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My 91 year old Grandmother has recently started having delusions that her neighbors are after her and are starting fires in the middle of the night on her roof. She is under doctors' care, who haven't been able to diagnose her yet (this is all still very new). She calls 911 and the fire dept at least 2x a week... I've tried to tell them not to come, but they come and they are angry! This has been going on for 5 months. They keep telling us to put her in a home WELL, IT'S NOT THEIR G'MA AND THEY ARE NOT MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS SO THEIR OPINION is based on them being "put out". She has nighttime care so she's not scared. She still pays her bills, baths, laundry, cleans house, emails me, etc. and does not want a "baby sitter" during the day, which I understand AND respect. But.... I don't know how to keep her from calling 911... Any advise is appreciated!

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Cinders . First of all it's none of the EMTs business where your Gma should be living. A solution suggested previously is to contact the fire dept and tell them about the problem and request you be notified whenever she calls them.

Huge Mom calling twice in a year for legitimate reasons is not a reason to institutionalize your hubby. If you are calling for something like help getting hubby off the floor and he does not need transporting then naturally you will be charged for that call as you probably will when he does need transporting depending on your insurance.
As a hospice nurse I had called them many times when a patient fell or got stuck on the toilet or even just to move them to a hospital bed in another part of the house. i even called the police once to see if they had a key to an apartment building because the patient was too sick to ring me in. They did not have a key but the fire dept across the street did and an officer got the key and let me in. He offered to come in with me to help. Many of our emergency services in this rural area have lots of volunteers who monitor their radios even if they are not called. It was therefor not unusual to find volunteers living close by to be already at the house long before the ambulance turned up. if i got a young crew who www arrogent and it did happen, Ijust put on my best Gma face and said in a strong British accent that would have done her majesty proud. "Young man I am old enough to be your grandma now just get on and do what you are told " For some reason EMTs seem to think they know more than RNs.

Huge Mom as far as getting hubby into care, I am sure you have thought of everything you can think of. Does he already have medicaid? Next time you can get him to an emergency room tell them you can no longer care for him. Now I know you are a big lady so be prepared to stand firm while young girls in seasonally themed scrubs yell and scream and tell you you can't do that. It will be likely to get quite nasty and you will be upset but stand your ground. If hubby actually has something that requires admission for at least three days he may be able to go for rehab and you can take it from there. Make sure he is actually admitted and not just kept under "observation" which is another trick they have up their sleeves. It won't be easy but it can be done without standing on a street corner holding a red flashlight and wearing a mini skirt.
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Cinders, I understand how you feel about the emergency services telling you to put your grandma in a home. This past January, after months and months of dealing with my husband’s issues, I finally called 9-1~1 when he couldn’t get out of a chair. This was the second time I had called in a year. The first time he actually collapsed. The first crew was really nice and one firemedic told me to call any time I needed them. This last time, the crew was younger and they brought their captain with them. The young guys were definitely put out and the captain was abrupt and curt with me. He, like with your grandma, also told me hubby needed to be in a home. That’s easy for him to say. I know hubby should be in a home. And what do I pay for it with, my looks? He was about as compassionate as a desert cactus.

