Mom called 911 last night.

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I took my son to football practice from 6-8 last night and on my way home, I received a frantic call from my 11 year old daughter. It turns out that Mom woke up from a nap and thought she was alone in the house (she is never alone). Instead of ringing her "summons the help" doorbell, she decided to call 911..


I am guessing that she then rang the bell and my daughter came to check on her. At which time, my mother must have told her about calling the police.


Mom actually had the mental capacity to turn on her porch light and crack the door open but didn't realize that her porch is not quite visible from the driveway so they never would have figured it out.


Luckily, I was able to call and cancel the response. When I got home, Mom had that same look that a dog who has peed on the floor has. She knew she screwed up and was going to get scolded.


Of course, when I questioned her, she had several weird stories about why she thought she needed the police. I requested a copy of the dispatch tape just to see what she said (I work at the 911 center).


So frustrating.

11 Comments

I'm surprised you were able to cancel the response, where I am they would have sent someone out anyway just to check out the situation. It might have been better to let them respond so they could document that she wasn't alone and was confused, it would have also reinforced the message that she did something silly so she is less apt to do it again. Oh well, water under the bridge.
If she's never alone in the house, then I would allow the person who is supervising her be in charge of the phones. So, she doesn't have the option of calling 911. I had to do that with my cousin, as she would call 911 because she couldn't find her tv remote or just because...no real reason. I'm not sure if an eleven year old would be considered old enough to be in charge though.

I wouldn't doubt that she will do it again. She'll likely forget about the incident and repeat it later on. It's rather common for people with dementia to do this, from what I have discovered.
I should have said that Mom is -almost- never alone in the house. We have, in the past, put her Verizon Sure Response emergency call button on her (on a lanyard) with very specific instructions that she would be alone for x number of minutes. We have not had to do that lately but when we did, it was during the day when she was most lucid and not fearful.

She has phones in her apartment (apartment is attached to our house) but I didn't realize that she knew that they were there. I may have to take them. She has her cell phone but doesn't always know how to use it and wouldn't know her address anyway.

My 11 year old is very mature and is responsible enough to give Mom her evening pills and watch her unsupervised for a few hours (in this case, it was 2 hours). But, that said, she was in the other part of the house at the time of this and didn't realize that Mom had woken up from a nap, thinking that she was alone.

If I don't take the phones, I might, at a minimum, put a note in the CAD system that the dispatcher should call my cell phone if they get a call from her. We already have her Sure Response button set up that way.
I think at time our elders lose track of time. I remember my Dad had fallen at his senior apartment and he had pushed the medical alert that would bring the nurse and aide to to his apartment.

But to my Dad, 5 seconds felt like a hour. So one time he was able to pull down the landline from the table and tried to dial 911.... but he forgot to dial "9" first because of the way the phone system was hooked up. He said it was hours before anyone came. Actually the nurse and aide were there in a few minutes.
I agree ff. I often will watch my Mom shuffle by to go tot he bathroom and when I check on her five minutes later, she will insist that she has been struggling to get up for an hour. When I ask her why she didn't ring her bell (right next tot he toilet) she looks at me like I am speaking a foreign language.

I'm sure it feels like an hour to her so I just say "well, I'm here now" and shrug and help her.

The funniest thing has to be the arguments she and I get into about emergency worker's response time. She has the Verizon emergency call button and insists that their ambulance is much faster than the ambulance at 911.

I keep trying to tell her that it is the exact same ambulance... I should know, I work there.
When Rainman was about 6 y/o he dialed 911 - completely a fluke as he has no concept of numbers or even what a telephone is. I hadn't realized he had done it - just found him with the phone in his hand so I hung it up. A minute later 911 called back. I assured them all was well, explained about Rainman and said no need to send anyone. Five minutes later the police were on my porch. (Sigh).
Ps - the funny part was that I had just finished cutting Rainmans hair - which he was very unhappy about... One of those times when I look at him and think "hmmm" maybe there's more going on than I give him credit for!
OK, Rainmom, two funny 911 stories.

The police called us one morning to report a 911 hang-up call and we had to wait for deputies to verify that everything was OK. Our dear, dear little boy had called to "see what would happen"

The funny part? Well, DH and I were, at the time, both police officers in a different jurisdiction and DH was headed in to spend the day teaching children about calling 911 correctly and demonstrating on the 911 simulator.

Second story... a police officer had been at DD's school and talked about 911 amongst other things. She decided to call him that night so that she could see him again. Well, of course, it wasn't him who responded but a female deputy. She was very disappointed and declared to me that the deputy can't be an officer "because she's a girl !" I looked at her in disbelief. "Honey, am I a girl?" "Yes, Mom" "And am I a police officer?" "Yes, Mom".

Where did I go wrong?
When my mom forgot how to dial 911 she would dial 0 for the operator which was very frustrating for her as there is no longer a live operator but an automated system
She occasionally persisted and got through to the police who then called me - she gave them my number

When she didn't like having a caregiver in the house she would go outside and yell for the neighbor's to call the police - one time they did - when the officer arrived she scurried back inside fearful they were going to take her away

Since my dad and sister were cops she used to ask if I had my gun when I arrived at her memory care center and she was feeling scared of the men there
Mom2Mom - I don't know if it's already been done but you should write a book about funny 911 calls - from a dispatchers and a police officers point of view - in your spare time, of course. I know technically they're not funny but some of them still are. My neighbor at my previous house called 911 on me when I took the plastic ribbons out of my tree - that he had put there to mark for a arborist to cut. Never mind they were way over on my property...the lady police officer could barely suppress her laughter while the neighbor had a full-on meltdown after she told him I was within my rights...

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