Phones in nursing home. Anything else I can do?

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I think it would help for my aunt to have a phone in her room in the nursing home so she could call me. But she has pretty severe dementia. She now keeps trying to leave the home. They call me which is just fine with me and I can talk her down. She asks for a phone to call me but she doesn't have the ability to make the call. I don't know what to do. I think if I put a phone in the room she will misdial all sorts of people or call 911. I can't visit her every day because I am not well myself--I go at least one to 2 times a week. The nursing home is ok with calling me and handing her a phone to talk a bit whenever this happens which is about once a week. If I get her a cell phone it will be lost and she won't be able to figure it out anyway. Is there anything else I can do or is this just the new normal and we slug it through.

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Yes. Go to the store on alz.org. They have special adaptive phones where you just have to press a button with your picture (which you would add) and the phone will dial you. There are also phone that only receive incoming calls. You could get her one of those and call it every day. I love an easy question! Merry Christmas!
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My mom's facility they have to dial "9" and then the phone number. My mom has a phone with her numbers programmed and a button assigned to me and each of her sisters. That has helped her make phone calls even though she is calling less. That type of phone might stop the 9-1-1 calling.
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My late Aunt would like to call me, but she apparently had trouble dialing the telephone. Finally one fellow from out of state called me, asked me if I was so & so, and said some older lady keeps calling him at such & such number. His number was the same as mine except for the Area Code.....

I apologized saying that was my Aunt who was 99, and I will see what I could do. Then I called my Aunt's son and told him what she was doing. Since then her caregiver would dial the number.
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For my mom her NH had an actual "phone room" adjacent to & in view of the nurses station. And an aide would help residents make calls or find them and bring them to the phone room to receive a call. My aunts NH had one also. I'd bet this is standard for NH. If so, your auntie does not need a phone.

But I do have a suggestion for you - I'm assuming your her DPOA MPOA - I'd try to find out just how soon she is scheduled for her next "care plan" meeting. & move it up. At the CPM you discuss If she could actually leave; what safeguards are there (cameras on all doors); if perhaps a change of medications could help; if she would be better on a locked ward & if NH doesn't have this then how & where to move her. You go to the CPM with your questions & write down the answers - perhaps take some with you to do this. At the end of the meeting, you will be asked to sign off and you can write in things you want addressed for her care. As its in her chart, well... it cares more weight.

CPM are required by Medicare. They can be done by phone. But I found doing them in person really helped as it establishes who you are, who your mom /aunt is and you get to know those in dietary, activities & beyond the nursing staff. I took some sort of goodie - small apples, cookies, those tiny birthday party sherbets - and once everybody knew my moms CPM was coming up, well they came to the meeting. Plus if their eating, they make more time at the meeting. The NH staff is going to be long term relationship & things like this do make a difference to keep it positive.
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Providing a person with severe dementia a cell phone won't likely help. It's likely to get lost, misplaced, borrowed, disappear within 24 hours. The reason she likely keeps asking for a phone is that she forgets that she's already asked many times. It's probably not that she she is insisting, it's that she's forgotten. And she's also forgotten that she doesn't know how to properly use a phone. If she could call, it would be over and over, since she would forget that she just called minutes ago.

Why not call the facility when you are available and ask them to put her on the phone. Of course, she'll likely not remember, but, we have to focus on the moment and for that moment, she's happy to have you on the line.

I would be very concerned about her trying to leave the facility. When my loved one did that in regular AL, they told me that it was NOT something they could handle. Her doctor immediately prescribed a Secure Memory Care facility for her.
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It sounds like the new normal is working for now. There is no point in providing a phone to someone who is not able to use a phone on her own. The NH gets you involved appropriately. It is sad, but I think you just have to slug it through.

Has the NH mentioned anything about a more secure environment for her? Might she be able to actually leave the building on her own, or does she have mobility issues or some other reason she couldn't?
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