Dementia Confusion and the Telephone

As dementia progresses, it can become more difficult for your loved one to use the telephone. Learn how to monitor phone usage, block unwanted calls, and establish boundaries to reduce confusion and protect your loved one from scams and fraud.

Dementia Confusion and the Telephone
The Telephone can Trigger Dementia Confusion

Yes, the telephone can cause dementia confusion.  Like most ADLs, using the telephone is rarely a problem for the person with early stage dementia. As the disease progresses, there are a few problems that your family member might encounter… if they has access to a phone.

Over time, the person with dementia calling constantly or a dementia patient calling police occurs frequently.  There are many times when they only remember how to use a landline, not a mobile phone.

Some of these ideas will answer some of your questions (even ones you haven’t thought of yet!)

Be aware of any dementia confusion in using the phone

Do not assume your family member will know how to use a phone correctly. Chances are, they will retain the knowledge and ability about using the telephone… for quite some time. Still, some days you might find your family member a little more confused than usual. It’s during these “down days” that you might need to provide more direct assistance with ADLs. Including using the telephone.

Check the phone bill

As you find your family member lose the ability to perform activities of daily living… you will find what they can do and no longer do.

Using the telephone is a bit different.

Checking the phone bill sometimes reveals the first sign there is a problem.

Some things to look for:

  • Long distance calls that don’t make sense.
  • Not remember making calls. These can be to at any time of day or night.
  • Accepting incoming collect calls from unknown sources or estranged family members.
  • Ordering things they see on TV
  • Making contributions to organizations they have seen ask for donation on TV
  • Becoming a victim of a scam

These are signs that phone monitoring is necessary.

To decrease dementia confusion- Block calls from people you don’t want calling.

Block outgoing calls dementia patients will stop them from making making multiple outgoing calls. The code to block outgoing calls  on cell phones can also be helpful for dementia patients who have difficulty using the phone correctly. By blocking outgoing calls, you can ensure that your family member won't make accidental calls to anyone, and will only be able to receive incoming calls from known contacts.

Finally, if your loved one wears a hearing aid, it's important to make sure that their phone is hearing aid compatible. This will help them avoid confusing conversations due to poor sound quality or muffled audio. By making sure that all these elements are in place, you'll be giving your family member the best chance of having successful conversations without any confusion or distress. ​​​  ​​​​

Ordinary  home phone service may be the best for seniors with dementia versus cordless phones for dementia patients is easier to control what is occuring.

You can block outgoing calls as well as block incoming calls. Cordless phones for dementia patients can get lost, be put in the trash or dropped in the toilet. Land lines may be the same price as a cordless phones for dementia pateints, without the worry of loss or damage.

This is especially important if the your family member with dementia is living alone. This might not be as big a problem if they live with you or if someone else always answers the phone. The elderly, especially those with dementia, are especially vulnerable to fraud. You can contact your phone company… to have telemarketers and sales reps blocked from calling.

Here is a link to the National Do Not Call Registry.

There are people who would be more than glad to separate your elderly family member and their money. Under no circumstance should your family member have to fret over how much to give. Even for the most worthy sounding causes.

Dementia Confusion USe a Raz Memory Cell Phone

Avoid dementia confusion and put a block on who they can call

Blocked calls work both ways. Sometimes it’s not who calls home but who your elderly  family  member calls that could get them in trouble. Dementia affects judgment. Your family member is prone to making emotional decisions. Thus, they might order a product they  just saw on television, even though they might not need it.

Televangelists making a donation pitch, “call now!” product offers. And “free” information or kit offers are enticing to those with dementia.

Avoid dementia confusion. Make the telephone available at certain times of the day

This can be effective for certain people. It is also easier to do at home than in another setting where you have little control over phone use. Some dementia sufferers will call a family member or other known number many times a day.

I know many family caregivers with family members in assisted living. Or the family member is still living independently. The family caregivers complain about getting phone calls every few minutes. Or they have, a family member with dementia, calling the police. To report imagined robberies. Many,  falsely accusing their own family members.  As you could imagine, this is a source of great stress for the family.

Have more questions? Check out the Frequently Asked Question section of the website. You will find a lot of different questions answered directly.

Consider Cell Phones For Seniors or a Flip Phone

Telephones For Seniors with Dementia - Some families chose to remove the landline

This is an option that more families are taking. Especially with the advent of cell phones, many homes are opting to get rid of landlines altogether. This way, the person with dementia does not have access to a phone at all.

The telephone cannot be used to harass the person with dementia. Nor can they over-use the phone to bother others.  All ADLs, including using the telephone, can be managed. Understanding your options and implementing what works best in your situation.

When caring for a loved one with dementia, understanding why they may be using the telephone more than usual can help make daily life easier. People living with dementia may keep calling family and friends in an effort to relieve confusion or anxiety. Phones specifically designed for people with dementia have been developed to address these issues.

For incoming calls

It’s always a good idea to have someone answer the landline phone on behalf of your family member with dementia. You can also set up call forwarding or voicemail for them, so that their friends and family know where to reach out when they need to talk.

If you are using a mobile phone for incoming calls, consider setting it up so it will only accept calls from certain numbers. This is especially helpful if the person with dementia is prone to picking up unknown numbers or unfamiliar voices.

