Bob DeMarco Alzheimer's Reading Room

Sunday, January 22, 2012

How to Deal with the Telephone and Doorbell?


When anyone rings the doorbell, he invites them right into the house!

By Bob DeMarco
Alzheimer's Reading Room

Under the article, Are People Living with Dementia Being Conned Out of Billions of Dollars in the United States and Around the World?, our reader Betty wrote and asked:
My caregiver that stays with my husband, Jim, when I have to be away from home told me that Jim always wants to answer the telephone while she's here. If she tries to get it, he gets angry. Occasionally strange charities call wanting donations. So, I told her to take the phone off the hook while I'm gone from now on. If she and I need to talk, we'll use our cell phones.

I still haven't decided how to solve the door problem. When anyone rings the doorbell, he invites them right into the house! Any suggestions?

Please add your advice and suggestions in the Add New Comment box under this article.

I had the same problem that Betty is describing with the telephone.

Dotty would get all confused, and often bent out of shape, when someone called and started asking her question or for money.

Sometimes she would answer the phone and take a message for me. Even if she wrote it down, she would put it in an illogical place and I wouldn't see it. Ever been asked this?

Why didn't you call me back?

Sometimes when I would answer the phone and tell someone we are not interested, Dotty would get bent out of shape. She would often conclude, I was up to something. Something like putting her away in a "home."

To solve this problem, the first thing I did was reduce the number of phones from five to two.

 One is behind my computer, the other one is in my bedroom. At first Dotty couldn't understand why we didn't get any calls. After a while she got use to it.

Dotty can't hear the phone ring, and she can't grab it before I get to it. Result, she no longer "gets bent out of shape". With the phone you can use this approach, out of sight, out of mind.

The next thing I did was enter our phone number into the National Do Not Call Registry. To register your phone number go here. It works and is very effective. You will stop getting calls from sales people.

You can also file a complaint, or get additional information here.

I would try disabling the doorbell and would ask friends to call before they come over. A note on the door about "no solicitation" might also help.

Fire away folks.

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