What Happens if a Loved One Repeatedly Calls 911?
The service known as 911 is there to help protect people in emergencies and they don’t take pranks or false calls lightly. While most people know that it is only to be used in an emergency situation, there are times when an elderly person who is suffering from a mental illness, such as dementia, might be calling 911 repeatedly. So what do you do then? How do you handle such a situation without getting frustrated and potentially making things worse? There are a few things you should know if you’re dealing with this type of situation.
First, know that emergency responders will respond, even to non-emergency situations. It’s their job to take any call seriously and respond as if it were an actual threat to a person’s safety. As such, if they are repeatedly getting calls that turn out to be false alarms, they can (and most likely will) be upset. However, as professionals they might be able to help you to get the situation under control by suggesting things you could do to help remedy things.
Secondly, if your loved one is in a state of mind where they are able to understand, sit down with them and have a talk about what’s going on. Let them know that they shouldn’t be calling 911 if it isn’t truly an emergency situation, and that it isn’t fair to those people who might really need help. If they normally have phone privileges, this might be the time when you let them know that if the behavior continues, they will no longer have those privileges afforded to them.
However, be sure to understand that if a situation like this arises, it is entirely possible that your loved one does not realize that he or she is doing this. This can be especially true in the case of someone who suffers from an illness such as dementia. Because of this, always remember to handle the situation as delicately as possible without raising tensions or stress levels between you and your loved one.
Such behavior is serious and may require more options to properly deal with it than you have at your disposal. If you find yourself at a loss for what to do, you can always speak with your loved one’s doctor or care provider to see if any changes can be made to existing medications if they are taking them.
Again, remember that people who are suffering illnesses can’t always control how their minds process things, and therefore, the behavior might seem like a perfectly legitimate response to what they feel is going on around them. As such, it’s important that you handle the situation with love and care, and that you do your best to let them know what’s going on and then come up with a solution to the problem.