How do you deal with a telephone obsession?

Follow
Share

My mom still lives at her home alone (I'm researching memory care units) and calls me at least 50 times a day to tell me that she needs Fruit of the Loom underwear and cat food. Sometimes the calls start at 5 in the morning. She ties up my phone line and my answering machine is full every time I come home. Because I work from home, this can be very annoying. I had to remove call waiting because she was constantly "beeping in". She also doesn't recognize my voice on the answering machine, even though I say my name in the message. When this all started about 6 months ago, I was shocked when I heard some of her messages. She would cuss me out and use very foul language! I finally explained to her that she shouldn't do that and she apologized for "cussing out that poor lady that keeps answering my phone". I just had to laugh!


So, I started taking the phone off the hook for a couple or hours while I got some work done. I don't like to do that because I miss other calls from friends, doctors, etc. I am in the process of giving my cell phone number to people that I deal with.


Does anyone else have this problem?

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
16

Answers

Show:
Arlene, I can't take her phone away. If I did that she would have no way to reach me (she is still in her own home). What I have done is muted the sound on my phone, so I can still see her messages. Sometimes, when her caregiver is there at lunch time, I take my phone off of the hook.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Moved my Mom into Memory Care last year and after a few weeks, I gave her cell phone to her with some worry that she would get crazy with the calls like your Mom. Luckily, it's not much of a habit for Mom to call anyone...her husband was the one who enjoyed long phone calls catching up with family and friends. Of course, the dementia over the past 7 years also made phone calls less enjoyable for Mom.

However, she does call me now, usually to tell me she's out of Diet Coke, or needs new books from the Library. There have been times she has called to complain, cuss me out, or just say "hi."

The worst phone day she called 12 times, but then backed down, so I'm not "losing" her phone yet.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Take the phone off her, say you are too busy with your work to answer her calls 50 times a day. Yes, she won't like it, but it will be a form of peace of mind for you. I knew of an old lady is a rest home who rang her family every night, clogging up the phone when other residents wanted to use it. Yes, it does mean you will need to visit her, but it is better than 50 calls a day when you are working. All the best.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

My Mom's obsession with the phone was different and it's what started her long decline.She was racing to answer the phone when she fell and broke her neck in the tip of her skull.C-1.Just a half of an inch and she'd have been dead or paralyzed then,but God had other plans.Mom loved talking to people so much and didn't want to miss a call and she almost lost her life ,racing for the phone,not to call,but to answer.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Thank you MsMadge!

I heard from the memory care unit today! Apparently there was a miscommunication due to a change in the office personnel and I was not calling the correct dept. The lady I spoke to was very apologetic and she was able to give me the information I need to process to get Mom on a waiting list.

We have an appt. with the lawyer soon to move most of my mom's assets into a special trust fund so that Medicaid can't touch it (she does not qualify for it now). The memory care unit is very expensive if she self pays, but once she is on Medicaid the price will drop 50%.

PS - we live in Syracuse, NY How do I private message you?
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Hey Coralmae,
Do you know why Adult Protective Services opened an investigation? I'd try to get things straight with your mom, before they open a new one. If they came in the first place, there must be others who are concerned about her.

My experience with the admissions of LTC facilities is that you have to be proactive. They are often very busy and though, it may problematic, if your mom needs memory care and that's the only one, you may be limited in your option of places.

I showed up in person and said I'd wait to meet with the director and to get things ready for my LO to move in. (I had toured about a dozen places and settled on one.) Most places you need certain forms filled out. Is she self pay or on a state funded benefit program? I'd figure out how to pay pronto. (Does she qualify for help or is self pay?)

Most require that the doctor complete a form that provides her abilities and needs. Most Memory Care facilities require a signed form authorized by the doctor. I devoted several hours per day for several weeks doing all the leg work. I suppose you could hire a professional to get all of the done on your behalf. I would think that a social worker would be able to guide you.

Oh, the DPOA stand for Durable Power of Attorney, which means it stays in place after the person become incompetent.

Please let us know what happens.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Coralmae
Not sure what part of the country you reside but a facility that won't return your call already sounds like a red flag to me - most will want a deposit to put you on a waiting list if they're currently full - and they will need to assess your mom before accepting her

if you want to private message I'm happy to share any other information about my mom's facility with you
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Freqflyer, thanks for your input. I have a place picked out for her. Went on 6/1 for an informal tour, got all the info I need along with an admissions packet, and left my name on a "customer info" sheet. I have called them 3 times and emailed them once, but haven't heard a thing from them. Mom's doctor said I had to keep after them. Maybe I should start getting more aggressive and just show up there and ask for an interview. This is so frustrating! After all the years I've been dealing with the dementia, with very little help, I would think that a facility would at least acknowledge my phone calls!
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

coralmae, so happy to read that you have found an Assisted Living/Memory Care place for your Mom. Hope a room opens soon.

Once my Dad moved into Assisted Living/Memory Care I felt more secure knowing he wouldn't walk out the front door at night. That was my biggest fear, too.

Will your Mom like moving from her home to Memory Care? I know at this point in her life, she doesn't really have a choice. My Dad didn't mind the studio apartment as I would joke that was his college dorm room.

What helped with my Dad, before he moved to Independent Living, he had a professional caregiver with him at home, and when the time came she helped him get ready for his move to Memory Care. And she stayed on with him even when he moved to Memory Care. I was so glad the facility allowed that :)
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

Sunnygirl1,

I have POA (don't know what you mean by DPOA). I've already picked a memory care center that is close to me but I have yet to hear from them since my initial visit. I've called every day & had to leave messages. I'm thinking that they may have called me back but my phone was either off the hook or they called when Mom was calling and couldn't get through. Today I sent an email to them and told them to contact me that way or call my cell phone. Yes, this is my top priority! I'm so afraid that she will fall and hurt herself or go wandering off (which she has never done). She has great neighbors, and if she did go to any of their homes, they would call me however, apparently a new neighbor moved in 6 months ago and reported that my mom was being left alone for long periods of time and not getting her medications (not true).

Adult Protective Services showed up at her door and gave her a card to give to me. We had to go to have a home visit and they also talked to her immediate neighbors and her lunch time caregiver. The case was dropped and the rep. told me that if I ever needed any help, I could call her. Maybe I should call her to see if she can get Mom placed sooner?
Helpful Answer (4)
Report

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Related
Questions