How do I get my father-in-law off the phone?

@nelltx (277)
United States
February 22, 2007 6:16pm CST
My father-in-law is a widow & lives alone. He knows that I am a stay home mom, so he calls me at least once a day. It dosen't bother me that he calls, but it is the fact that he drones on & on about the past, reads me articles in the paper (we live in the same town) and just talks a lot in general. I know that he is lonely & I try to spend time for him, but he just keeps going. I try to say that I have to go, cook dinner, go to the restroom, eat...etc. but he just doesn't get the hint. How can I get him off the phone without hurting his feelings? I don't want to not answer the phone because he may have a medical emergency (he's over 80) or need something important.
3 people like this
10 responses
• Australia
23 Feb 07
We have a comersial her in Australia where they have a cocatoo talking into the phone, all it says when the person on the other end stops to breathe is "oh i know" it is the funniest thing . But thats not what you wanted to hear sorry. Maybe do they have any oldies groups or bowles, you know activities for the oldies. It would help with his boredom and your sanity. He would get to do things and go places with people about the same as him and would have the facilities suited for old people sort of like child care but for oldies, cherish the time you have left and take care of your sanity .
1 person likes this
@nelltx (277)
• United States
23 Feb 07
Sometimes I feel like my life is a TV show. Thanks for caring. His health dosen't allow him to really get out much. His TV & phone are pretty much his entertainment. I know that when he passes I will miss the phone calls, but for now I just have to be there for him.
• Australia
24 Feb 07
I do think that there are places that oldies can go to that they can just sit and talk and watch tv and play board games, more to keep the mind active rather than the body as most old oldies do have health probs , and your right you will miss those phone calls when he does pass. Are you able to bring him to your house for a few hrs a couple of times aweek , that would help him with the company side of things, just a suggestion, best of luck
@Anakata2007 (1789)
• Canada
23 Feb 07
That's a real toughie! I woudl say "get call display and don't answer the phone" but youre right, you kind of have to. What you could do, is when you are on the phone with him, after about 15 minutes, ring your doorbell, and say you have to go because someone is at your door and you will call him back (TOMORROW). He does sound VERY lonely. That really sucks. I'm sorry I can't be more help. My grandfather is like that too, but he has 6 kids that he can call so not one of the kids gets him everyday or antyhing.
1 person likes this
• Canada
23 Feb 07
This is a real toughie. I think I would answer the phone but tell him that I only have 10 minutes because I'm really busy. If he kept going on I would keep interrupting him until he got the hint. Maybe you could visit him or take him out once a week or something, or suggest a group that he could join so he gets out more and make some new friends. I know it's hard for an older person when they're lonely, but sometimes, all it needs is a gentle nudge in the right direction from someone and they're out and about so often that you find they're not in when you call to ask them over for dinner or something lol. I do hope you get this resolved soon.
@cutepenguin (6457)
• Canada
23 Feb 07
I would start baking something when he calls. And then when I needed to take the stuff out of the oven, say that I need to go or the baked goods will burn.
1 person likes this
@mywords18 (647)
• United States
23 Feb 07
hey thats so nice that hez been so friendly and hatts of to you too for coping and been so kind infact being the truth that u are his daughter-in-law but wat i will suggest is why dont u make him stay with u for a while so that he can see how mcuh u had to work and how many things are lined up with his constant talk and if this didnt help just get a codeless or make him call u over ur cell fone which cud keep u mobile and by handfree u can be really handfree.wat say??
1 person likes this
@limosonia1 (1560)
• United States
23 Feb 07
This is going to sound really bad but I have a brother in law that does that. What I do is call myself on the same line after about 10 minutes and then tell him I got to go my husband is on the other line. That usually works. Or when he calls I will start the conversation with hey I answered the phone in the bedroom and only have a couple of minutes because I have something on the stove. Or my personnal favorite oh the kids are crying I got to go see whats going on.
• United States
23 Feb 07
Sound like the real problem is that he just needs something to do. It may not be that he's just lonely, he may need to feel needed. Is there any activities for seniors that he could be involved in now and then like volunteer to read to children or tell stories, be a greeter for Walmart or church. Have coffee with someone or even get him started writing a book. Everyone needs someone to listen to talk with and something to do. It's what keeps our minds sharp.
1 person likes this
@catch_me (930)
• India
23 Feb 07
I know its hard to do so... u can avoid his call by seeing his no.. if you do so continoulsy he will realize tht u r avoiding him.. or while talking wid him just say u have to rwach somwhere urgently n just cut the call..
1 person likes this
@Marie2473 (8523)
• Sweden
23 Feb 07
Why not introduce him to some females his age, or take him to a local thing for older people. he is just lonely and he wants to feel loved like all people do.. I am sure that if he finds some friends that he will stop calling as much =)
1 person likes this
• United States
23 Feb 07
He is lonely. Find him some friends. Find some local events that might be of interest to him. A senior day time bowling league, senior center activities (sometimes they host card games, board games, and even dances), perhaps there are some things through the church. He is in need of some serious social contact. I had to do this with my grandma. Once I got her involved in some activities and she made friends my ear hurt less from being on the phone all day. But you are right you do need to answer the phone not just because it could be an emergency but because someday you could be him all alone in an empty house with the love of your life gone and nothing to do but talk to your one friend.
1 person likes this