Any ideas to keep mom with dementia from calling my phone every 20 minutes?


My mom is 82 and has mild dementia. She can still live alone (as I live right next door to her) and get around in the house with her walker. When she wakes up, no matter what the time, she calls me. Last night it was around 11:30 pm (even though we had already said our goodnights around 9.45 pm. This morning it started at 5:15 am, then 8:26, 8:52, 10:07, etc. She always has an excuse like "I took a nap and wanted to see if my vocal chords still work". I call her every hour on the hour to keep her awake so she will sleep through the night and not get her hours backwards. She always sounds so surprised and happy when I call her, and I feel guilty when I tell her I'm still at work and need to go. Help!! Please!!!



Block her number. Seriously. You are next door and are already checking on her every hour, she really doesn't need access to you beyond that. And if you are really, truly worried that she couldn't reach you in a real crisis then you may have reached the point where she really can't be left alone at all any more.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to cwillie

How long has your Mom been calling you and how long ago did you start calling her every hour from work? Have you and your Mom always talked on the phone everyday--for several years?
Is she able to see a clock if the numbers are large enough or have you tried a clock that states the time when you push a button?
What type of social activities does your mom enjoy and can be involved without you taking time off of work to be with her? Is there an Adult Day Care in your community? What type of social activities does your local Senior Center have that your mom might enjoy?
I need more information in order to offer appropriate advice or suggestions.
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to DeeAnna

When people with dementia start doing what’s called “sundowning” or getting their days and nights mixed up, it doesn’t really help to try to keep them awake during the day. Problem is, then they’re really tired and more prone to anxiety attacks during the night. Mom is probably bored and wants to live through you. She wants to know what you’re doing every minute. Calling her every hours just adds to this because I’m sure you don’t just let the phone ring and hang up. You pass a few words with Mom and she enjoys that and loves you for all the contact.

Even if Mom is able to negotiate the house on her own, for Mother’s Day, get her some help. Someone can come in to make her lunch, run the vacuum, do some laundry, or even just sit and visit with Mom. Perhaps she has someone at her church or a friend who could come and visit. It would occupy Mom’s time and tire her out.

I know you feel the need to answer every time she calls, especially since she lives alone. Ask her if she's fearful of being alone, and if she mentions concerns, address them as best you can. I say a prayer every time I get in the shower because I fear if I slip and fall, there’s no one to help. Try to reason with her and explain that you are at work and feel just awful about not being able to talk, but you don’t want your boss to get angry about all the calls. Promise to call when you can, but not every hour, or multiple times in an hour. Tell her you’d much rather talk in person than on the phone and you’ll stop by and visit later. Be kind and loving, but firm.
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to Ahmijoy