Hi Rachael! My question has to do with a fixation my mother has on her priest! She calls his phone and leaves messages for him and every time the phone rings and she misses it, she thinks it's him calling and calls him back! She even calls the Church office and leaves messages with the secretary! The priest and I have discussed this because he was worried I would think ill of him! I assured him I understand it is her. What can I do to get her to stop calling him constantly?

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This is an interesting situation! My first and most immediate thought is this: restrict her phone access. You don’t have to do this in a mean way, either. You could tell her the phone is broken and you’re fixing it, so she can call later. It sounds like her memory is poor enough that you can keep using this excuse. Also: maybe have him call and leave a voicemail that she can continue to listen to. He can say, “Don’t call me back right away, I’ll be gone until tomorrow, call me then.” You could also just restrict her phone access by making a certain time for calling him. “He’s busy right now, let’s call at 3:00.”

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Rachael Wonderlin is an internationally-recognized dementia care expert and consultant. She has a Master’s in Gerontology and is the author of three published books with Johns Hopkins University Press. Rachael owns Dementia By Day, a dementia care consulting and education company.

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