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It is always a struggle
I made sure she had a phone because I have a special needs sister and the staff would dial Mom in the evening so my sister and her could talk (not sure if they are still doing that and need to check). The only # my Mom has is my cell and there are times when I do not answer. I didn't give her other #s because sometimes she calls and forgets and calls back again. If anyone wants to call her, I make sure they have her #. My Mom didn't have a huge network of friends and our family is not that big so calls to her are few. I appreciate your advice.
So sorry that you are the 'bad guy'. I am that for my mother. I moved her this summer to MC and to be honest, she has lost the ability to use the phone though it is still in her room. But long before that I just did not pick up. I have also hung up on her. Know that if there is something important, the staff will call you. This is terribly hard to do to your own mother and it is heart wrenching.
I do check her voice mails and they are all spam. Recently I disconnected the actual phone (service is still on) because she remembers her SSN and could give it out to a spammer.
After moving mom I met one of the aids in the grocery store one day and told her that I do not visit mom often because she gets upset because she wants to leave. The aid responded... "they all want to leave. It's so normal for them to want to leave and they can't help it." Though it did not make me feel better at the time, I realized that she was helping me to see that I can't control this for mom. And the aid added, "When they come behind those doors there is a reason and they need the care we give them here." And that did help.
Give yourself a break and understand that you can't 'fix' this one.
I agree that having prepared comments on hand can be helpful. If my LO had a problem, but, couldn't really say what it was, I would tell her that I had already solved it, the paperwork was in the mail, phone call made, things were in the works, etc. That brought her much relief and we could celebrate with her favorite snacks. She was so relieved, of course, this must be repeated as needed.
But, if she were very distraught, crying, yelling, as you describe, I'd have her evaluated by her doctor or a geriatric psychiatrist for anxiety, depression, etc. Sometimes medication can really help with that and can bring relief from mental anguish. It has to be painful for them to be that irritated. My LO would cry and worry a lot and the daily meds were very helpful and brought her a lot of contentment. Xanax, Ativan, etc. really didn't do much for her, but, another med did.