Handling repetitive phone calls

My relative keeps phoning me at all times of the day and night asking to go home. I tell them they are at home and they are all right for a while, and then they phone me again – sometimes up to 30 times a day. The repetition of the calls is really difficult to deal with. What should I be saying to them?

Wanting to go home is a common request that people with dementia make. There are various reasons for this: sometimes it is because they feel unsafe or insecure, especially if they are on their own, or sometimes it is because they no longer recognise their surroundings.

This could be a sign that your relative needs more help at home, or a move to group living in a care home setting. Being with others in a supported environment can help with feelings of loneliness and help your relative to feel secure. For other some people, regular help at home or live in care at home can help, as there is someone to check things with and to support them with day to day activities.

It can also be helpful to talk to your relative about their childhood home as this is often the ‘home’ people with dementia are referring to. Looking at photos and talking about their past life can help them. Try to talk about that home in the past tense rather than saying she doesn’t live there any more, as in their world they may be feeling this is where they are.