Mobile phones

Unfortunately, many people with dementia find mobile phones confusing. It may be difficult for them to remember how to use specific features, like answering an incoming call or voice messaging. If your family member is confused by mobile phones, it is best to stick to landlines.

Whatever phone option you decide to use with your family member, the key is communication and understanding. Don’t forget that dementia confusion can be a difficult experience for everyone involved. Be sure to give yourself and your loved one plenty of patience, love, and grace during these trying times. With the right approach, landlines or mobile phones can provide peace of mind and help maintain meaningful connections for seniors living with dementia.

And remember, a future call can always be planned and scheduled in advance. This will help ensure that your family member with dementia stays connected and engaged with their friends and family.

Best Phones for Alzheimer's Patients or Other Types of Dementia

One example of phones for dementia patients is the Roz Memory Cell Phone. It's designed to give people with dementia an easier way to make and receive calls, providing both convenience and peace of mind. The Roz Memory Cell Phone comes preloaded with contacts, so all your loved one needs to do is press a button to call someone they know. It also has an emergency button that calls emergency services with one press. With Roz Memory Cell phones, dementia patients can stay connected with people they care about in a simpler and more secure way.

Best Cell Phones 

Ultimately, understanding why people living with dementia may be using phones more frequently can help you take steps to ensure their safety and well-being. Phones designed specifically for people with dementia, like the Roz Memory Cell Phone, can provide a convenient and secure way for them to stay connected with their loved ones. This is a senior cell phone with picture dialing.

Best Phones For Alzheimers Patients

If you’re looking for other phones designed specifically for people with dementia, there are many options available. The ClarityLife Phone is a simple-to-use phone that has large buttons and clear sound, making it easier to use for those who may be hearing impaired or have difficulty seeing small phones. The SureCall Memory Cell Phone also features large buttons and comes preloaded with contacts of up to 20 family members and friends.

Many of these cell phones can help provide stability and security for loved ones living with dementia. They offer an easy way to stay connected while reducing confusion and stress associated with using everyday cell phones. With the right phones in place, families can enjoy peace of mind knowing their loved one is safe and connected when they can’t be there. They can limit incoming calls for those suffering with memory loss.

It can be difficult to watch a loved one living with dementia struggle to use phones and other everyday items. With the right phones in place, however, families can feel confident their loved one is safe and connected when they can’t be there. Understanding why phones may be used more frequently by individuals living with dementia can help caregivers take steps to ensure their safety and well-being. Phones specifically designed for people with dementia provide an easy and secure way for them to stay connected with their loved ones.

Funny that this has become my most popular image on Unsplash, as it’s not really my style of shot. Our office had gone out on an excursion to the Broad Museum and I was just shooting around while we were waiting on lunch at Blue Cow across the street. When I saw the shot I asked the coworker featured, Olivia, if she’d be okay with the image going up for the world to use. She thought it sounded funny, so she signed the release and didn’t think twice about it. If you do an image search, you can see it’s been used over a hundred times for articles - almost always on the topic of social media.
Best Cell Phone For Alzheimer Patients

Picture Phones for Dementia

The best cell phone for alzheimer patients  is a picture phone. These phones display pictures instead of numbers, which makes it easier for people with dementia to make and receive calls. Picture phones have large icons that can be easily recognized by those with memory problems.

Worried about emergency calls? In case of emergencies, there are also specialty cell phones designed specifically for dementia patients. These types of phones come equipped with pre-programmed emergency contacts that your loved one can call if they feel scared or confused. You may want to consider one of these specialized phones in order to ensure your family member's safety. There are several flip phone s that may be used by a senior with memory loss in the middle stages of dementia.

No matter what type of phone you decide on, make sure that your family member has access to it at all times—especially when they are away from home or living alone. This will help them stay connected, even if they can't remember how to use the phone.

Finally, make sure your loved one knows who to call in case of an emergency. Set up specific numbers for them to dial in times of need, such as a family member or a caregiver. This will help ensure that there is someone available to provide any necessary support.

By finding the best cell phone for alzheimer patient, setting up emergency contacts, and ensuring that your family member has access to their phone at all times – you can help reduce some of the confusion and stress associated with dementia and telephones. With the right tools in place, you can give your family member the best chance at staying safe and connected!  ​​​​

Do you need help caring for a loved one?

Our Resource section can help you find the information and tools that you need. We have courses, videos, checklists, guidebooks, cheat sheets, how-to guides and more.

You can get started by clicking on the link below. We know that taking care of a loved one is hard work, but with our help you can get the support that you need.

Click here to go to Resource Section now!

Dementia confusion can be increased when:

A family member sundowns

Or,  when loud unexpected noises, such as a ring on the phone,  causes a distraction. It can lead to a negative behavior, such as stopping eating, or even a catastrophic reaction.

Here are some other tips that you may find useful when providing ADL’s :

Have a story about your caregiving journey? Would like to share here? Help others realize that they are not alone. Submit Your Caregiver Story

You might also like this article:

Happy Mother’s Day to Caregivers and Mothers | Diane Carbo
Happy Mother’s Day to all the special women who provide care for their mothers or others. As unpaid caregivers, they show incredible strength and dedication in their important work. Let’s recognize and support these caregivers on this special day.