My parents are not tech savvy. They can make and receive calls on their flip phone cells, but mom does not know how to turn off alarms and dad is convinced they are using up minutes if they leave the cell phones on. They still buy minutes/time.
Now they are confusing their cordless home phones with the cell phones. Dad presses the wrong button (talk button) when he 'hangs up', doesn't actually hang up but leaves the phone 'off the hook'. I watched him do this when I was there. He put the phone down and it was the off the hook beeping but he didn't hear it because he didn't have his hearing aids in. This ties the phone up in 'busy' mode for full days or until they find the phone and put it back in its cradle. Since they won't leave the cell phones on, I have no way (neither does anyone else) of reaching them, so I leave a message on the cell to call me. They never get these messages, now the voicemail box on mom's phone is full.
I called my mom's cell one day and it actually was on and she answered. I told her I had tried to call, but their home phone was busy. She then went to the home phone, picked it up and said 'Hello, hello?' I heard this in the background while she was doing it. I said Mom, I'm calling you on your cell phone, your home phone isn't connected to your cell. omg. And we went through that conversation several times. I asked her to please go to the home phone and hang it up, which she did, then asked her to hang up the phones after dad talks on them.
I sent old 1980's style trimline phones with no buttons shortly before this episode, but my dad doesn't like them because it doesn't have caller id. They have not plugged them in to try them. This was after I had started shopping for them and they did the busy signal thing in front of the home care nurse and she also thought it is "time for corded phones". (edit I spoke to her briefly at that time about it)
This phone confusion gets drastically worse when there is something going on with mom like illness, dr appts she's worried about, company, or a change in schedule. She told me if she "gets under stress a little, then stuff doesn't go right". If her hbg drops below a certain point, she is also very confused. Sometimes mom apologizes about the phones, but a lot of times there seems to be just a stunned silence or big pause and she says "Really??" when I tell her the phone is busy again. So anyway, all this confusion and family there is blowing off the phones I sent, but I am still trying to give daily med minder calls. This and sometimes I think she is just scared and afraid she'll get in trouble with me somehow if she misses an appointment, but I am usually pretty even toned with her and just tell her that's ok if she forgets, she's tired, and that she can just call them and reschedule. I've tried telling her that if their power goes out, the corded phones will still work, that no one can reach them when the phone is busy, asked her what they would do if the cordless phones are dead and the cell phones are dead, how will they call 911 in emergencies? etc, etc.
The next time I go to see them, I'll be plugging the phones into the wall, but that could be more than a month. Now she is talking about sending them back to me. I basically got ordered by sibling to make these med calls and ever since, it is like they are trying to get me to QUIT calling her. the phone being busy all day & night thing has been going on for several years before they both started to decline and I think the only solution is a different phone you can just pick up or hang up - no buttons to confuse. Can anyone think of anything else I can do?