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 Just Say No to Cell Phone? 
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Joined: Fri Jan 15, 2010 9:33 pm
Posts: 3406
Location: Vermont
Post Just Say No to Cell Phone?
My dad's cognitive "brightening" is a double edged sword. He often thinks and speaks more clearly, but everything hasn't gotten better, like his emotional state and social appropriateness. So, here's the dilemma - last summer and fall he was calling all of us on his speed dial on his cell phone, morning, noon and night (including 3 am). Sometimes he'd talk, sometimes he wouldn't, and he didn't even know he was calling half the time. It was driving everyone crazy, friends, relatives, the ALF front desk. The phone went through the laundry at the ALF by mistake. At that point his thinking was so unclear I didn't replace it and eventually he forgot about it. Once every few weeks he'd mention he used to have one, or ask where his was. We were able to dodge that for a while.
Now that the Nameda & Aricept are working, he wants his cell phone back. I am trying every way I can not to give him the replacement one because I am sure he will abuse it like he was doing a few months ago. I keep putting him off with various excuses. Today he was so lucid he wanted to know all about the grass cutting schedule at his house, money matters, etc. and he wants his cell phone!
I do not think I can handle him having one again. His friends are thankful too they are not getting the continuous calls like he was doing (27 calls to 3 of us in 2.5 hours one evening). Any suggestions? Lynn


Mon Apr 12, 2010 6:33 pm
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Joined: Sun Oct 04, 2009 10:18 am
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Location: Washington State
Post Cell Phone
Lynn, you have a choice to make. He can't get a cell phone by himself so it is up to you to get one right? You can get him a cell phone and accept the fact that he is going to drive everyone (including you) crazy. Or you can tell him, "I'm not going to do that". He'll probably be furious and will pester you when he sees you but you won't be getting all those calls. Which is the better choice for you?

Yesterday my Mom asked me to give her a knife. I said, "I'm not going to do that, Mom". Sometimes you just gotta take the heat.

Good luck.


Tue Apr 13, 2010 12:08 am
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Joined: Fri Jan 15, 2010 9:33 pm
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Annie, you are right on, as usual. I guess I have to stop feeling guilty about this stuff. He doesn't have the capacity to understand that some of his behavior is inappropriate, like calling people in the middle of the night, or calling dozens of times because he needs someone to get the tv remote that he dropped on the floor. I do feel so bad for him and try to do what I can to make his life more comfortable, but at this stage, there is not much that can be done.
It's amazing how, with the Aricpet and Namenda, he can be so lucid about some things. When he asked about the lawn at his house I didn't have the heart to tell him I had to get a new lawn service because I just can't expect his friends to pick up his gardener, get gas for his mower, take the gardener home (35 mi. roundtrip) once a week. And, for me to be coordinating all that every week from 500 mi. away. So, again, I feel guilty about his poor gardener who really needs the money, and has worked for my dad for 15 years. But, I can't keep all these plates in the air spinning at the same time.
(I'm also contracting 3 different people to do some major work on his house that absolutely has to be done. We have not had good luck with some of the workers in that area, so I have to stay on top of the ones we haven't had experience with.) Thanks Annie, I feel a little less guilty. :?


Tue Apr 13, 2010 8:34 am
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Joined: Wed Dec 30, 2009 1:46 pm
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Location: WA
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It was the most difficult thing for me in this whole situation: Finally admitting that my husband, though lucid at times, was no longer capable of sound decision making and taking charge of things myself, often against his will. Sure, we feel as if we are compromising their self-esteem and trampling on their individual rights as well as reversing the usual family role. But they have a neurodegenerative illness. We have to make the decisions! It gets easier after a while. :)


