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I have explained to her how dangerous it is for her to talk to people she doesn't know. I have given her printouts of stories where elderly people have been taken advantage of. But, she continues to do it. Her memory has gotten really bad, so I know she forgets. And, I also know she misses her friends and is hoping the call is from someone she knows. How do I protect her?

If it gets too bad, just turn the darn thing off for a few hours. or the day. Especially around election time....
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Reply to MAYDAY
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Gaylynn, when my mom, who has Vascular Dementia, moved to a skilled nursing facility, she missed having a phone more than anything else and was constantly asking for one. She, too, would answer any and all calls and was scammed out of a lot of money while she was independent. Even though she no longer had access to her finances, she remembered all her personal information and would freely give it out. I went as far as buying an "old school" Trimline phone and set up an account but could never bring myself to activate it, knowing it would lead to a world of problems. Then I ran across a company called TeleCalm. Oh. My. Word! I cannot begin to tell you how wonderful it's been! Mama has her phone and I have an app on mine so I can set "quiet hours" -- no more middle-of-the-night or early morning calls; she gets a comforting recording from me instead. She can only make OR receive calls from those on her call list. No scammers ever! No calling 800 shopping numbers from commercials! Her friends can call her, she can call them, my sister, and me but she can't call 911 (she's tried, believe me, but doesn't need to because she's being well cared for.) She also can't use the phone book to call out to strangers in the middle of the night (has done this from the facility phone.) The funny thing is, now that she has her phone (fire-engine red, her favorite color!) she doesn't make that many calls. I think just having it there makes her feel connected.
If not very many of your mom's friends are no longer living, there are services that make daily calls to seniors just to check in and chat.
Hope this helps you, dear fellow caregiver.
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Reply to VickyGrace
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This isn't helpful, but my mother talked their ear off telling them all her bodily complaints. They hung up on her. Locking credit is best.
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Reply to Rosyday
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Karencd Jan 10, 2020
Lol!
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Caller ID is unreliable and cannot be trusted. Scammers can easily spoof numbers so you have no idea if the number on your caller ID is correct.
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Reply to worriedinCali
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NeedHelpWithMom Jan 8, 2020
I have even received calls from my own number! Stupid robocalls...
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write a list of names and facilities from most important to least. Do get the phone that says loudly who the number belongs to. My neighbor has it. Oh it's grandkids school calling again, late start tomrrow, she didn't bother answering it.
It's my granddaughter,, got to get it... It works for her. I think you have to enter the names for phone to recognize... Not sure. One Man called my mom when I was visiting.. I was so angry. I called him back and said: How Dare you ask a senior citiszen for her Social Security numbe.r Don't you have a mother? How would you feel? It still angers me there are people out there doing that stuff.
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Reply to MAYDAY
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Karencd Jan 10, 2020
I wasn't so lucky. Whenever I want to call the numbers back (and sometimes there is no number), I can't get anyone.
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My mother is of the polite generation that will listen patiently to donation requests from anyone who calls. However, she is also someone who lived in the NYC area most of her life! She always asks people to send her a printed request or invoice. If they bother to do that, we can intercept or she will throw it away herself.

Fortunately she hasn’t lost her skepticism yet! Now if we could just get her to stop calling 911 when she forgets where she is...
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Reply to KathyT124
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I feel for you...my mother has fallen for phone scams (your computer has bugs and we need to perform "whatever" to fix it..oh by the way it will cost you $150.00 plus) and has fallen for the scam where she wound up buying a bunch of gift cards and wound up costing the bank over $3K and losing her checking account (the bank did not come back to her for the money but they did send a nice letter ending their financial relationship) and I wound up getting her an account that was a sub-account to mine so I can monitor daily what is going on . Recently, something popped up on her computer stating her checking account had been accessed (not true) and I walked in just as she was trying to give them access to the computer. All of this happened in the last 18 months. She is pretty good at hanging up on the calls now but continues to answer her phone on the off chance it is my brother or sister calling. It doesn't get easier.
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Reply to Tinydog
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My mom would give info out to whomever asked, changed the electric carrier for a $50 gift card. When I changed it back we had no bill for months! I turned off the ringer. Her dementia is too advanced for her to make a call. All the calls are forwarded to my cell phone. We call her sister through Alexa ,it can call anyone in my phones contact list. I live with her and she is never alone.
Maybe a cell phone with those important people in the contacts. Their names would be on the screen when they call. Different ringer sounds can be set for the people on close friends list, the rest of the callers could be set to something that doesn't sound like a phone, like a water drip, etc. Once the memory gets worse, nothing will work...
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Reply to hairgirlie
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I use Ooma (Voice Over IP based phone service) to get around this problem with my husband with dementia. It has a built-in blacklist for scam numbers. Any number that’s not specifically white-listed goes directly to voicemail for me to deal with later. I even do it for numbers we do know (doctors, dentists, etc) because if he answers the phone, they will give him info (despite my repeatedly telling them NOT to talk to him) & then he will promptly forget what they said.
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worriedinCali Jan 9, 2020
You know this isn’t fool proof right? Scammers spoof numbers so their calls will always get through. All it takes is spoofing a white listed phone number.
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While some of the call filters help, calls still do come through (my phone is a cell.) With the filter, some calls ring, but get blocked (but still manage to sometimes go through to voicemail - what a pain!) Some show up as Potential Spam. Many still manage to get through - the system is not fool-proof. I have read others getting calls from their own phone #, mine showed up on the display as Voicemail - seriously, my voice mail is calling me???? I happened to move over the border to another state but kept my old #. This has been somewhat of a blessing, because the majority of junk calls come from area codes in the old state (the rest come from all over the states!) So far in 5+ years only maybe 2-3 calls came from my current area code. So, even when the # isn't programmed in my phone, generally I am "safe" in answering those calls!

With mom's hearing issues and memory issues, I think the easiest solution is to set up call forwarding and have ALL calls go to your phone. More than likely most, if not all, calls are crap. How often do her friends call? Does she initiate calls? She would still have a phone and could call her friends, if she is capable. If the friends happen to call and get you, explain the situation and then tell mom you ran into this person and they would like to chat - mom could call them. You could also warn them upfront, so they are aware.

I also agree with the suggestions to freeze credit. I did this years ago for a specific reason, but it is even better now that it is FREE. Because of the reason why I needed to do this (idiot at EC atty office sent my SS via email!), I have alerts on EVERYTHING! So far there has been no issue, but I plan to keep it as is! Most elders won't need to have their credit accessed for any reason, so freezing it would likely be a one-and-done. Taking a credit card away might be wise, providing them with a debit card that requires fill-up and is kept at a low balance. Taking SS card might work for some, but even with dementia, SS # is a long-term memory. Mom could still spew her # from memory despite dementia. Remember back in the day it was needed for just about anything you did? I even have my son's memorized because I had to use it every time I had to pay this tuition. It is nice that Medicare changed to a random number, removing it from access there, but the SS # is more important.

I would contact her phone service provider and ask for any call-blocking AND to have all calls forwarded to your phone (the blocking might reduce the number of calls you get!) Regardless of robo/spam calls being made "illegal", until they find a way to really stop it, it will continue!
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Reply to disgustedtoo
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