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I visit Mom 1-2 times a week (live 20 minutes away) and call her twice a day. I am very nice to her and try to comply with the guidelines of dealing with a person with dementia. It has become increasingly difficult because she doesn't want to hang up the phone unless I say I will come over to visit (which I cannot, that's why I'm calling.) I am her only living relative and POA. It crushes me to tell her I can't see her and wonder should I lie and tell her Ill be over or just not phone at all? I feel like I'm calling to ultimately turn her down or disappoint her. Comments?

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I feel the same as the other posters. Forget the phone calls. Often they can not put the sound of your voice to your face in their mind or their connection to you. I could tell that my mom had no idea who I was but she “faked” it without ever addressing me by name.
Then 5 minutes after the call, all is forgotten anyway. I would visit when you can. I used to start out the visit by saying, “Hi Mom, I’m your daughter, Sue.” She’d say, “Oh, you ARE? I didn’t know I had a daughter.” Then I’d start (each time) with how old I was and a brief rundown of my life. Sometimes she’d be so amazed. She was always glad to see me because she recognized my face as familiar.

Don’t feel guilty by not calling. Instead think that she won’t be confused by not wondering who she was talking to. You are NOT ignoring her. She won’t miss the calls.
You’re a GOOD daughter by your caring. Calling doesn’t make you any better.
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Reply to SueC1957
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I would cut back on the phone calls, visit her as you do and let it be. Someone once said this to me about my mother and something I was doing...that I said I was doing for her, she said "Be honest, you are doing this for you, trying to make yourself feel better", She was right, it was all guilt driven.
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Reply to DollyMe
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I, too live too far to visit my mom often. When we are on the phone together, she kind of lights up, though I don't think she knows who I am. I think she recognizes that I am a friendly person who knows her oh, but she does seem to enjoy the phone visits. With me, on the phone she is willing to hang up when there is nothing else that she wants to talk about.

However, when I visit, she cries when I say goodbye. I have changed that now to "I will see you again as soon as I can" or "I will see you soon," knowing that "soon" is a relative word. I don't feel as bad stating it that way and she is okay with that. The bottom line is that she won't remember anyway if I called 5 minutes ago or last week or even at all.

We both feel good about the call for the moment, no strings attached.
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Reply to Joanies
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I’m long distance from my dad who’s in memory care. Dad is just in the moment now and I don’t phone him anymore.

I think so so much about caregiving parents triggers the guilt thing. Emotionally I feel guilty and sad for not talking to dad. Rationally though, I know there’s not much to be gained other than him being confused about who I am till it’s all forgotten in the next minute.
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Reply to Windyridge
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Amygjoy Jul 16, 2019
I did struggle with the same thing with my dad. I was close enough to visit weekly and maintain a schedule. But I found that to much caused more confusion than clarity. Good job seeing the big picture. I am now struggling with my mother's mental decline and find the rules have changed but the prize is the same. Peace of mind....for all.
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I would cut the calls down to once a day, max. When the phone becomes a real nightmare, that's when you know something has to change. If she doesn't want to hang up, that's a problem. I used to call mom 2x a day, until it reached the point it was affecting me very harshly. At that time, I cut the call to once a day and it's been better. Nowadays, she either can't hear the phone, can't figure out how to answer it, I get a 'busy signal' which means the phone hasn't been turned off, or I can't reach her at ALL and wind up getting worried and feel the need to call the nurses station. So, the phone has become a problem. If you have to lie to her to calm her down, I say go for it. Chances are slim she'll remember ANY part of the conversation anyway, so whatever it takes to make her happy and diffuse the situation. It's not about 'ethics' at this point but about doing whatever is in HER best interest. It's a tough, ugly situation and you have my condolences.
Best of luck
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Reply to lealonnie1
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II wouldn't call so frequently. One of the things that I saw with my dad was that he didn't need to engage and try to make friends because I was around to much.

He could use visits and calls as justification to not be part of his new home. He did better with less contact.

I know it is hard when they forget your name, but it is her broken brain not her heart towards you. Maybe when you first arrive say hi mom it's (your name) your daughter. Then let it go.

It's okay to visit when you can and then let her live her life the rest of the time. Humans are amazing beings, we can adapt to anything.
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Reply to Isthisrealyreal
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I have found that phone calls ease my mind because I've spoken to her. But when I am with her she tells me that no one comes over or calls. So it doesn't matter if you call, to her. She will most likely forget. My mom forgets that I'm in her house and why. She calls me by name but dosen't know who I am. Eliminate the little things and focus on the important ones.
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Reply to Amygjoy
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Can you seek advice for any carers or aides as to how she behaves after you have called? Its hard to determine if the calls have a positive, non existent or even negative effect from where you are. I think we have to relay on the experience of those who are with Mum to answer this type of question for us.
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Reply to TaylorUK
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Thank you all for sharing your advice and thoughts. I will ease off calling Mom and focus only on the visits. Appreciate your guidance, God Bless you all!
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Reply to Hope4Peace
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Amygjoy Jul 16, 2019
I wish for you everything that I want for myself. Time for me, peace of mind when I get it, and a clear set of priorities so that you make the most of each opportunity. Believe that the decisions you make are for the right reasons, that you do what is best for everyone and that at the end of the day you know you did the best you could. That is all we can do. I believe in you.
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I have struggled with the moral and ethical dilemma of whether or not i should call my MIL at long term care because her short-term memory is gone and 1 minute after any call she doesn't remember it. Maybe it's better to call the nurse station and just get an update on how she is (in general, not like a care conference). If the calls only agitate her, and exhaust you emotionally (because it's like 50 First Dates or Groundhog's Day), then either reduce calls or don't call her directly at all. I feel your anguish in this. I also have a 97-yr old aunt that I grew up with who lives out of state and has same issues as with your mom. I've gotten a lot better at just telling her what makes her happy. No harm done as long as it keeps her calm and satisfies her. Then we have a good call or visit.
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