• Julie Katz

When older adults call too much

What can you do to prevent constant interruptions

Way, way before caller ID and cordless phones, our phone would ring in the afternoon when I was home from school. My mother would yell, "I know that's Nana. Bring me my coffee." My Nana had Alzheimer's and my mother knew she would be in the phone a long time going over the same thing again and again. Some days she would call constantly.

What can you do, especially if you need to earn a living with a parent who calls too much? Knowing they have an important doctor appointment in two days can result in 48 hours of calls with worries of the weather, parking, your availability, etc.

The first thing to do is to find out the root cause of the constant calls if you do not know already. Boredom? Try to engage that person in social activities like attending programs at a senior center. Forgetting that they called? Check with their health care provider to find the cause and rule out dementia. Anxiety? This could be a sign of dementia or mental illness requiring care or can even be caused by side effects of medicine. Again, check with your doctor.

If you have dealt with the underlying cause and the calls continue, what are some solutions so you can actually do your paid job?

1. Split the responsibility and call them on a regular basis. It doesn't have to be only children who call, grandkids, nieces and nephews or church volunteers can help a few times a week.

2. Set a timer. If the timer rings, they can call you. Set it for times you are certain you can talk, like on your way home. Smart speakers are good for this purpose.

3. Put a note near the phone that instructs them only to call at certain times.

4. If they can text, ask them to do that instead. Then, it is up to you when and how to respond.

4. The Extra Daughter is now offering a phone check in service. We will call your relative daily for ten minutes, up to five days a week. We will chat and report anything of concern to you immediately. This is an economic way to make your relative assured, give them something to look forward to and keep your sanity. Call us today to set up this service: (330) 289-7519.

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