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Mom can no longer remember how to use a telephone. I thought a big button picture phone would help her. A friend said to try an Alexa but that maybe more confusing. Any thoughts? What have you tried to help someone with dementia?

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Mother cannot manage her phone and it is the easiest phone I've ever seen. BIG squares with a picture of the person in the square. All she had to do was touch the person's picture and the call went out.

Didn't work for her. The screens that are "touch" kind just terrify her. That "swiping motion" that is kind of natural to 10 month olds just defies 89 yo's.

Also, she always has grimy hands and the screen is always gunked up with food and hand lotion. I clean it if I happen to see her, but I'll go a month or two and not visit her. I got her special wipes to use on the phone, but she doesn't remember to clean it daily.

She has BEGGED brother to simply reinstall her landline and he refuses. I had hot words with him over this--mother would have paid for it, of course, but he wouldn't do it. (There's a LOT of "bad" going on between them, but she chose to live with him for some reason and he is just a jerk sometimes.)

In her situation, she is never going to get the hang of the touch screen, so reinstalling the landline is the obvious answer. Sadly, it will never happen.
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Reply to Midkid58
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Hi. Forgetting how to use the phone is getting close to forgetting how to turn the oven off and the iron. Also as the mind deteriorates we forget the newest things first and I think it would have been a dial up phone for her
I feel this is a prod to say, start getting plans in place
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Reply to Pandabear
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I wish I had a recommendation for you. My sisters and I tried simpler and simpler phones as Mom's dementia progressed. The pre-programmed phone numbers had to be wiped out because one night when she was manic she would start pushing buttons and waking up people!

Eventually she just couldn't manage any of the phones. I had to dial for her and hang up the phone for her. For Mom even an Alexa wouldn't have worked as she couldn't remember anything we would have told her about it.
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Reply to MountainMoose
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My Mom could no longer use her cordless phone. Before that I tried to teach her how to use a cell phone that was very simple. No good. About the same time she forgot how to use the cordless she couldn't use the remote.

To tell you the truth, I don't understand why she needs a phone living in an assisted living. She may not be able to learn how to use any device. When Mom lived here. I found a phone close to the old phones. She just had to pick it up to talk and put back in the cradle.

The Alexa sounds good. They now have them with screens. But, another poster is having a problem with her Dads AL being able to keep his.
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Reply to JoAnn29
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We see all kinds of questions here. Yours, to me, is a new one. Interested in responses because they help us all. Thank you for posting yours.

We all learn from shared experiences.
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Reply to Segoline
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What is the situation for where your mom lives?

If shes still living in her home or an apt on her own & alone, and the big button foto phone doesn’t solve the problem, she’s imo needing a higher more supervised level of oversight like in IL, or AL or a NH. Just what level to me depends on what type of dementia she has and where she is within all this and her overall health. She can get a needs assessment done. Usually it’s a RN & SW duo that do these. Often a facility will send the duo out to assess placement on a future resident or have the potential resident come in for a long “play date” at the facility that involves a meeting with admissions, going to an activity and lunch and then a tour of the unit they would move into. The latter is what my mom’s IL did.

If she cannot “process” how to use a phone, I’d be concerned she likely also cannot “process” how to safety exit the house if there is a fire; or know if a stove or heater has gas escaping and turn it off. Can she accurately do her medications? Inability for Medication management is a big reason why AL or NH is determined to be needed. You do need to tread somewhat carefully with “medication management” as needing it does NOT necessarily meet the requirements of being “at need” for skilled nursing care in a NH. Medication management can be done by a Aide or medication tech in an AL or MC. If your mom should need to apply for Medicaid, your states Medicaid program may not pay for AL or MC. Medicaid LTC availability may only be in a NH.

Gas escaping was the tipping point point for me & my mom’s living in her home alone. My son & I came in to visit a day earlier than expected and upon opening the kitchen door, we both got taken aback by gas. Literally burner on with gas hissing. My kid ran to open the other doors and I hit the windows to open. Mom sitting on her bed, happily folding clothes and watching WofF. Oblivious to gas smell. And for more fun, it wasn’t her fault, it was the knob on the stove. Yeah sure. Put her on lists for IL next day. Moved her into IL abt 3 mos later amidst much drama. But within days she was totally aboard IL events & dining schedule. Electric kitchen too. She could work microwave,washer, dryer. She did ok for IL a couple of years as she had Lewy Body Dementia so relatively high functioning for ADLs and she was pretty socially adept. Then started sundowning after a TIA and went into a NH.

So honestly what level do you think she’s capable to live at safely?
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Reply to igloo572
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My mother had the big button picture phone when she started losing her vision. It helped her tremendously. We later transitioned her to a flip phone and she memorized how to use the speed dial (I'm #1, my sister is #2). That worked for a few years, but now she's confused and can't remember how to do it, so I make all calls for her. I also call her to let her know I'm okay if I'm out running errands when she's awake and it's taking longer than anticipated (she gets agitated when she thinks I've been gone too long).
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Reply to PeeWee57
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Losing the ability to use the phone is very common judging by the number of times it comes up on the forum (it's right up there with screwing up the TV remote). Some people have had success with Alexa and others not so much, it may work better for you calling in rather than your mom remembering how to call out.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YvT_gqs5ETk
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Reply to cwillie
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My mom has the phone with the pictures, also has the volume adjuster. She likes it a lot.
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Reply to LisaNJ
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