I know you feel you have to, on some level, defend Grandma. It’s hard to see someone you love acting like this. But also, Grandma cannot continue taking the emergency services away when someone might truly need them. What does the aide do when she calls? Is the aide trained to deal with her delusions? Maybe talk to Grandma when she’s having a good day and tell her to call a family member. You can’t take her phone away. My mom called 9-1-1 three times in a week. That’s when I knew something was wrong and I kept after the doctors until they got it together and she was diagnosed with dementia and placed in a home. I know this is very hard to accept. Part of you is saying something is wrong and part of you is saying no way, she’s my grandma. I hope it all works out for you and your grandma soon.
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It's ok, Cinders, this is all very exhausting for all of us...this site is wonderful and I get alot of comfort from hearing all sorts of answers to questions I've had; or situations. We are all here for one another; dealing with someone whether it be family or friends with Alzheimers, dementia, etc has made me go thru all of the emotions of which we all have; you are not alone. I've had good/bad days and we just have to make the best of them...even if you have to deal with the cops/fire dept. I understand where they are coming from, but on the other side of the coin they should see what we are dealing with knowing it's not what is intended...it's an awful side effect and everyone handles it as best they can. If it happens too often, perhaps it is time to put your loved one into a facility then...I know, it's a hard decision but then it's the best for all...hang in there, come back onto this site for encouragement and experienced advice...take it or leave it, do with it what you want but we are all here for one another....peace :)
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Hi CRXPanda
Sorry I said G'ma when you were speaking of your mom. How is she? Have you heard anything since she was taken for evaluation?
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Let EMS get mad at her and report of APS that she is an adult without enough supervision. that will get you help!
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CRXPanda, having your Gma Baker acted was probably the best thing that could have happened,
disturbing as it probably has been for her.
Often the closest people to a loved one are the last to see that something is actually wrong.
Clearly gma needs to be in a more supervised living arrangement and you made it clear that it could not be with you.
You said she had a night time care giver. If she sleeps all night she is a total waste of money.
She should have a comfortable chair with good lighting close to Mom's door so she can hear when the phone is used.
I know many caregivers have daytime jobs and expect to be able to sleep most of the night. if they need to sleep at night they should find a different type of 2nd job.
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Hi CRXPanda
Sorry about your g'ma. Some will suggest that you start a new thread but it's good that you did a search and have seen some of the responses you were likely to get had you started a new one. Also good for others reading this site to know what might happen.
If your g'ma agrees to take the medication she will be offered, it might help and it might not. How old is she? Does she have other issues? Was she checked for a UTI? She probably will be now. Were you or one of the family able to speak with her the facility where she was taken? Some of her background info might be helpful to them. Let them know about her sight. I hope she gets some help. Come back and let us know how it goes.
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My mom just got Baker Act'ed by the local police for calling 911 on neighbors for doing this and that (in her opinion but not reality). I found this thread searching for what to do. Hopefully they can give her some meds after an evaluation. She has had undiagnosed personality issues all her life. She refuses psych evals. Totally independent, reclusive, and intelligent, just now with her sight deteriorating, she is having more outbursts with people outside our small family than before. We don't/can't live with her, so when she can't get ahold of any of the three of us, she starts calling 911, and 411.
Hope I can find answers here.
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If she is having delusions despite being on 3 medications, she isn't fine no matter what you think. If she keeps calling, eventually she either will be charged and evaluated or the police and fire departments won't come and there will be an actual emergency. They do have the right to be pissed because guess what, time and resources are being wasted. The phone needs to be taken away shortly before supper at the very latest and she needs a geriatric psych evaluation at a minimum.
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Contact the head of the 911 communications center and enter into a discussion about protocol and possible solutions. Make sure that they know that you are working on a permanent solution but in the mean time, see what they can do to ensure her safety while reducing the waste of public safety resources.

My mother recently called 911 when she thought she was alone at home and became confused and scared. I have contemplated taking her phone but in the mean time, I had the 911 Center put a note on our address that they are to call my cell phone if they receive a call from her (she lives in an attached apartment to our house and has her own phone line but same address).

