sumlerc Asked February 2011

When my mom first moved into the nursing home we had a phone installed for her convenience, now it has become an inconvenience for me. Is it wrong of me to disconnect it?

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She has become very forgetfull and calsl back to back to back and time doesnt matter. I've reduced the svc from unlimited long dis. to local....yeah but I'm the only one local! I'm about to go local for real!!! as it is I turn my cell phone off after 8:00 p.m. and screen calls. The NH doesn't care about time either! Just need to know, am I being insensitive by trying to protect my sleep and how do I go about removing the phone w/o further agitating her. I hate to lie, but I'm up for suggestions.
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pltrickey Feb 2011
You could have a recording for your mom to hear. She may just need to hear your voice and be soothed and told everything will be alright. That way she would feel better and you would get your rest.
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In my work experance as a nurse, I found a cell phone can be misplaced, or just walk away by other clients, washed in the laundry, or even taken by staff.
My suggestion to make her feel safe, and secure ( that's why she calls you so often, or she forgot she called. Patients with Dementia, are not oriented to time and place.)
Have a phone installed at her bedside. Block long distance calls, and have only chosen numbers or area codes she can dial and talk to... (Talk to the phone company about those features.)
Tell her you will call her every day around the same time, or she can call you. Place a sign up by her phone to remind her when she can call, (not after 8 pm for example.)
You can have a message recorder on your phone stating if you are not available, to leave a message. Tell her how your number is on her chart and the nurses will call you, in case there is an emergency. Have other family members or church friends, to call her on her phone or she can call during designated hours. Well, just a few suggestions....I misplace my cell phone alot, and end up calling myself to find it.
PS: I've also have witnessed patients flushing their false teeth down the toilet! Things happen!
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sumlerc Feb 2011
Gosh these replies are so helpful! If I can figure out how to have a special message for Mom that would be awesome. I'm sure the phone will be back in a couple of days, I just needed for her to settle down and allow me to do so too!.
@ adaughter, mom is on Paxil but it only seems to last a little while. She's very high strong.
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sumlerc Feb 2011
Thank you chandracap - this sounds like what I'm going thru. We had the same problem with her track phone, now she has lost that. I will ask the NH staff about unplugging the phone at night and see how that works, I do what the few family members that we do have to be able to reach her w/o bothering the fron desk.
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ADaughter Feb 2011
My father phones me on average 24 times a day from his assisted living. Sometimes it drives me mad. I keep my home phone ringer off and only speak to him twice a day in the morning and evening. Even with the ringer off, it's distressing because I have to listen to at least part of the voice mail messages to see if anyone else has phoned. In one respect though the messages are helpful since by the end of the day he can't often remember what he'd like to tell me, and those messages provide a clue to what he's done all day. I also have a cell phone for people who need to phone me. I feel it would be cruel to remove his phone since it gives him a measure of control. In his previous assisted living they could shut off his phone through the central switchboard at certain hours and he didn't know the difference. At this home they must unplug his phone which only agitates him further since he can tell something is wrong with the line. I figure that this behavior will stop soon enough when the disease worsens so I try to bear it as patiently as I can.

If the home is calling you to tell you he is agitated, perhaps they are hoping you will put your mother on an anti-depressant.
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ezcare Feb 2011
It could be a lot worse...it could be your teenage daughter texting you 24/7 at 20-cents per message :-)))
But seriously, I like nussy's suggestion but with a twist. You can set up a special answering service that plays back a recording made by you especially for her. Say something like "Mom, it is so good to hear your voice. I love you and really can't wait til I see you again (whenever you normally visit)." If, as you say, she does not remember calling, she will get a lot of satisfaction out of hearing your voice each time she calls. Since this can be set up as a local call, the cost will be the same whether she calls once a day or 100 times a day. You can also change the message for special occasions like Mother's Day, her Birthday, your Birthday, her Anniversary etc. You will also get some sense of her well-being by the number of times she calls during the day. If often, then she is anxious and you can alert the NH staff. If infrequent, then she is content and you can compliment the NH staff if they have contributed to her improvement.
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nussy Feb 2011
Put a phone recorder at your end and a message on it saying " I am not available at this moment. Please leave your name and phone number and I will call you back." I use that to screen out Mom and also the many phone sales pitches. It works.
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chandracap Feb 2011
Sumlerc, I went through this for a year. I gave my Mother a cell phone and she called me every night. I simply stopped answering it after I couldn't take it anymore. If it were a true emergency, the Assisted living home would call me. She didn't remember calling me each time. Now, she has gotten worse and she can't remember how to use the phone, so she doesn't call me. I still use the cell phone there, when I go see her, there may be people she wants to call and I dial it for her. You could disconnect the phone and use your phone to call other loved ones or friends of hers while you are there with her. I hope this helps.
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N1K2R3 Feb 2011
Don't disconnect her phone.
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sumlerc Feb 2011
Thank you both! asking the NH staff to unplug the phone will be my next step. I already turn my cell phone ringer off at night, that's the number mom uses...she's forgotten my home phone # but wants me to write it down. Yeah right! and I agree that i should only be called for in emergencies, however as of late, I get calls saying your mom is highly upset and agitated, this is not like her, I just wanted to let you know etc. Ok cool but really!?? I visit often, call everyday, I'm involved in the patient care plan meetings...I'm sorry but right now I need a life or death phone call. I hate to hear the phone ring!
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