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Keeping Seniors With Dementia Safely Connected by Phone

Updated: Jun 21

teleCalm® Keeps Seniors With Dementia Safely Connected to Their Friends and Families

Many of the 16+ million Americans who have taken care of someone with any type of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease will tell you it's one of the hardest things they’ve ever had to do, despite the rewards of being there for a loved one when they needed it most. There’s an emotional toll from watching a parent, relative, or friend slowly slip away, as well as physical exhaustion from the hypervigilance most of these caregivers develop over time.

Caregivers usually find ways to cope. It could be a little easier to get through the unavoidable tough stuff, though, without everything that can happen when someone with cognitive challenges has access to a phone.

Tavis Schriefer, founding CEO of teleCalm®, has been a caregiver twice. After supporting his mother who had dementia, Tavis channeled his decades of experience working in both telecommunications and consumer electronics to solve a problem that’s proving to be invaluable to people caring for anyone experiencing cognitive decline or impairment.

His Challenges As a Caregiver Were Not Unique

Tavis and his wife were living in the Dallas Fort-Worth area when his mom, who lived in a different suburb, started showing early signs of dementia. Mom moved into the house they rented across the street and their family enjoyed living out their own Everybody Loves Raymond spinoff for a while.

“She lived fairly independently until she couldn’t,” said Tavis.

As his mom’s condition worsened, so did the bills and charges that accumulated when she picked up the phone. “She got a lot of spam calls, but she was also making calls to donate to charities and evangelists on TV and buying things she saw online and on the television,” Tavis said.

Tavis and his wife both spent the early parts of their careers in telecommunications. Now connected to a community of dementia caregivers by way of their experiences caring for Tavis’ mom, they had an intimate understanding of different caregivers’ challenges and needs.

Everyone gets spam calls and calls from telemarketers, but seniors with Alzheimer’s or dementia have a greater risk of fraud. Some seniors make calls to 911, all the time, when there isn’t a good reason or an emergency. Others might call their family members repeatedly in the middle of the night.

“There were some solutions for the spam calls, but no one had a way to restrict outgoing calls. This was needed and no one was doing it.”

It became his next venture.

Creating a Safe Phone Service for Seniors

Tavis founded teleCalm in 2016. It’s a telephone service that helps take unnecessary stress out of senior care, stopping problem calls for those living with cognitive challenges while keeping them connected to their friends and family.

How It Works

teleCalm Caregiver is their flagship home phone service for landlines. Phones are connected to the teleCalm service through an adapter and the service evaluates each incoming and outgoing call, deciding whether the call should be allowed, blocked, or re-routed. It stops 100% of spam and telemarketer calls and lets caregivers manage trusted contacts, quiet hours, and repeat dialing through an app.

72% of all elder financial exploitation comes from calls from legit people that seniors know. They would never be stopped by Truecaller or similar apps,” said Tavis. “teleCalm assumes everyone is a bad guy, unless it’s a “good guy” who’s allowed to call — if they’re not saved as a contact, they go to a caregiver’s voicemail in the app.”

Milestones and Success

teleCalm is now in all 50 states and more than 750 senior living communities. The service has handled more than 11 million calls, and with its beta release of teleCalm Mobile, that number will continue to grow.

In under 8 years, Tavis has taken teleCalm from possibility to profitability and secured multiple patents on the service. It’s a bootstrapping success story with just under $800K of outside capital investments, including equity-free funding awarded by MassChallenge Texas ($100K) as well as non-dilutive financing from Lighter Capital ($240K).

As teleCalm keeps growing, they’re making a notable impact by improving the quality of life for seniors living with cognitive challenges and their families. Lisa, who became a teleCalm customer in 2020, says the service has been a lifesaver. She shares her experience in the video below.

About teleCalm®

Since 2016, the teleCalm® phone service has given family caregivers comfort and peace of mind, while keeping their aging loved ones safely connected with family and friends. teleCalm® stops problem calls for individuals living with Alzheimer’s and other cognitive challenges, both at home and in senior living communities. Learn more at


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