Monthly rent in senior living doesn’t usually include phone service. Residents decide if they want a phone and the extra expense. If so, they’re free to choose a regular landline, cell phone, or both.
But some older adults use their phone inappropriately.
Then families struggle about what to do. It’s a difficult conversation. And it’s not always easy to decide what actions to take.
What does it mean to misuse a phone?
#1 Elderly mom calls too often
Laura’s mother lives in assisted living.
Now she calls whenever she feels staff aren’t helping her. Sometimes as much as 10 times a day. If staff don’t respond to call-bell within a minute, she thinks no one will respond. So, she calls Laura.
Mom calls day and night saying she’s in trouble, that she’s dying, and blaming Laura for never visiting.
#2 Dad calls friends and family, falsely accuses son
Jeff’s dad also lives in assisted living. He accuses Jeff of being bossy and controlling his life. Dad spends his day calling relatives and friends, telling them that Jeff is stealing all his money.
#3 Dad lost thousands falling for marketing and scam calls
Bob’s dad has spent thousands on TV shopping. He’s also fallen for marketing scam calls. He gives out personal info to callers. Bob has closed all the credit card accounts and limited his dad’s access to money. His dad is angry and accuses Bob of controlling his life.
#4 Mom calls 911 too many times
Jan’s mom has dementia which has exacerbated her negative personality. She calls and leaves hurtful, nasty messages for Jan. Mom accuses Jan and her caregivers of terrible behavior. She’s even called 911 several times.
What can you do when elders misuse their phones?
So, what options do families have? What is loving, respectful AND in everyone’s best interest?
Having a phone almost seems like a “right.” And, most of us hesitate taking away a parent’s freedom. Or be accused of isolating them.
Most of us don’t want to destroy our relationship with a loved one.
Here’s a list of ideas that other families have found helpful. Each situation is different so there’s no one answer.
Checklist of things to try:
Hopefully, you aren’t facing any issues with your elderly loved one misusing their telephone. But if you are, or will in the future, we hope these ideas help.
Comment below and share your experience.