts, and then have just one line where your Mum calls. That line could get a dedicated voice mail/answerphone message on it for your Mum.

    And I'm sorry, but that's all I can remember for the moment. Perhaps others will have more suggestions. We did change from an answering machine (where I could hear her leaving the message) to voice mail, so I wouldn't hear the messages except when I picked them up. I used to cry every time the phone rang, but now I've stopped crying and only flinch sometimes.

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