We just moved my dad to assisted living. We tried having him live with my sister but he wants constant attention and she works full time from home so it wasn't working.
He's now living by me. I've told him over and over that if he goes downstairs he can meet people and join activities but he doesn't and then calls me multiple times a day because he wants attention.
Does anyone have suggestions on how to deal with this?

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Find Care & Housing
Hi Mel bent,
i have not read the replies yet so forgive me if this has already been suggested. When we moved my mother into assisted living she didn’t participate in any of the activities or even really leave her room. This would be even with caregivers coming to tell her about a super fun thing they were doing or were going to. And my mother was a super social person. I mentioned this to the residence and they said to get her to participate and make friends I really needed to visit her and while visiting take part in the activities and bring her with me to the activities. Again I also needed to actively take part in the activity not just bring her to it and sit on the side lines or leave. While doing the activities I would interact with some of the other residents and those that seemed like people my mother would’ve been friends with years ago (before her dementia) I would try and include them and my mother in a conversation together. This had to be done for a little while (a few weeks and a few visits each week). Eventually she would participate on her own. I would arrive for my visit and she would be with the group from her floor playing a game. For the first few months after she started to participate, when I visited I would try and keep her involved with the activities by participating with her and not go back to her room. After a few weeks she had made « friends » (she had dementia so friendships weren’t exactly the same as they were before her dementia) and even the caregivers knew who they were and would always seat the group of ladies together for meals and activities calling it the « ladies table ».

in my mothers situation the suggestion of me visiting more for a short time frame and including myself in the activités with my mom seemed to help her make friends and be more social and feel like the residence was her home.

i hope this helps.
best of luck!
Helpful Answer (8)
Grandmaofeight Sep 2022
This is exactly what I did with my parents. Once they got over any anxiety they had over meeting new people they became more independent. Sadly Covid hit and my parents health really tanked. Dad passed and Mom is bedridden.
My mom has been in an ALF four months. The first four weeks were super difficult. She liked her room but was afraid if she left she would not find her way back. Of course the staff would assist but she did not know that. Now that time has past, she is still in her room most of the time but has chosen a few activities that she enjoys. She eats in her room but is beginning to talk about making friends and going to the dining room. She will never be the life of the party. She is simple too shy but we are making progress. Give it some time. It is a new environment with new faces. That can be scary for anyone.
Helpful Answer (6)

Speak to the activities Director. Silence your phone when you don't want to engage. Answering is always optional, right?
Helpful Answer (6)

It sounds like on top of being overwhelmed by this new situation, your siblings are now laying a guilt trip on you. Don't fall for it. They are just trying to distract from the fact that they are doing nothing. Send them the address of a hotel close to where your Dad is and tell them to come anytime and resolve the issues.
Helpful Answer (5)

You do not have to answer each call right away. Ask him to always leave you a message because you are working. I had to do the same with my mom. If a message was urgent of course I would call right away.

Ask the activities person at ASL to try and get him to participate a little at a time. Hopefully he will meet some interesting people to be friends with.
Helpful Answer (4)

I saw your reply below about your siblings wanting you to “do something” Next time that’s asked please respond by telling them to feel free to come and do whatever they’d like to do. Don’t accept all responsibility to “do something” just because you’re local. I’d try to take less of the lonely man calls and enlist the activities director where dad lives to recruit him as a helper of sorts. If he can be made to feel useful and needed he’ll ultimately meet people. Even if this or other plans don’t work, know that you can’t be the solution to all issues. He’s going through a big life change and sometimes that just leads to issues we can’t fix
Helpful Answer (4)

Baby steps. Or sneaky steps.

If Dad can openly discuss how hard it is to move, to learn to fit into a new place, he may be open to discussing how he can help himself adjust?

By leaving his room he will interact with others.

By talking to a few new people he can start to sort the nice from the silly, the interesting from the bores.

What's he got to lose?

Although I get that small talk can be torture for some.. if that's him then a structured activity will be better.

He can take it slow, but set himself a goal: eg find out what's on, then attend ONE activity this week.

If he is willing (even a bit) but initiation skills to arrange/act are low, engage the Activities Director as other have said. This person is basically a *social engineer* & a good one can find out his interests so to set him up with some appropriate groups. It may take a few to trial.

When volunteering at a NH (pre-Covid days, sigh) there were many groups on offer. A small men's group where the newspaper was read out & discussed really impressed me. What I called the 'bright ladies' in their costume jewels & lippy were arranging flowers... The 'jocks' went playing carpet bowls...

These groups were all managed & directed by staff, as was needed at this NH stage. AL may be more self-directed?

