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My FIL lives with us and has dementia. He does not wander but is very restless in the home, he refuses to go for outings. His latest thing is calling old friends on his cell phone asking them to come pick him up and take him home (he's lived in the same home for 20 plus years). Obviously, to old friends who haven't seen him in a while it is very distressing to hear this which leads to frantic phone calls to my husband and I to make sure he is ok. He also calls 411 to help him fix his TV (he removed the cords and can't find them). He also calls information to help fix the phone line (the phone line is fine). There has even been a few times he wanted to call 911 because "he was being held against his will." So I'm just wondering if it might be better to disconnect his cell phone altogether. I don't want him to feel we are isolating him and I wouldn't care if he actually kept the phone. And for those that worry he might need it for emergencies I doubt he would have the sense to call 911 if something happened. He is NEVER alone during the week, sometimes alone for an hour or so on the weekends (never at night). I would really appreciate some advice from people who have gone through this dilemma.

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I love that he calls the phone people on his phone to come and fix the phone..!

It won't be so funny if he does start calling 911 (he hasn't so far, is that right?).

I'm sorry that his friends have been upset, but there it is - the ones who matter will understand the background by now. I used to get occasional calls from a gentleman who lived in my neighbourhood and had somehow got hold of my number. I never did find out what his name was - I tried to, because I wanted to alert social services - just that he was lonely and confused. Every couple of sentences he would tell me "I'm a grandpa, you see" as though that explained everything. It was sad, but not a problem.

Who is with him during the day? The ideal answer would be to ensure that he gets enough one to one attention not to think about his phone. It would also be better if whoever is with him kept hold of the phone, and took it to him to receive incoming calls. Could you organise a rota for friends and relations each to call him every so often?
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I’d call the cell provider and see if it can be disabled, but he could still push buttons.
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Me, I would lose it. When he can't find it tell him he must have misplaced it. In my opinion, if a person suffering from Dementia phone calls are bothering others, he shouldn't have a phone. If he is not alone, he doesn't need it.

On my cell only people on my contacts list ring thru. The rest go to VM. You can set up that only certain numbers can be called. I would find out if the 911 is true. 911 would not appreciate him calling for a non emergency thing.
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Could you make the cell phone ‘lost’ or ‘damaged’? Then rather than buy a new one, have a ‘phone time’ once a day when you help him to make a couple of calls. Tell him that the new phones are really confusing to use, and it makes sense for you to help him rather than him go to the trouble of learning all this new technology. A regular ‘phone time’ would mean that he doesn’t feel that you are isolating him for bad behaviour, just helping him keep in touch.
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Problem is, even de-activated cell phones can still connect to 911.

One solution could be to get him a toy cell phone? There are ones that look and sound quite realistic! He may not be advanced enough in his dementia to accept it as real yet.
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dml7874, with dementia there will come a time where Dad-in-law won't remember how to use a cellphone.

I am not familiar with the different types of cellphones [I still use a flip-phone and landlines], maybe you can have the cellphone set up so Dad-in-law can only call out certain telephone numbers and have the other ones blocked.
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