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Allow me to explain...
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When I initially moved Dad to Independent Living, I made a "special button" for his phone which speed dials my cell phone. He took this same phone with him to the Assisted Living side, BUT... I think I've created a monster.
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I get calls from Dad in the middle of the night because his TV is broken (translation: he's hit the wrong button on the remote and the cable is locked up) or he can't breathe, or he's scared... the list goes on.
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When this happens, I usually end up calling the ALF desk to try to get them to check on him. It's a toss up if anyone answers the phone or lately, since they've been having phone issues, if the call will even go through. As a result, I usually end up having to get out of bed and tend to him because he won't ask the staff.
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It's interesting that he doesn't want to "be a nuisance" or "bother the staff" yet he has no problems calling me repeatedly in the middle of the night to do things that I pay a pretty penny for others to do. Nevertheless, it's not their fault that they don't know what's going on because he's not telling them.
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To make matters worse, he will NOT use the pull cords in his room. This would be the best option because it sends the staff a radio alert, so if they are away from the phone or the desk, they know he needs something.
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So, I'm thinking of removing the "special button" from his phone that calls me. Is that cruel?
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My though process is that maybe if he's strongly encouraged to use the staff more, he will lay off me.
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Now, can ANYONE offer suggestions on how I can get Dad to use the pull cord? His breathing is getting REALLY bad now, and walking in his room is getting tougher. I'm worried about him falling at night in his effort to "go down to the desk".

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Great feedback. Glad you shared and educated us. Sounds like you are supporting your father well and my thought is since he is in assisted living where I would hope care makes their continual rounds of caregiving, the main stressors are covering the gaps, which is just as important. If he was at home, you will have to cover the gaps and everything else. Good job!
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Tinyblu, I use to worry if I didn't answer the phone it would be the senior living facility calling saying Dad is on his way to the ER. Oh how I would panic when I saw the caller ID, I was to a point where I could barely talk.

Here in my State, such facilities need to call the POA or whomever to say their love one had fallen. At least where Dad was living they would wait until a decent time to call. Mom's long-term-care would call me when ever it happened, even at 2 in the morning.
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...and this is a landline phone. Dad can't see to operate a cell phone. It's just a special phone that has 8 picture buttons that you can program to call certain numbers. Dad knows mine is the BLUE button (can't distinguish a photo), and it has a special device on it so he can hear it ring and/or speak (I still have to scream for him to hear me).

I was thinking of just taking the blue button away. I do like the idea of making the facility main number a button, but he may run into the same issue I'm having.

The facility has two sides. When you call the main number it connects you to the switchboard on the Independent Living side. They have to patch you through to the Assisted Living side. It's a toss up if you get anyone once connected, and since a bad thunderstorm a couple of weeks ago, they haven't been able to transfer anyone over to the other side.

I recognize there is a boundary issue here, but where's the line? I often fear that the time I don't answer the phone will be when something is REALLY wrong then I'll never forgive myself...
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Thanks everyone. Dad is actually in Assisted Living, and he is already on a sleep aid and two anxiety medications. Sometimes they just don't work and he gets wound up at night. Dad doesn't call anyone else. He only receives incoming calls because he can't see to press the buttons or remember a number for that matter.

I never thought about him not being able to process pulling the cord (sometimes I still think he's just being stubborn).

Dad is just in a weird place. He is what is known as a "high functioning" dementia patient, so I don't think he's quite "sick enough" for a full NH. His breathing is labored, but getting him to wear his oxygen during meal time or when he's in the hall is a futile mission. He's legally blind, but able to operate a mobility scooter without running into anyone, so sometimes I question EVERYTHING.

He's sick, but not sick. Blind but not blind. Cognitively challenged but not fully gone. Just bad enough to cause me mountains of stress.

...and I don't mean to reward bad behavior, but if I can't get someone on the phone at the ALF (they still can't transfer me to that side of the building - phone issues), I get worried.

