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Telephone calls are excessive

Tabby-cat

Registered User
May 27, 2019
12
Mum was diagnosed 2.5 years ago, was living on her own and moved to a care home 2 months ago. She has always been in the habit of ringing me a lot, which escalated over the period of time since her diagnosis. When she was still living at home I felt I had to answer her calls as there might be a problem, but I was hopeful that the panic phone calls would reduce once she was in a care home and not having to worry about keys, the gas, etc. This has not been the case and I am getting around 6 calls a day. This is putting me under a lot of emotional strain and means that we can’t just have a nice chat on the phone because I am too drained from the calls before that. Should I just ignore the phone? I don’t like to do this because she sounds very upset quite often and I am able to calm her down. But I am not calm and this doesn’t feel sustainable.

Any advice would be welcome.
 

Louise7

Registered User
Mar 25, 2016
2,254
It should be the staff who are calming your Mum down when she gets upset/anxious, not you. Is she using a mobile phone? In which case take it off her and cancel the contract (if you or someone else has financial power of attorney). You can say something like it is broken and has gone for repairs or an upgrade.

If she is using a landline from the home then you need to discuss this with the care home staff. Explain the issue and ask that they prevent her from using the phone, or restrict calls to one a day if you are comfortable with that. This isn't an uncommon problem in those with dementia so they should be used to dealing with this and have techniques to prevent your Mum from making the calls. If the problem is that your Mum is frequently anxious then medication is available to help with this if needed, so ask for a medication review.
 

Tabby-cat

Registered User
May 27, 2019
12
It should be the staff who are calming your Mum down when she gets upset/anxious, not you. Is she using a mobile phone? In which case take it off her and cancel the contract (if you or someone else has financial power of attorney). You can say something like it is broken and has gone for repairs or an upgrade.

If she is using a landline from the home then you need to discuss this with the care home staff. Explain the issue and ask that they prevent her from using the phone, or restrict calls to one a day if you are comfortable with that. This isn't an uncommon problem in those with dementia so they should be used to dealing with this and have techniques to prevent your Mum from making the calls. If the problem is that your Mum is frequently anxious then medication is available to help with this if needed, so ask for a medication review.
It should be the staff who are calming your Mum down when she gets upset/anxious, not you. Is she using a mobile phone? In which case take it off her and cancel the contract (if you or someone else has financial power of attorney). You can say something like it is broken and has gone for repairs or an upgrade.

If she is using a landline from the home then you need to discuss this with the care home staff. Explain the issue and ask that they prevent her from using the phone, or restrict calls to one a day if you are comfortable with that. This isn't an uncommon problem in those with dementia so they should be used to dealing with this and have techniques to prevent your Mum from making the calls. If the problem is that your Mum is frequently anxious then medication is available to help with this if needed, so ask for a medication review.
Thanks for your reply. It’s a mobile phone that looks like a landline. She had an ordinary mobile phone to start with but couldn’t manage it. I wanted her friends to be able to ring her, so it seemed like a good idea and unkind to remove a phone altogether when she has spoken to me so regularly over the years and she wasn’t settling. I spoke to her firmly about this yesterday and the message seems to have got through because she said today that I had told her not to ring so often. I don’t think she realises how much she rings as she is so much ‘in the moment’.
 

TNJJ

Registered User
May 7, 2019
1,604
cornwall
Mum was diagnosed 2.5 years ago, was living on her own and moved to a care home 2 months ago. She has always been in the habit of ringing me a lot, which escalated over the period of time since her diagnosis. When she was still living at home I felt I had to answer her calls as there might be a problem, but I was hopeful that the panic phone calls would reduce once she was in a care home and not having to worry about keys, the gas, etc. This has not been the case and I am getting around 6 calls a day. This is putting me under a lot of emotional strain and means that we can’t just have a nice chat on the phone because I am too drained from the calls before that. Should I just ignore the phone? I don’t like to do this because she sounds very upset quite often and I am able to calm her down. But I am not calm and this doesn’t feel sustainable.

Any advice would be welcome.
If she has a landline in her room I should take it out.
 

Beate

Registered User
May 21, 2014
12,010
London
The message will not be remembered for very long. If you don't want to take it away, disable certain functions or block her number from your end.
 

manArgentina

Registered User
Aug 10, 2019
43
Mendoza, Argentina
I remember my mother calling 14 times a day to my house, line phone and then cellphone.

And me comming from university, listening the phone ringing from outside the house, opening the door, pickup up the phone still with my bag in my back and she saying "im tired of call and you dont answer, why i bother, you can stop count with me", and hanging.

