Mom and her best friend had a disagreement a few months ago and just the other day made ammends. She missed her terribly and I finally got my mom to get the courage and pick up the phone and call her. All went well..Mom was so happy..seemed they were both happily reunited..calling eachother talking it up a storm just like old times. All of a sudden, the best friend tells her last night on the phone that she's calling her too much and from now on to call her just once a day or she will call her. After they hung up Mom was very upset and said to me that she will not call her again. Also, the best friend did not call her today. They generally would start with a good morning call but today nothing. I'm worried about her.. she's been quiet all day and sleepy, picking at her food. I feel awful. 😪

Find Care & Housing
Your mother with dementia doesn't have her social graces intact anymore, most likely, and may be calling her bff entirely too often. It's reasonable that the bff asked her to call once a day. She's overreacting to the friends request, which is typical with dementia. Why do YOU feel awful? Things like this are bound to happen between friends and there's nothing you can do to fix it. I agree it's sad, one of 1000 things that are sad when traveling this journey.

My mother suffered from dementia for 6 years. The histrionics that went on between her and her friends at the AL were unbelievable. Someone was constantly angry and sniping at another, they played musical chairs in the dining room for who was fighting with whom, it was always a giant mess. When elders lose their filter, all hell breaks loose on a constant basis. My mother was always insulted at the slightest thing someone said to her, so I was always trying to talk her off one ledge or another. Unsuccessfully.

Bring mom a milkshake and I'll bet her appetite will come back in a hurry. Sorry you are witnessing the crazy making that happens when dementia sets in.
Helpful Answer (18)
Reply to lealonnie1

This isn't an insult. This is your mother's friend being honest with your mother. And that is a GOOD thing, not a bad one.

Why do you feel so responsible for your mother's happiness and her relationships with her friends? This is really becoming very enmeshed with her own affairs. Your mother's friend has let her know that more than one call per day is more than she wants. I would be the same. Honestly, I greatly dislike the phone.

If your mother is made unhappy by that, then that is just fine.
She is a grown lady who has had a long long life and I would bet that there have been plenty of times she was unhappy with friends in her long past. This feeling now is much like a weather system--it will pass.

Being a friend is being respectful of the feelings, needs and boundaries of one another.
This isn't a tragedy. This is just "life".
I would not question her, bring it up, or even speak of it.
If she asks you what you think tell her that you don't know how or what her friend feels, but it's apparent she doesn't like to talk on the phone for very long. No big deal. IMHO.
Helpful Answer (17)
Reply to AlvaDeer

I would go crazy if my step-mother with dementia called me even once a day, same stuff over and over again, I can't imagine what her friend must be going through, there is only so much that one can talk about.

Why not take your mother to senior day care, she can meet new people and have an assortment to talk to? Seniors need to be with people their own age, isolating her in your/her home is not the answer.

Don't know why you feel awful, it is not your job to try and make her happy, you can't anyway. You cannot live vicariously through her. Not my rules, just how it works.

Live your life, not hers.
Helpful Answer (12)
Reply to MeDolly

Your profile notes your mom has alzheimer's, so she's losing her short term memory, which means she can't imprint a memory of what she's done. She may be calling the friend multiple times a day, not recalling that she's already talked to her. I can't say I blame the friend if she's getting multiple calls, but would hope she could be more understanding. Maybe she can mute your mom's number and call her once a day, as your mom may be past the point of retaining memory of or managing her day's events?
Helpful Answer (11)
Reply to ElizabethY

Have you checked your Mom's call history on her phone to see how often she's calling the friend in a single day?

I agree with others that even once a day is way too much. You're going to now need to help her figure out other activities that she can do.
Helpful Answer (11)
Reply to Geaton777
Report are not responsible for your moms happiness.
Second...your mom has dementia(per your profile), and probably shouldn't be calling anyone more than once a day anyway.
Third...the best friend is probably getting tired of having the same conversations over and over with someone with a broken brain, thus why wanting to limit calls to just once a day.

I have a lot of good friends, but none of them do I want to talk to every single day. Lord have mercy that would drive me crazy.

We all have good days and bad days and your mom is no exception. And with dementia in play there may actually be more bad days ahead, so you need to prepare yourself best you can for this long and difficult journey.
Wishing you and your mom the very best as you travel this road together.
Helpful Answer (10)
Reply to funkygrandma59

I have never ever had a friend or a relation that I phoned every day, even once a day. People have very different habits, but those are mine and they are quite normal.
Helpful Answer (9)
Reply to MargaretMcKen
Fawnby Mar 31, 2024
I haven’t either, Margaret. I’d find it intrusive. My friends are true friends, but we each have our own busy lives and don’t need constant emotional bolstering. I can’t imagine any of us being that needy.
See 3 more replies
Mom will need other hobbies besides calling her friend.

If her short term memory is impaired, she may be over-calling her friend & need supervision & guidence to now use the phone. Eg Agree to call BF on Tuesdays (or whatever day suits both). Mom, you can call BF Tuesday, now lets... distract to something else.

I get your Mom feels sad. Change the topic, distract, look at old photos. Give her a hug.

You can help change Mom's reaction. To help her look forward to the next call rather than get upset over a totally reasonable request.

Do you think it was a reasonable request?

If I was the friend, I'd be arranging ONE day a week to call & blocking the rest of the week.
Helpful Answer (9)
Reply to Beatty

With Dementia, your mother may very well be calling her friend multiple times a day and is probably repeating the same conversations over and over again. Your mother will not remember doing this and will not have be aware of her own repetition. Her friend does not need to justify why she cannot talk so often on the phone. The repetition alone can drive people crazy. The best you can do is find other ways to occupy your mother's time.
Helpful Answer (9)
Reply to RedVanAnnie

Maybe my mom's Alheimer's is different but "having a conversation with her" about this is pointless. Let her vent, be sad and have a conversation with the friend about your mom's situation. Also, ask the friend to decline phone calls if she doesn't want to talk. In my situation my mother has only 2 friends that call and check on her and 1 that visits her. Most people don't know how to handle the argumentative attitudes and just don't want to deal with the sadness of watching their friends lose their minds. As you know, it isn't an easy thing. Although her happiness isn't your "job" I know we all want our parents to be as content as they can be. Try the other suggestions, getting her out or having someone come in and visit, even if you have to pay them. Sometimes people do these for a nominal fee, such as $10 an hour. At one point my mom had a lady recommended by someone in her church to visit her. She came twice a week for 1.5 hours and we paid her $40. It gave her some spending money and was a huge help. They put together puzzles, played simple card games and just chatted. I could say, try not to feel guilty but I think on some level that is part of the process. Praying you find a good solution.
Helpful Answer (8)
Reply to Tresha

See All Answers
Ask a Question
Subscribe to
Our Newsletter