Of course it helped that I am affiliated with the 911 Center so all I had to do was walk in and discuss it with them but you may experience similar success if you have the right approach.
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When my Dad had regular caregivers, they would take notice any time Dad was using the telephone, they would stop what they were doing and from the other room would listen into his conversations... if Dad was giving out personal information, the caregiver would interrupt and ask him who is he talking to.... if something didn't seem right, the caregiver would ask Dad for the phone and the caregiver would be like a detective trying to figure out who is on the other line.
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Many good answers here. Pam pointed out your grandmother needs an evaluation. Despite your assessment she is normal otherwise, indications are she (and your family) are beginning to embark on the adventure of dementia many of us have already experienced.
If she is capable of complete self care, it is would be strange that the only odd behavior she exhibits is the paranoia and calling 911. You might want to delve a little deeper because she probably is not self caring and handling things as well as it appears to you on the surface. She is 91 and dementia symptoms are different in each case.
Before her husband passed Mom's husband (at 85) seemed normal too, then we found out how much money he was sending to different charities he got in the mail, etc.
Mom at 91 seemed to be fine living in a house, on her own. But little by little we began to notice little "quirks". We finally got her to move to AL, and the "quirks" increased with age (writing notes all over the place, moving things around, figuring her checkbook over and over, calling the desk and reporting the housekeeper stole her jewelry, her clothes, her purse. She began to hide her purse and her jewelry.
What I'm saying is, this is the first sign that your family needs to start researching because she will be heading for AL eventually.
Also, if she continues to call 911, there could be consequences, financially for her. It could also mean they will eventually report her to social services to intervene if you don't.
I understand you want her to have her freedom and independence as long as she can, but it is going to mean she needs more oversite from family to protect her.
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Who said it is her civil right to use the phone? If she is not competent to judge a real emergency she should be prevented from calling 911 and other emergency services. Would her doctor write an order barring her from using the phone?
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my grandmother kept calling 911 from the nursing home, they said it was her civil right to use the phone. regardless of whether she was in her right mind or not.
Needless to say I have to do countless cleanup from her calling 911 calling the PD calling lawyers calling Doctors. it would be so simple to just limit her access to the phone. Her dementia has really put a stress on the family everyone is on guard they are going to be accused of something
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pstiegman there is no MD, just a visiting nurse practitioner. She takes all sorts of meds but I know it's not the meds as she's always been like this. I learned to avoid her as much as I could from a very young age. I call her most days and drop by a couple of times a week with treats and berries from the garden. So far she hasn't called me. After 60 years, peace at last!
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Dear Cinders, You are just beginning the journey that others on this site have been on for many years. You will learn a lot here so be patient with others who have a bad night every night. It is not a personal attack on you.
I had a patient who wanted longer hours from her CNA. She enjoyed her company and wanted her to spend time on things other than personal care which was the purpose of her visits. The nursing supervisor denied these requests which angered the patient. On one of my visits when I had fed the dog and cooked a meal, which were not my duties either, I explained to her that if she allowed the aide to even do something like wash her hair she might get more time. It worked and everyone was happy. As the saying goes ' there is more than one way of killing a cat" I have not given you a solution I know, sometimes there just is not one.
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wow, ashlynne, could you have a discussion with her MD and see if medication would help?
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Does she live with you? If she doesn't you have no control over the situation. If she does, take the phone away at supper time. My mother is now in a NH but would call and scream/berate me constantly. Having given up my home, career and my life to care for her for 4 years previously and, having been the subject of her narcissistic, manipulative evil ways for a lifetime, I put my foot down and told her (when she was lucid) that if she ever called me again I would change my # and make it unlisted. That seems to have straightened her out ... for now.
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I agree with macada take her phone away! 911 is for emergencies can totally understand thier anger a real emergency could have been delayed because of her call.
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Cinders, so sorry if I offended you, but consider that after she gets a full evaluation, she will get assistance from county level senior services and referred to a proper inpatient care facility. Her delusions aren't going to get better, they will only get worse, more terrifying to her, more violent outbursts. She really does need a full neuro-psych exam and the emergency responders have to put other life-threatening situations on hold while they race to her house. Please help her before she is in jail instead of a 5150.
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It's okay, Cinders. I checked real quick to see if you were a newcomer. When I saw you were, I just wanted to give you some good advice that was also given to Me.

Your grandmother's problem with calling 911 is because she truly believes she's in trouble. I think Blannie's suggestions might be a good idea to try - that is if you can get her to the doctor so that he can prescribe her medications. And even then, it will be trying to get her to take the meds regularly. BUT, let's take it one step at a time. And do process of eliminations.
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Suggestion is 1 phone in the house and make it cordless. In the evening make sure the care giver has it on her person at all times.. If Your Grandma wants to call ;911 let the care giver pretend she is calling. Then either say they will make you pay/send a car to drive by/they checked already and everything's fine!
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Sorry everyone for being so "touchy", it was a very long night w/ the cops and fire dept! No an excuse, just a fact.
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Thank you Bookluvr! You're right! This is all new to me and it's a fight for her rights w/ everyone I come in contact with. It's even harder b/c she's here in the moment, not fading off somewhere forgetting... she's smart and fun and wonderful, but broken :(
I'm going to tell her she's going to start getting charged... love that idea, hope it works! I doubt it will, but I'm praying!
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I am looking for guidance on a very touchy situation and I am still dealing with a person. Of course I don't want her to continue to call 911 and interfere in any emergency which is why I am asking this question, hoping for helpful suggestions. I think that people are too quick when it comes to the elderly to just spout off quick answers and/or do things that make it "easier" for them. I am dealing with a 91 year old who emails... she researchs all meds on Google before she takes them, she pays her bills, etc. She has a very high IQ and no problems with her memory I cannot just take her phone away just like that. This is not a cut and dry situation, but you offer a cut and dry solution, which of course makes me angry... this whole situation makes me angry... this is new, this is scary and it's difficult when people just give point blank responses. If she had dementia or was forgetful, etc., of course I'd take the phone away....
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Cinders, please be nice. You came here asking for answers. You WILL be getting all kinds of answers from different people with different childhood and from their perspectives. Just because a poster's comments is not what you expected does not mean you can accuse them of treating her like an old crazy lady like the cops do. Taking the phone away was an answer that popped into my head. And I wasn't thinking she's a crazy old lady. I was thinking that one day, when she really really needs emergency help, they will Not Come because they will think it's another false alarm. It's like the story of the boy who cried wolf.

