My Mother won't stop calling me when I'm at work. What do I do?


I don't answer the phone anymore but she fills up my mailbox with her messages. My mother is 90 years old and lives alone. I have told her I would have someone come sit with her in the afternoon but she refuses. I have asked her repeatedly to stop calling me when I am working. She'll get angry and say she'll never call me again. She calls for attention. I understand this but I can't pay attention to her. I have a high stress job and this is making my day worse.

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Everybody here has added something valuable.

My mother had her own phone after she admitted herself to the nursing home where my dad was. While she me called often, as her memory got worse she, too, would to through spurts of calling me repeatedly within a short period of time.

Frequent calls can indicate loneliness, but this wasn't my mother's case - she had as much company as she wanted, plus she talked with a close friend frequently (thus, her own phone). I spent time with her daily and often had just left her when the calls began.

When she was in a repeated calling mindset (generally in the evening while she watched her favorite PBS shows) I tried to be patient and figure out what was going on with her, but I set up my own rules and only answered some calls (once I'd assured myself nothing was wrong). Since she didn't remember how often she'd call, once reassured I'd let a few calls go before answering again. This helped me stay sane and she still was able to talk with me several times in the evening.

Calling you at work is a worse problem, however. The idea of giving her another number to call and blocking her calls from your work phone is good. If you've got a cell phone, give her that number and tell her this is your new "work" number. It is - you work all the time if you're caring for her : )
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Assuming your mom is capable of living alone, she does need to be checked on regularly at the very least. In my opinion to live alone she must be able to prepare or at least recieve and take her meals and mess from a pill box, not wander off, not let strangers in. She needs to have someone drop in on her at least once a week, and needs to be called one to three times a day.
A 90 home alone needs supervision, her abilities can diminish overnight anyway.
If she is capable enough to be home, alright, I would support it. I would get in the habit of a wake up call, a call at the end of the work day and one in the evening. If she does not answer, I would call again and go over. I would block her from calling me during the day....there are apps for that.

Do keep an active eye out 90 is very old to live alone.
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The much bigger question here is, why is your mom who has dementia living alone? Is there a plan to get her into care?

You mom's brain is broken. One of the things that seems to happen to many dementia patients is that they don't get that their action a have any consequences. Your mom sounds like she is past the stage where she can realize that she is causing you more stress on your already stressful job.

Is anxiety and or depression driving this behavior? Has she been seen by a geriatric psychiatrist and evaluated for meds? Post back and let us know how it goes.
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The dementia patient is not "giving" YOU a hard time, they are HAVING a hard time..

Time to either get Mom help at home or involved in her local Elder Care Day program..
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The nonstop calling is one of the first signs that indicated alzheimer's in my mom. She got to the point that she would call three times in five minutes. She did it because she did not remember that she had already called. Check into a day program for your mom so she does not get so lonely and bored without you, or get a caregiver in through the day for her. Do not give her a choice, tell her why, while you can still reason with her. She will not have the ability for long I am afraid.
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Your profile is confusing me. "caring for my mother, living at home"
I gather she is not living at your home?
Have you worked with an elder affairs attorney to get your related documents drawn up and signed.

Do you have a DPOA from her?

Do you have a non business personal phone number to have her call and then have the phone company block her calling your work.
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All of the above is great advice.

When they are calling that often, they don't remember what they doing. This is VERY RISKY. She could also forget she left the bath running, the stove on, the heater on, etc. It's not safe. You or someone should take immediate action.

You need to have yourself or someone go to her house and spend a couple of days observing what she can do for herself. You may be very surprised at what else she's forgetting in her home.

Once she has proper supervision, they can monitor her phone calls. You can get a phone number just for her calls that has a nice voice message by you so that when she calls it, your voice says, "Thanks for calling me mom. I'm tied up at work, but am thinking of you. I love you. Til later," That way she gets to hear your voice and you don't have to get disturbed at work. If there is an emergency, the person caring for your mom can call you on your regular number.
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