My mother calls obsessively. Do these calls really help her?

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She calls mostly my brother who is POA. Mom who is now 90 was diagnosed with dementia has been in assisted living for a year and still wants to go home. She also suffers from chronic UTI and has to wear Depends. She has been a widow since 2011. She was not taking care of herself living alone and became unhealthy and really forgetful which is why she is where she is. She refuses to participate in any of the activities at the facility. All she seems to do is sit by the phone and call, up to 20 times in an hour, and say she is going home. My brother calls her every morning, and my sister calls her frequently. Sometimes Mom is positive, sometimes really negative. I think it is Sundowning. I don't call her as often.


My question is, do these calls really help her? She has plenty of visitors that stop and see her, one of her good friends from her home town lives there. Her sister lives in the same town as the facility so Mom is not isolated except in her own mind. She will forget that people come and see her.


She seems OK some of the time, but mostly talking to her and being around her is like a roller coaster ride. I know she can't help it and I love Mom, but it is so hard for me to relate to her.

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Dementia affect people differently.
So know one can truly say that the phone calls doesn't help her. Some people that have memory loss (such as that associated with AD or other Dementia relate disorders) can recognize a friendly voice that allows them to revisit there past, as well as connect with their identity and family. With my mother, I had to constantly play the Gospel music and play reruns of Bonanza, while I was attending to other task.
I was wondering if you have the resources to bring her home and get her a caregiver, or either become her care giver? In this day and age their are so many agency that will pay family members to care for the elderly.

As for the calls, if you have a cell phone or a cordless, you can simply put her on speaker an listen, answer "okay, yes, Uh um, etc.." now and than. You can turn your ringer off when it is not a convenient time, screen your phone and decline when it's her and let her talk to the answering service. But please don't take her phone until it get to the point that she can't use it .

Part of loving her is just being there for her, even if that means at the end of a phone line. Love is sacrificial and unconditional when it comes to those we love . Even though my mother has passed, I still go through the same thing with my 38 year old son and his wife. Both of them constantly call me with their problems, even at 3, 4, 5 am. and neither of them has dementia.
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Reply to BarbaraR2018
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I used to call my mom more often in her AL room. but that was starting back in 2011. I used to call and say HI MOM! she liked to get a call...then she would hand the phone to my dad so I could say hi

my dad is passed now.

and I usually don't call my mom anymore because her dementia is so bad. we cant really carry on a conversation.

I just visit in person now. she still has her phone. i don't remove it yet because to her its still a familiar object. if she started to over-do the phone calling, id have to figure that one out. maybe remove the phone. but we are not at that point yet...
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Reply to wally003
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Just be grateful she's alive. The alternative is pure hell.
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Reply to Fisherman
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wally003 Jul 21, 2018
I'm sorry to read about your loss. missing someone you love & losing your best friend, so hard. I hope you are feeling better soon. are you able to receive any grief counseling?
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HI. Thanks.
Ssorry I was not more clear.

What I meant to ask was does our calling her frequently help my mother or simply trigger and/or allow her to manipulate?
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Reply to sdw360
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Someone said there is a phone u can call them, they can't call you. I am surprised she can still use it. I agree, take it away.
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Reply to JoAnn29
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Have you had mom assessed by a geriatric psychiatrist or other mental health professional? There are meds for the symptoms that often accompany dementia.
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Reply to BarbBrooklyn
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Do they “help” her? Probably not. It’s an obsessive behavior caused by her dementia. When she hangs up, if you ask her who she called she probably wouldn’t remember and deny she called anyone. Wanting to ”go home” is also obsessive. If she could tell you where “home” is, chances are it would be her home as a young girl, as it was in my mom’s case.

If Mom’s incessant calling is becoming difficult for your brother, it’s ok to pull the phone. I did when my mom began to call me repeatedly at 3AM. You can give her a non working phone and she may not know the difference.

This is definitely is a roller coaster disease and is very difficult for everyone to bear.
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Reply to Ahmijoy
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