Tue Apr 13, 2010 9:14 am
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Pat - I did start taking charge last year when I took my dad to the ALF without telling him ahead of time because I knew I'd have an argument and he wouldn't get in the car if he knew where I was taking him. I was so glad he made the decision to move there and I think it was actually a big relief to him in some ways once he made the decision. After that, I was ok with the role reversal thing and making decisons for him, like having to take away the car keys (that was a HUGE one!). It was hard but I got over it.
A counselor at the local memory center whom I see told me that this does get "better" after a while because when the person becomes less cognitive they seem more at peace and there aren't all these issues to deal with. We were just getting into that place when along comes the Namenda and Aricept! I'm glad that my dad can speak and think more clearly some of the time, for sure, but remembering he had a cell phone and all these other details is getting to be a nightmare because he often doesn't like my responses. I feel like I need to say "no" to the cell phone and when he asks my why, how do it say "because you don't behave rationally with it? You abuse it! You have made so many people crazy with your constant calls and middle of the night calls." I just don't know how to get that across without having him feel guilty or like he's a child, even though we know his behavior actually is very childlike? I'll just keep putting him off and maybe tell him the ALF doesn't allow cell phones any more. Or the new construction has made it so it doesn't work in the building any more or something.
Like many things, I'm finding that the truth is something he cannot handle most of the time so I have to make up excuses and try to divert the conversation. We are all amazed at some of the details he is tuned into these days since the new meds. Lynn


Tue Apr 13, 2010 1:22 pm
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My dad asked his friend to get him a cell phone yesterday. He is just not going to give up on this!


Fri Apr 23, 2010 5:31 pm
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I hope you have caller ID. :lol: Actually, it's those 3:00 AM calls that bothered me the most. Can't you tell his 'friend' why he shouldn't have one, or is he a 'co-conspirator'? :wink:


Fri Apr 23, 2010 6:01 pm
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Luckily his friend is as happy that my dad's cell phone went through the washer at the ALF as I have been. But like me, his friend feels guilty lying to him and not letting him have one. His friend and I talk a lot so we always give each other "heads up" on these things. He was calling his friend in the middle of the night too, and sometimes a dozen times an hour. He tells my dad "I'll check into it."
I really do feel guilty about this because it is my dad's connection to the world, but he abused it so badly that I just can't take having him calling me and others all the time. I feel like I am always "on" anyway, and with all those calls it really was a big part of my stress-related health issues. I may blame it on the ALF and say they don't allow phones there now! Nothing like passing the buck, huh? Lynn


Fri Apr 23, 2010 8:49 pm
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Joined: Fri Feb 29, 2008 7:02 am
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Location: MI
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a compromise would be a cell phone with prepaid minutes- ie tracfone
my Mother did well with the aricept and namenda so he may handle it for a while. You could tell him with the new construction it is the only one with good reception. The beauty is with the prepaid you could give him 30 minutes - tell him emergency calls - if he calls all over you only have 30 minutes to put up with- if he handles it he'll have a cell phone. you can increase or decrease his minutes depending how it goes
Sharon

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Sun Apr 25, 2010 9:04 am
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That is a good suggestion. We do have a family plan already, so my dad's replacement phone is sitting here unused and therefore paid for. I could also ask the caregivers to only turn it on an hour a day or something. If they'd do that, we could all handle it. Thanks for the suggestions. Lynn


Sun Apr 25, 2010 9:15 am
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a prepaid allows him control- which is usually what they want

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Sun Apr 25, 2010 9:23 am
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It wouldn't stop him from calling people in the middle of the night but maybe that isn't the problem.


Sun Apr 25, 2010 10:08 am
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if he only has 30 minutes- it will minimize the calls- if he calls in the middle of the night don't put more minutes on it

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Sun Apr 25, 2010 10:46 am
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Post Phone
This response is assuming he can still dial the phone to reach people. My LO lost this ability so early.

Play this out... you get him a phone and put 30 minutes on it and he calls lots of people at night (his pattern) and he uses up the 30 minutes and his phone doesn't work anymore. Best case scenario, he starts pestering you to make his phone work. Worst case scenario, you have to take his phone away in which case you are in a less desirable position than you are in now because it is hard to take something away.

You know him best. Do you really think he isn't going to misuse the phone?


Sun Apr 25, 2010 12:06 pm
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When he had the cell phone he was using it around the clock. There were many middle of the night calls and he usually wouldn't say anything when we answered.
During the day, he'd call several of us constantly for periods of hours.
I'd actually be surprised if he can even hold a cell phone now because he has almost no use of his arms and hands anymore. He'd probably have to have a caregiver dial a cell phone for him, like he does with the land line there. In the past few months (since the demise of the cell phone) he has only initiated a few calls on his own. Usually we call the front desk and ask them to have someone call for him from his room.
I just need to say no even though I'll feel very guilty for doing so! Lynn


Sun Apr 25, 2010 2:56 pm
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