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My mother will answer any calls from telemarketers trying to sell something. Recently, she bought a subscription for a magazine (that now has to be paid for) and changed her diabetic supplies. She, of course, remembers neither and we argue about it. How do I stop it?

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I've answered this one a time before but it still happens. For months now I just unplug the phone when I'm home. The ONLY ones who ever call are the people trying to sell her diabetic supplies. I have received many meters in the mail that she told them was ok for them to send. So I unplugged. I am on Do Not Call List but that does not keep away these vultures. I could just take out the phone but I don't want to leave mom w/o a phone to call out in emergency. Just yesterday after months of our phone being unplugged, mom plugged it back in. Almost immediately, the 'vultures' called and mom spends minutes giving them information and talking w/them. I have to come out and disconnect again. I will probably expect a new meter in the mail soon.
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My mother has done many of the same things mentioned here. Just wanted to let everyone know that there is a National Do Not Mail List. Go to website: directmail and you can list your preferences as to whether or not you desire to receive catalogs or other mailings. You need to do it regularly though if your parent occasionally gives a donation and gets back on the mailing list!
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Bravo! If only everything were this easy...
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Success! I stopped all of the magazines, took about 6 hours on the computer, but the refunds are pouring in! On the address label, there is an account number. I went to the website for, say, O magazine, and set up access to the account using his information and my email. Voila! Lots of the magazines came from the same publishing house and they show them all, so I was able to cancel four and five at a time. I am still monitoring the mail, the diligence paid off!
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I agree that the registries don't work that well. My dad is hard of hearing and can't get up fast enough to answer the phone. Regarding the mail, I have to grab it before he does, he gets TONS of solicitations for donations (because he was giving them all money before he moved here.) I throw them out before he sees them. Also, we get magazines galore, many are two or three of the same magazine. He always falls for the "your subscription is going to expire, renew now," or buy one subscription get one for a dollar" or whatever. He is actually paid up till 2020 on most of them!! Have tried writing to the subscription departments, but they keep on coming. We have a local only landline for my dad's pacemaker, my husband and I use our cell phones, maybe that idea would work for you? Saves money too!
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I've also learned a lot from these posts! Thank you! I agree that changing the number to an unlisted number will probably help in the short term. Unfortunately, many of the telemarketers, etc. that call simply robotically run through every variation of every phone number imaginable, and they eventually find everyone, even those with unlisted numbers. There ARE ways to block phone numbers, through your phone company I believe. I think it might cost extra, but once they're blocked you don't have to worry about them. You might check with your Mom's phone company about this. Then, if you're there when she answers, you can block the number. If she has caller ID, you might be able to check it at intervals and block those numbers once you know what they're calling about (maybe?). I'm not sure how all that works, but its another possibility. I personally don't answer the phone unless I recognize the number on caller ID; if I get a call from a strange number I look it up online at 800notes. Once I know who the caller is I'm sure never to answer after that.

On another note about elders buying stuff from callers, mail, etc. My grandmother (Dad's mom) also had Alzheimer's. For a number of years she lived on her own with it because the 3 children who lived in the same city and state refused to believe she had AD. "She was just getting old". She ended up spending who knows how much money on magazines and other items from those mailings we all get from the company that sells them (won't name names!) She was sure she was going to win the grand prize. So apparently, every time she got a mailing, she ordered more and more stuff so her name would remain on the potential prize list. Her total income was a small amount of SS. As bad as the no-call list works, I WISH there was a no-mail list also, to keep our elders (and us) from getting all this ridiculous junk mail telling us we're going to get rich by ordering something, etc. In my opinion its just another way of preying on the elderly and uninformed.
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I agree about the DNC Registry. They do not cover the robocalls. I have unplugged the phone often. I have thought of changing her phone number and make it unlisted. Don't know if that will help. I don't want to cut her off from the few family she can call (or call her). But I hear you when you say that your parent feels they MUST answer every call and does not understand the robocall stuff. I tried to explain it to her several times but she will answer it and yell, holler, whistle into the phone several times to try to get an answer. Very frustrating. I think I will change the phone number and make it unlisted even though it costs a little more .to do it
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Is there a way that you could have her phone calls forwarded to your cell phone? That way, you could monitor all calls.
The do not call registry is very ineffective and the number of calls have actually increased.
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I'm not the OP but I want to thank everyone for these great suggestions. My mother expects someone to answer every single phone call. She doesn't understand the concept of robocalls, she has told me more times than I can remember that "the warranty on your car is about to expire!! Someone called me!" AND she is convinced that people from her past are trying to get a hold of her. Which... trust me, they're not.

My mother does the whole thing where she pledges hundreds of dollars to political organizations, but then never pays them. She says that answering the phone is "the only way to get rid of these people".