...and Dad is pretty good at "masking" his issues. The last night incident, he went to the desk and the attendant wasn't there at first. When he found her, he just asked her for a glass of water. He didn't mention that he had been up and about for the last hour and a half "scared to death..."

Struggling to find a middle ground. If I could get the front desk to answer my calls, that may save a trip. Of course, the easiest would for him to pull the stupid cord... don't think that will happen.
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Wow, its amazing how much trouble these phones are becoming. Yep, cell phone. probably should cancel and go landline in the room. Weigh the costs of a landline phone versus a cell phone and add the lack of sleep costs to the equation. He probably didn't use a cell phone most of his life when he was younger anyway, but yea, you want him to call him if he needs you. Makes sense, especially if he can still talk to you well over the phone. Hearing loss, phone, medical issues, not breathing all that well. Sounds like the phone is a nuisance for his health. Good comments by all above.
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Above, I think she says that he was moved from IL to AL in paragraph one. He should have enough supervision in the AL to manage throughout the night.
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My mom would call us when she was in independent Living. We would say "call the staff" and not show up.

Tiny, as mentioned above, you are not going to last long with interrupted sleep. And yes, it DOES sound as though your dad needs a higher level of care.
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This is just a creative thought because I remember my mom losing cognitive skills with her phone. How about changing that special button to call within the facility? My Mom's ALF has all family numbers listed at the central desk so she can go there to call me which is done at the appropriate times of the day. I took my Mom's phone away sometime later because she rarely answered when I called. I now just call the central desk. See if they can accommodate you in the same way
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Tinyblu, I see your Dad is in Independent Living.... have you had a meeting with the Staff to see if maybe your Dad is ready to move over to Assisted Living? The Staff usually can see the forest for the trees.

Thus, once he is moved, you can use a therapeutic fib and tell him that cell phones aren't allowed. In some Assisted Living facilities, they have a landline telephone in the hallway for people to use. I bet at night your Dad wouldn't want to leave his room to go down the hall to make a call.
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If he has cognitive decline or dementia, he won't likely be able to remember to pull the call cord. I used to put big signs in red ink that said PULL THE CORD FOR HELP, but, she could not process it. It just wasn't there. This is why some seniors fall and lay on the floor for hours without pressing an Alert button. They lose the ability to process the action from the brain to the hand.

I'd also suspect that dad doesn't remember that he calls you at night. I'd try to explain to him that the best way to reach you is to alert staff and and not allow him to keep calling.  You won't last long with interrupted sleep.  

You might ask the AL staff to check on him around midnight or so, just to make sure that he's resting. If he's waking up at all hours of the night, maybe, he needs a sleep aid. AND if he is that anxious, I'd discuss medication for anxiety with his doctor.
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Your Dad may need more care then an AL can give. At the AL mom was in the phone was not always manned after hours. Does he really need a phone? Does he call other people? If not, take the phone away. Explain that you can not be at his beck and call. He is paying for the staff to be there for him. You don't say he has Dementia so he should be able to summon an aide.
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Dad calls you in the middle of the night and you go to him. Sounds like you reward the very behavior that you want to stop. How about, "Oh Dad, that's too bad! Pull the red cord next to your bed. No, Dad, it is not a nuisance to them. They have staff to work this shift. Pull the red cord, please."

Is it possible that Dad needs the full supervision of a nursing home?
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I restricted dads cell phone from calling mother (who is in a NH) between 8pm and 7am. You might have your number restricted also, or maybe forwarded to the front desk.
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Tinyblu, does your Dad have a landline connection in his apartment? My Dad had a landline phone and in order to call me at home, Dad would need to remember to dial "9" first, but half the time he would forget, thus he would get a busy signal. Wonder if the facility has that type of system.

As for your Dad to learn to use the pull cord, good luck with that. My Dad didn't want to bother anyone, either. Dad did have an medical alert which he did learn to use if he fell.

Being that your Dad is in Independent Living, does the facility have an option where the Staff would check in on him numerous times during the night? My Dad had that, it was an extra cost, a tad bit costly, but it gave him and me more peace of mind.
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