What can I do if my mother's Alzheimer's care facility won't let me speak to her by phone?

1 answer | Last updated: Mar 28, 2016
Kristin duerr asked...

What if the care facility and certain members of the family think it best that you don't contact the person with Alzheimer's? I live very far away from my parent who is in a Alzheimer care facility. Her private phone is out of order and I have been told to call a main line to contact her during specific hours. The caregivers do not want to draw attention to the telephone in her room since recently it has caused her to become agitated. I am frustrated because I cannot contact her privately for the first time. I understand it is for her good but I want to communicate as much as I can with her before her illness progresses and she will not recognize my voice.

Expert Answers

A social worker and geriatric consultant who specializes in dementia care, Joyce Simard is based in Land O' Lakes, Florida, and in Prague. She is a well-known speaker and has written two books, one focusing on end-of-life care and the other, entitled The Magic Tape Recorder, explaining aging, memory loss, and how children can be helpers to their elders.

I'm sure that this new "rule"  regarding phone conversations is upsetting to you.  have you spoken to the unit director and asked her for other alternatives?  If the phone is still in the room is it only your call that upsets her?  I would think they would remove the phone although it is a "resident right" violation if they remove it against her will.  An alternative would be to set times when you can call and she is in some office where she can talk in privacy.  Perhaps a staff person could be in the room when you call or you could call the nurses station and ask if your mother is in her room and if she is could a staff person be with her when you call.  Usually by being creative you can solve problems staff and families working together. 

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