So most days I just put the ringer on mute or unplug the phone entirely. Sigh.
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My Dad doesn't buy stuff, but he will give money away to any organization that calls and asks (or mails and asks). Sadly, I haven't found the Do Not Call registry to be particularly effective ... nor have solicitors (mail or phone) been particularly responsive to requests that they not contact my Dad and ask for money.

I struggled with what to do about this ...on the one hand, it's absolutely his money to spend as he likes. On the other hand, I know we're looking down the road to expensive, long-term memory care ... and if he goes through everything and has to apply for Medicaid, they will expect us to “repay” all such donations before they’ll start to kick in funding …. so I don't want the money to get flushed away even to reputable organizations (and believe me, a fair number of these are NOT reputable).

I've talked to him about this many times, and every time, he agrees with me that it makes more sense for him to keep an ongoing list of organizations he'd like to support, and that I will give money to these organizations in his name when he has passed away and doesn't need the money himself anymore. Sometimes, this works for a while (we’re in a “golden period” right now where he hasn’t given money away in several months), but sometimes, when the dam goes, it really goes.

Anyway, he also agreed to let me move his phone into my name, which I did a few months ago. If he loses control and starts giving away massive amounts of money again to random organizations that call and ask for it, I now have the ability to simply change his number and get the new one unlisted. If I have to do this, I may not even tell him I've done it .... I know all the doctors, friends, neighbors, and family who would need the new number, and can inform them directly.

Similarly, I have considered having his mail forwarded to a PO Box in my name, just so that I can weed out the junk mail and constant solicitations for money (which, of course, quadrupled once he’d given money to a few of these). I read some articles which said that as my Dad’s POA, I’d be able to arrange to forward his mail to a different address, and I talked to my Dad about it … he actually sounded relieved by the prospect (he hates “processing” his mail, and particularly hates throwing away charitable solicitations, because they all contain stories and pictures that are designed to tug on your heartstrings). I’ve been putting off forwarding his mail so far, but the time may be coming … not because he’s given away a lot of money lately, but because he’s misplacing/forgetting about important mailings (such as from the IRS).

One note that I read said that if you DO end up forwarding a parent’s mail elsewhere, it’s a very good idea to get a dedicated PO Box for this purpose. Don’t just forward it to your own address, or you will be wading through vast amounts of junk mail forever!
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Hi daughter...

Does your Mom live with you, is she in a facility or is she still on her own? If she lives with you, would she actually miss the phone if it was gone? My Dad has (or did have) an obsession with the telephone. He always worried if it was plugged in, was it working (because no one called that day), did it have a dial tone, etc? Over the past year he never answered the phone; he was told never to answer if no one else was at home so he didn't answer...period. But he became so obsessed with the phone that my Mom and I finally gave in and switched to a TracFone. We just had their number ported over. Mom then removed all the landline telephones in the house, even the cords. Dad never even noticed. I guess out of sight, out of mind. You might consider doing this and consider keeping the phone in your pocket when you're at home. It will take a while for telemarketers to start calling. When they do, you can add the number to the contact list and name the caller SPAM, DO NOT ANSWER. Maybe this will work!
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Thanks Eyerishlass. I have tried all 3 suggestions. It actually made me smile when I read your experience with your dad. It is EXACTLY what I go through including snatching the phone when she starts to give out personal information. I unplug the phone when I can and it is quiet until she wants to call someone and plugs it back in. It has slowed things down a little but I can't be there 24 hrs a day to watch her all the time. Right now, I just have to clean up after her by making calls and writing letters to people she has ordered from. It helps in the short term. Thanks for sharing your experience though.
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My dad didn't have dementia but we went through the same thing. I would hear him pick up the phone, I'd mute the tv so I could hear, and I'd hear him begin to give his social security # or otherwise respond to whomever was on the other end of the phone. I'd jump up and actually snatch the phone out of my dad's hand and demand to know to whom I was speaking. I told anyone I spoke to to never, ever call my # again. I also used the National Do Not Call Registry but that only slowed things down as it doesn't pertain to everything. It might actually be easier to avert these situations if someone has dementia by following the above suggestions. My dad had no good reason why he shouldn't answer the phone and neither did I. I begged him to not give out any information to anyone for any reason, that there were people who preyed upon the elderly and he could have his identity stolen very easily. We had to have this talk several times but he got the idea. Back in his day they didn't have to worry about stuff like that, everyone trusted everyone and people left their doors unlocked, blah blah blah. I just ran interference whenever my dad picked up the phone and, poor guy, he got used to having it snatched out of his hand by me.
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First, register with the National Do Not Call Registry -- https://www.donotcall.gov/

Second, turn the ringer off when you are not home.

Third, though you didn't mention it, block the QVC TV channel. :-)
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