That's where the stealth comes in. If Dad can't initiate, a little arranging behind the scenes may really help.

I spent some time just sitting with a new resident in the garden. She did not want to interact with others, was angry at being there really. Was grieving the loss of her house & belongings very deeply. But I think she quietly enjoyed seeing other people enjoying the garden. She returned their 'hello' but nothing more. We talked about adjusting to change. About what she could change to improve things. Eg label her clothes to help prevent items getting lost. About things to consider eg eating with others instead of alone in her room.
I hoped in a week or two she might engage a bit more.

Best wishes for you & your Dad as this adjustment is made.
Helpful Answer (4)

My mom is in SNF and after 1 1/2 years prefers to stay to herself in her room where she takes all meals, does PT and on occasion ventures out to do a group activity. So, my advice is to find things that your dad could do in his room, i.e. listen to music, radio talk shows, TV programs, color, read, etc. and then when he feels comfortable with that environment, perhaps he will venture out for some group activities or to meet with a friend or to interact with the staff. The staff enjoys talking and joking with mom and she is building relationships with them. Mom was calling me multiple times each day to once a day and now even less, basically to complain and/or gain attention. I had to play the "tough love" card and let it go to answering machine and would return the call at my convenience. The staff would most likely agree that he is still relying on you and will find it harder to let go and adapt to his new surroundings if you are available all the time. This may seem harsh, but believe me, one can burn out after not having enough of time for partner, family, work, friends, hobbies and downtime. Hugs and good luck!
Helpful Answer (4)

It makes things harder for you b/c dad is calling your siblings up North making it seem like he's living in pure misery, making THEM call YOU expecting you to drop everything to 'fix' the 'urgent' situation which is anything BUT urgent. Right? This is known as Exaggeration by Dad to Make Things Look Worse than they Are a/k/a The Sympathy Ploy. Maybe the kids up North will take pity on me and come get me outta here, thinks dad! Meanwhile, they're all nerved up b/c of those phone calls thinking YOU did something 'foolish' by getting dad involved in a senior day camp situation which is the perfect set up FOR a guy like this, in reality. He's an attention hound, as evidenced by the tricks he pulled while living with your sister, and now with the tricks he's pulling with the sibs up North. He's vying for attention yet again, that's all he's doing, as you said yourself.

First and foremost, let your Northern siblings know what's going on with dad; that's he's out of control with wanting attention 24/7 which is why sister #1 couldn't deal with him in the FIRST place. And why he's in AL now. If they'd like to come for a visit to see for themselves that he's fine, go for it. But otherwise, you have enough on your plate dealing with his phone calls, so please don't burden you down with THEIR phone calls in addition. All is well and please give dad a chance to acclimate. Soon he'll be so busy with activities and friends that NONE of us will be able to reach him!

Then give dad a chance to acclimate. Call the Activities Director at the ALF and tell her that dad is a little timid & nervous about meeting people, to please help him get OUT and about, mingling and joining in. In my mom's ALF, the AD would come knock on her door every day at a certain time for activities if she wasn't there in the activity room. They didn't want residents hibernating in their rooms, or eating meals in their rooms either, so they discouraged it. In fact, the ALF would charge $6 per meal for 'room service' for every meal they requested in their room above and beyond 6 per month. That got the residents OUT into the dining room on a daily basis!! If you go to see dad at the ALF, make sure it's at a time a little before an activity starts, and then you can 'drop him off' at that activity before you leave. Or drop him off at the dining room at a table of other gentlemen before you leave. And check with the AD if there's a card game going on with the men and at what time and day it happens. My dad enjoyed playing cards 'with the guys' at the ALF and getting away from my mother and the other yakking ladies at the AL that way~! LOL

Wishing you the best of luck getting others to pay attention to dad so you and your siblings don't have to do so 24/7.
Helpful Answer (4)

Here's an idea. Don't take all of his calls. Let some of them go to voicemail. If you're too sensitive to listen to his messages, you can block the number he calls from so that he cannot leave voicemails on your phone.
I really don't see how this is such a problem that you would have to ask advice on it.

-Don't answer every call.

-Let some go to voicemail.

-Block voicemails being left to your phone from the number he calls from.

He's bored and if you aren't picking up the phone every five minutes he'll start joining in with the activities going on.
Helpful Answer (4)
Isthisrealyreal Sep 2022
This is supposedly a support forum. Why do you degrade people for asking a legitimate question?

Unlike you, most of us didn't do caregiving as a profession, so this is all new.

Show some compassion.
See 2 more replies
See All Answers
This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Ask a Question
Subscribe to
Our Newsletter