Elderly phone issues (texts)

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jphilip
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Elderly phone issues (texts)

Postby jphilip » Tue Feb 11, 2020 7:55 am

Yes - a phone question!

My mom has moderate dementia ( i am a 3/4). Unfortunately, she has "angry dementia" and routinely lashes out saying some incredibly painful stuff. She fell last year, broke a bone in her back, and is now in independent living close to family. She obsesses with going to her home in the country.

One thing she is gifted at, even now, is reading her texts. She keeps on having recurring anger on past events that are documented in her texts. These are like electronic sticky notes. She can be in a great mood, then she will start reading old texts and get furious about her situation all over again. Once she gets mad, she immediately starts texting everyone - we are a very large family. Typically happens at sundown, and we blow it off as part of the condition.

Has anyone had similar issues? I am convinced resetting her phone or at least deleting text threads would immediately improve her attitude. Any thoughts on this issue? At first this idea was a joke, but now I've come to believe it would actually help her, although the ethics of doing this are in my way .

i never allow any negative text exchanges with her and instead speak with her over the phone ( i live in a different state). She forgets our conversations, but at least there is no chance of her getting angry over past conversations.

Thanks
ps - Admins, if this is posted in the wrong location let me know. thx

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Re: Elderly phone issues (texts)

Postby slacker » Tue Feb 11, 2020 9:25 am

jphilip wrote:Has anyone had similar issues? I am convinced resetting her phone or at least deleting text threads would immediately improve her attitude. Any thoughts on this issue? At first this idea was a joke, but now I've come to believe it would actually help her, although the ethics of doing this are in my way .

i never allow any negative text exchanges with her and instead speak with her over the phone ( i live in a different state). She forgets our conversations, but at least there is no chance of her getting angry over past conversations.

ps - Admins, if this is posted in the wrong location let me know. thx


I don't have direct similar experience, but using "redirection" with Alzheimer's folks is often recommended. Getting those unpleasant texts off her phone may be helpful, and I don't see potential for harm at this point. Who is sending these triggering texts? Are they really unpleasant, or is it your mother's interpretation?

PS. The location of this topic is perfect! We don't have a lot of rules here ;)
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jphilip
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Re: Elderly phone issues (texts)

Postby jphilip » Tue Feb 11, 2020 9:49 am

thanks for the reply. Redirection is a big focus and works really well in person, but sad to say...my mom is the culprit on creating the negative texts. She is "self triggered". She gets mad, writes something, then when reading her old texts gets mad all over again....

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Re: Elderly phone issues (texts)

Postby mike » Tue Feb 11, 2020 10:57 am

jphilip wrote:thanks for the reply. Redirection is a big focus and works really well in person, but sad to say...my mom is the culprit on creating the negative texts. She is "self triggered". She gets mad, writes something, then when reading her old texts gets mad all over again....

Can you get hold of her phone and delete the bad texts?
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Re: Elderly phone issues (texts)

Postby NF52 » Tue Feb 11, 2020 1:24 pm

jphilip wrote:thanks for the reply. Redirection is a big focus and works really well in person, but sad to say...my mom is the culprit on creating the negative texts. She is "self triggered". She gets mad, writes something, then when reading her old texts gets mad all over again....
I think that you are acting in a very ethical way to try to reduce your mother's distress. Movies and TV shows warn people when "this content may not be suitable for all viewers"; you're trying to avoid your mom becoming upset from viewing "unsuitable" content.

Here's some thoughts on options; maybe a family meeting could come up with more:

* The family could ask the facility about an alternative routine that she would find soothing. Maybe they have regular evening events she could be prompted to join.

* She could have a music playlist that is on a separate device that she can listen to at night, or a movie channel to watch.

* You could try a "social story", a technique used with people with persistent, intrusive thoughts who have had brain injuries. The social story can be on a desk near where she keeps her phone, and might have a cue to "READ THIS BEFORE TEXTING" It might say something like: " My children and grandchildren and all my family love me very much! They enjoy seeing me and talking to me and (include favorite shared activity like "going for a drive"). They know that I would like to go back to my country home and hope that my back will heal enough to make that possible. In the meantime, they know that I am safe in this community, and have friends here like (name staff and neighbors who have been friendly). If I get confused about anything, I can go to (name a person on staff at sunset) to ask for assistance. Or I can call (name and number of closest relative.) I can wait until tomorrow morning and call them with any issue; tonight they may be asleep or at a school event."

*You can give her lots of family pictures to "scrapbook" in the evenings. Pictures often trigger happy and clear memories, and she may be able to schedule this as an "after dinner" activity to do in a common room, if one is available.

* *Give her a book of cheerful sayings, or pictures of babies or favorite animals as a gift from the family and place a note "The Family's Gift of Funny/Happy Pictures"

Even if none of these works, it sounds like your family understands that these are not her real views. My husband's aunt used to call his mother (her sister) from her nursing home in the evening and complain that she had been moved to Walmart or a funeral home and didn't like it, or that the staff was having sex with each other and thought she didn't know. (This from a 92-year old virgin!) My mother-in-law learned to say; "Don't worry; I'll take care of it in the morning." In the morning his aunt never remembered these conversations and was perfectly happy.

Your mother would not want you to worry about her; her brain is just trying to tell a coherent story about her situation with some missing pieces of information. Please know that this will probably pass and she will again be only pleased to have all of you in her life.
4/4 and still an optimist!


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