As I posted yesterday Maureen feels that her family don’t know where she is, and that is why she never hears from them. She doesn’t remember that any of them have ever been here. In the last few days we have missed phone calls from family members. It’s possible that our answer phone is not working. When I have mentioned to Maureen that her relatives have called she is reluctant to return their calls. She says she will phone them the later but never does.
It is important to try to bring to an end this breakdown in communication, so that Maureen understands her family still care about her. There seems a fairly simple way forward. It’s clear that using the phone is not easy when you have had stroke, and dementia has followed. I can fully understand why Maureen dreads incoming calls, and is reluctant to make calls: the telephone highlights her poor memory. When callers ask her questions she has to confabulate because she can’t remember how she has been spending her time.
I think there is a way for Maureen to reconnect with her family by using guidelines from the Alzheimer’s Society. They stress the importance of keeping phone calls: short; language simple; only giving positive information; and not asking any questions.
I am going to ask my sister to make a call in the next few days to mention that she is popping up to see us on Saturday. Jill understands dementia well from her involvement with her mum, and brother. We have often discussed the importance of a dementia friendly approach to phone calls. If all goes well I will share our little experiment with the wider family. I’ll keep you posted on how it goes……
Jill: I’ll call you later to suggest a good time to phone. It may well not be today as we’re off to a difficult start as no clothes fit or belong to her!