You will receive some very outrageous or off-the-wall answers. Just pick and choose which ones apply. Pstiegman was giving you the worst case scenario. Blannie gave you the most helpful answer. Macada gave you an answer that you didn't want since you've been told this several times - and you were seeking New Answers.

My father has the same problem with the phone. He calls all the time the hospital, the clinic, the home care store, the surveyor, etc... He used to call the 911 operator. Out flew MY "respect your elder" attitude. We got into an argument over the misusing of calling 911. I finally drummed it into his head that as long as he DOES NOT call 911, he will have the phone near his hospital bed. But if I find out he's calling 911, I'm taking the phone away. He has not called 911 since. But his situation is very different from your grandmother.

We each have our way of dealing with those of dementia or senility or whatever is in our situation. Just take the answers that you like and respond. Trust me, you have NOT felt some of the posters here on AC who actually attack you. You will know it when you read it. Then I would say, gloves off and go at that poster.
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Cinders.. if you can't handle the responses without getting angry than don't ask the questions. People's responses are not always going to be what YOU want to hear, they are responding with their opinions. You do not have to follow their advice. I still stand by my original comment and I would take the phone away if it was my own mother. It is not ok to waste valuable time and resources of emergency first responders regardless of what the reason is and if you don't like my response .. too bad!
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BLANNIE, Thank you for your nice response and suggestions! It was very helpful and I felt the care, I appreciate that! I have read about Sundowners, I wish that was what she had! Lols! Her caregiver comes at 7pm to 8'ish am. Her delusions are ongoing and the psychosis meds (3 different ones) haven't seemed to put it on the "back burner" as the psych. had hoped for. Her CT & MRI have come back clear. Her meds are minimal and non-conflicting. She's had full evals and workups from Geri dept and they've concluded she does not have dementia nor Alz, which makes this so difficult b/c she's a very intelligent woman w/ a “glitch”. I was just hoping for some “reasonable” suggestions (which you have given) about her 911 calls without people just chiming in a saying “TAKE THE PHONE AWAY”…. “ PUT HER IN A HOME”… I hate that! I’m dealing with a person whom I love dearly and respect and those short-answer “fix” alls just aren’t helpful in the slightest!


PSTIEGMAN: You shouldn’t even be responding if that is your answer! County 5150 is NO PLACE FOR A 91 YEAR OLD! Shame on you!
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Ask them to charge her and the judge will send her for a full evaluation
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It sounds like your grandmother has Sundowning, which is when folks with dementia get very confused at night. You can google the term and read about it.

Here are some ideas short of taking the phone away. Can your grandmother call you or another family member first, if she's thinking there's something going on at night? Can you reassure her that she's OK and nothing bad is happening? Since you say she has a caregiver at night, is the caregiver aware that she's calling? Can she speak to the fire dept or 911 people to explain that there is nothing going on? Or could the caregiver walk your grandmother outside to see there isn't a fire on the roof?

Or as a last resort, can your grandmother's docs give her some medications so that she sleeps through the night? On the Mayo Clinic site, they mention melatonin as a possible aid to sleep disturbances with people with sundowning.

In most places that I'm aware of, the police/fire departments will start charging people for coming to false calls. If your grandmother is like a lot of older folks and is concerned about money, maybe telling her she'll start being charged for the calls may slow her down if she's able to remember that.
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