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Dad with dementia calling us at night, how can we handle this?

Dad has started calling us multiple times per night because he thinks he is late for an appointment. I tried to explain that it was the middle of the and that he needed to go to bed. He lives in assisted living and usually does very well. I don't want to take his phone away because if something happens he does need to get ahold of us. It scares the daylights out of us when the phone rings in the middle of the night because we think something has happened to him.
Status: Open    Feb 22, 2016 - 01:20 PM

Dementia, Caregiving

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Mar 04, 2016 - 10:48 AM

If you haven’t already done so, I would suggest that you discuss this issue with the manager of the assisted living facility. They should be able to make some suggestions for you, especially if they have expertise with individuals who have dementia. One suggestion might be that the caregivers keep your dad’s phone for him. He can go to them whenever he wants to make a call. Then if he wants to use the phone at night, they can reassure him that he does not have an appointment and delay him from calling until a more appropriate time. If he is calling you at inappropriate times, he may also be calling others. Assisted living facilities usually have a plan of care for each resident. Handling his phone situation would be an appropriate issue for his care plan.
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By usheroes on Jan 07, 2017 - 12:07 PM | Like (0)  |  Report

For my father, we had to take his cell phone away as it is only a click away. He would call me 30 times daily and into the night. For him, it was the first time he's heard from me in a long time. Frustrating for the person who just heard from him 5 minutes ago. My brother and I had a term, "redrum (remember Jack Nicholson in the Shining)?" that I texted him to let him know I was losing it and he needed to call and give me a break.

My brother and I had a landline installed - ON THE WALL. He also installed an in-wall XM radio. It has been a Godsend! A good distraction when he wants to call one of us and it helps him forget. The side desk kind was frustrating for him as the blinking lights confused him and he would dismantle it by the time I got back to his house to take care of him.

When he lost his cell for the umpteenth time, we decided not to renew it. It would frustrate him to no end "looking for it".

To make up for his need to reach out, we make sure we call every hour on the hour. We also have a caregiver come in twice a day, so during that time, he has someone to talk to.
He eventually forgot about the cell, and as long as we keep in touch, A part of his nightly medication is a melatonin, and it does help some with relaxing him so that he can sleep. His doctors have approved of this.

Our situations are not the same, but if you can wear him out during the day, he might be better at finding sleep as a better option than the phone. For us, he is our parent, and a wonderful one at that, and this is just what we have to do to help him. It only take a minute to call and check on him. Dementia is a cruel disease and it takes a lot of patience on our parts and yours. I hope this helps some.

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