Now, its the opposite (sometimes), she doesnt call, and when i call lot of times the talk is not good (or, was good until today). One time I told her "you call me when you are awake so i go to your viisit you", i dont want to call her because dont want to wake her up if she is sleeping, and she says "no, i dont call anyone anymore, if you want to call, but i dont, im alone on this, i dont need anyone". And she says the same everytime i tell her to call me if she need something. Of course she call, but its something ive been listening once in a while.

Today I thought go to visit her, but just think about have a stressful conversation on the phone just took my energy off, why fight on the phone and they go to visit her and be like everything is ok ? And when be there she maybe talking like im bothering her. Not the first time this happen, sometimes i think "hm, i want to call her", but sometimes she talks just bitter I desist the idea.

Sorry the vent, really dont have a solution, i think its one of the things impossible to predict, maybe she know calls you a lot, but if you try to explain her, even if she get angry, and you stop pickup her calls, she is going to desist, its hard to say, but its the true, sometimes its you cant do anything, and maybe things end up changing just because (i mean, they stop doing things just because they came up with a new thought).
 

canary

Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
12,867
South coast
I wanted her friends to be able to ring her, so it seemed like a good idea and unkind to remove a phone altogether when she has spoken to me so regularly over the years and she wasn’t settling.
Does she remember your number, or have you put it on speed dial so she only has to press one button? If this is what has happened then the easy answer is to remove your number. That way, you and friends can still call her, but she wont be able to call you. I know that you hoped that phoning you would help her settle, but actually, it tends to have the opposite effect - it just reminds her of home and she needs to get used to going to the carers if she needs something

Do be aware that at some stage she will not be able to manage even that. My mum got to the stage where even if someone else dialled or answered the phone for her, it was obvious that she had no concept of there being an actual person at the other end and was just talking into the phone, rather than to me - on one occasion she was telling me what I was doing! I said to her "who do you think you are talking to?", but Im not sure that she was aware that she was talking to anyone - she was just talking.

I think this might be what is happening to you @manArgentina . It might be worthwhile going to visit her without phoning first and taking a chance.
 

Bunpoots

Volunteer Host
Apr 1, 2016
4,596
Nottinghamshire
My dad used to phone my daughter constantly while she was at work. I don’t know why he didn’t phone me as, being self-employed it didn’t get me in trouble with the boss! It was always about things like tv broken (it wasn’t) or washing machine not working (it was) and it drove her mad. No matter how many times we asked him to phone me he always phoned her as he didn’t want to bother me. Sometimes he’d phone to say his phone wasn’t working...

As @canary said about her mum my dad too lost awareness of what the phone was and eventually he stopped calling and stopped answering when I rang. The latter was a worry and the first few times he did that I’d rush round in a panic thinking something bad had happened. Eventually I realised he just wasn’t reacting to the phone ringing so trying to phone was pointless. At least he didn’t get any scam calls!

Sorry I’m waffling! The point is that phones, in the hands of someone with dementia seem to cause much more stress than they’re worth and eventually one has to learn to manage without them. If it’s causing you stress @Tabby-cat get rid of it. It’ll probably be soon forgotten.
 

Rosettastone57

Registered User
Oct 27, 2016
1,307
Thanks for your reply. It’s a mobile phone that looks like a landline. She had an ordinary mobile phone to start with but couldn’t manage it. I wanted her friends to be able to ring her, so it seemed like a good idea and unkind to remove a phone altogether when she has spoken to me so regularly over the years and she wasn’t settling. I spoke to her firmly about this yesterday and the message seems to have got through because she said today that I had told her not to ring so often. I don’t think she realises how much she rings as she is so much ‘in the moment’.
I don't think she will remember that message, I think you're being a bit too optimistic. Take away the phone or block the number, or divert onto another line with a voicemail, so you can choose whether to respond at your leisure. Personally I would remove the phone, tell her it needs a new sim card or something similar, then just forget to bring it back. My husband refused to take any calls from his mother in the care home. He would only accept calls from staff.
 

rainbowcat

Registered User
Oct 14, 2015
139
She remembers my number, she doesnt have problem using the phone.

"Do be aware that at some stage she will not be able to manage even that", sorry, but, dont tell me what she is going to have in the future, because you dont have a formal diagnosis of her ! She doesnt have progressive stages, she is just where she is and have have been now, her stage doesnt progress, its just 1, i mean, it can change because the brain its unpredictable, but not because she have been diagnosis with something progressive.

I respect and appreciate you telling me your experience, "no concept of there being an actual person at the other end and was just talking into the phone, ", but, not, this is not the case of my mother,

I really dont want to sound disrespectful, but its not the case of my mother.

She is aware with who and why she is talking, the problem she have (had, because now she doesnt call so much) is that she wants to talk with me (or other person) but she is not able to think "hm, theres no one in the house, well, i try later" or "hm, theres nothing in the house for hours, its ok", not, she just burst in anger and bitternes, just because no one answered the call, thats the problem with her, she doesnt have things other kind of things, she is just repetitive, and have anger.

Sorry im using the topic of another use to talk about my situation ,but, just vent, this is why I wrote what i said on my "signature", because i dont want others telling me wrong things, Im just here to talk about this, not to recive advices, or people telling me what to do, or what is this about, im just not, no no, just not.

But i understand this, and I try to be respectful, but if i dont ask for advices, dont know why I recive them, Sorry, dont want to be agressive, just take it in the less agressive way possible, its not my intention to hurt another one, im careful with this, because most people come here with stress, so, i dont like to sound agressive, but, just saying what i think, Bye ! And yes, sincerely thanks for answer.
Your mother sounds very much like my father. He also doesn't have progressive stages. He knows my phone number always, so far.

Can be up to 20 or more phone calls a day. For no "good" reason. He's bored. There's nothing on telly. He needs to know a phone number. He needs me to send him addresses etc of his family and friends. He needs to know why my mother died. He needs to tell me about something "funny" (not funny) that has happened. He needs to tell me about which carer he currently wants to have sex with. He wants to tell me how lonely he is with no one to talk to about a TV programme. Bowel movements, his carers being useless, his wee not stopping when he wants, his floor being wet and doesn't know why, his carers changing his bed when it's messed with poop when they could just let it dry and not change it, food tasting weird, waste of time getting anything except pasta but when I get pasta he hates it, going silent or putting the phone to the side so he can use a urine bottle and 10 minutes later he's still not back, seeing him on webcam holding the phone receiver to his eye or eyebrow and LATELY just holding the phone somewhere near his chest and getting REALLY angry that my phone must be broken because he can't hear me...

The most recent thing was him making a call to me and placing the phone receiver on the floor, then peeing onto it.

Yet STILL he tries calling me up to 20 times a day.

You may not have got to the point where your mother has no concept of phone or person on other end right now, but it's likely it will happen at some point.

And - reading back again - you are replying to posts that aren't even a reply to YOUR posts and getting angry at them, you say "sorry, but, dont tell me what she is going to have in the future, because you dont have a formal diagnosis of her !" and then "because i dont want others telling me wrong things" - but they AREN'T telling YOU anything ? so I'm a little baffled as to why you're so angry at the people who are advising someone else with THEIR situation?
 

manArgentina

Registered User
Aug 10, 2019
43
Mendoza, Argentina
Your mother sounds very much like my father. He also doesn't have progressive stages. He knows my phone number always, so far.

Can be up to 20 or more phone calls a day. For no "good" reason. He's bored. There's nothing on telly. He needs to know a phone number. He needs me to send him addresses etc of his family and friends. He needs to know why my mother died. He needs to tell me about something "funny" (not funny) that has happened. He needs to tell me about which carer he currently wants to have sex with. He wants to tell me how lonely he is with no one to talk to about a TV programme. Bowel movements, his carers being useless, his wee not stopping when he wants, his floor being wet and doesn't know why, his carers changing his bed when it's messed with poop when they could just let it dry and not change it, food tasting weird, waste of time getting anything except pasta but when I get pasta he hates it, going silent or putting the phone to the side so he can use a urine bottle and 10 minutes later he's still not back, seeing him on webcam holding the phone receiver to his eye or eyebrow and LATELY just holding the phone somewhere near his chest and getting REALLY angry that my phone must be broken because he can't hear me...

The most recent thing was him making a call to me and placing the phone receiver on the floor, then peeing onto it.

Yet STILL he tries calling me up to 20 times a day.

You may not have got to the point where your mother has no concept of phone or person on other end right now, but it's likely it will happen at some point.

And - reading back again - you are replying to posts that aren't even a reply to YOUR posts and getting angry at them, you say "sorry, but, dont tell me what she is going to have in the future, because you dont have a formal diagnosis of her !" and then "because i dont want others telling me wrong things" - but they AREN'T telling YOU anything ? so I'm a little baffled as to why you're so angry at the people who are advising someone else with THEIR situation?
Im just reading that what Canary was saying, wanst for me, and seeing wasnt quoting me, so... first, hah, second, sorry, third, going edit and delete what i wrote. Problem solve. Such a stress for nothing, so well. Good this end up good.
 

Lynmax

Registered User
Nov 1, 2016
505
My mum has a bad habit of frequently checking 1471 on her phone and then dialling that number. So, as my sister was the last person to phone her, she had loads of calls today! Sometimes, we take it in turns to be the last caller to give each other a break!