Chrisn
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Can a Pi be used in some way to prevent Dementia sufferers making landline calls to a specific number?

Tue Jul 31, 2018 8:07 pm

My Mum has Dementia and takes great delight in phoning a mail order company and ordering things she cant afford.
We have tried reasoning with her but that doesn't seem to work. Also she doesn't always remember what she has ordered.

My sister and I have Financial Power of Attorney and have requested that the mail order company do not progress an order until we authorise it, but mum just keeps phoning them and pestering them about where is her delivery, and following a recent incident it looks like they may just disregard that agreement.
To make matters worse the company use a higher cost phone number. so that is running up costs as well
My simple plan is stop her being able to phone them and go back to the old style posted order with a cheque as this allows us to check what she is ordering and that she can afford it.

I have looked into BTs call barring but there is no option to block these phone numbers, partly because my sister lives abroad so we have to be able to make international calls

I have an old Pi ( but would consider getting a new one ) that I wondered if it could somehow be built into a device that detects the number being dialled and allows some numbers through and would block certain numbers from being dialled.

Any ideas greatly appreciated

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DougieLawson
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Re: Can a Pi be used in some way to prevent Dementia sufferers making landline calls to a specific number?

Tue Jul 31, 2018 8:11 pm

Getting equipment certified for connection to the PSTN is a long, hard and extremely costly process.

The phone company can block calls to premium rate numbers - just call their customer services number.
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Chrisn
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Re: Can a Pi be used in some way to prevent Dementia sufferers making landline calls to a specific number?

Tue Jul 31, 2018 8:17 pm

Thanks for the feedback, unfortunately after a long chat with a person at BT I discovered that 0871 numbers dont count as premium rate so BTs premium rate blocking option wouldn't work, also some exchanges can't support all of the call blocking options , and you guessed it, mums exchange is one of those.

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DougieLawson
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Re: Can a Pi be used in some way to prevent Dementia sufferers making landline calls to a specific number?

Tue Jul 31, 2018 8:31 pm

Unless you can convert to VoIP (exclusively) I don't think there's much you can do with a Raspberry.

https://theworklife.com/graham-miln/201 ... pberry-pi/
might be a reasonable starting point. The fella who wrote that is a Brit.
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joan
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Re: Can a Pi be used in some way to prevent Dementia sufferers making landline calls to a specific number?

Tue Jul 31, 2018 8:46 pm

Please e-mail her/your MP outlining the problem. They will not be able to directly help but they should be made aware of the problem.

W. H. Heydt
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Re: Can a Pi be used in some way to prevent Dementia sufferers making landline calls to a specific number?

Tue Jul 31, 2018 9:02 pm

I'm afraid that not all problems have a "technical" solution....

I would suggest that a letter from your solicitor to the mail order company telling them in no uncertain terms that they are not to accept orders from your mother without your approval. That should give you cover to refuse payment for unauthorized orders. That said, how is she paying for these orders? Can you get the bank to refuse a credit card charge to that company from her card? Does she have an account with the mail-order company that can be irrevocably closed?

drgeoff
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Re: Can a Pi be used in some way to prevent Dementia sufferers making landline calls to a specific number?

Tue Jul 31, 2018 9:41 pm

An Obihai OBi110 or an OBi212 can do exactly what you need. Although the OBi range is primarily intended to interface orfinary analogue phones to VoIP services, those two models also have a connection for a PSTN line. Call blocking to and from specific numbers is relatively easy to accomplish once you get your head around its Digit Maps and Call Routeing. There is a 200+ page Admin Guide in the Docs and Downloads section of obitalk.com.

Unfortunately the 110 is now a discontinued product so hard to find new or used - owners rarely dispose of them. And the 212 does not seem to be available yet outside the USA. Amazon.com will ship it to the UK but the PSU, although 100-240 volt capable, will probably have US style prongs. Either get a plug adaptor or source an alternative 12 volt 1 amp PSU.

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Imperf3kt
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Re: Can a Pi be used in some way to prevent Dementia sufferers making landline calls to a specific number?

Tue Jul 31, 2018 10:52 pm

How about an interim workaround.

Block all international numbers on the phone, and use Skype or something, yourself.
User experiencing technical difficulties.

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Yukon Cornelius
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Re: Can a Pi be used in some way to prevent Dementia sufferers making landline calls to a specific number?

Wed Aug 01, 2018 5:42 am

Chrisn wrote:
Tue Jul 31, 2018 8:07 pm
My Mum has Dementia and takes great delight in phoning a mail order company and ordering things she cant afford.
We have tried reasoning with her but that doesn't seem to work. Also she doesn't always remember what she has ordered.
.........
You have my deepest sympathies regarding care for a dementia sufferer .

I am in a very similar situation to yourself , but in my case , the annoyance is when the missed-call service offers
to auto-redial the number , with a surcharge of course ..... money for nothing .
Every possible number that could be needed is already entered into the phone's contact list .

The service provider either cannot or will not disable that function on our line ( not really in their interest ! )

It would be great to put an RPi between the local phone and the network , as a kind of gate-keeper ,
but I can't think of any practical way to do it ..... Sorry

It's a great idea for a project , but I would need a lot of help from an experienced telecomms engineer .

vinnieb
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Re: Can a Pi be used in some way to prevent Dementia sufferers making landline calls to a specific number?

Wed Aug 01, 2018 8:39 am

This is the same option as going down the exclusive VoIP option, just 2 different ways I've played with it here..

There's free phone exchange software out there that would run on the pi, called asterisk. There's distros made just for the pi with everything pre installed. That's VoIP based, so the next bit is how to switch your phones to VoIP..

Cisco so a converter, spa112 for about 40 quid. That will let you plug in a normal landline style phone, and a normal landline connection, and convert them to VoIP compatible devices on your Ethernet network.

You then register this is asterisk, and setup some call handling rules. I think with pattern matching, you could match on a specific number, or number starting with a premium code, and block, play a recorded message, or redirect the call to yourself, whatever might work best.

Unfortunately, none of that is super easy, though there are alot of guides available that would take you through it. I've put that setup in place a couple of times as an amateur, and it was a good few days to get it working. Maybe some IT company could do it for a price, but it could be considered a business like setup and may cost a bit.

Potentially you could simplify it though, I've taken the spa112 out of the equation here, and bought handsets that can do VoIP and normal landline. And subscribed to a good VoIP line provider (about a tenner a month). That way you'd just need to setup asterisk on the pi, register your VoIP line and the handsets register to asterisk. One less bit of kit to configure. The VoIP provider I use has quite a lot of extra config available, so some may offer the functionality of redirecting numbers in their own GUI/system.

Hope that helps

hippy
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Re: Can a Pi be used in some way to prevent Dementia sufferers making landline calls to a specific number?

Wed Aug 01, 2018 10:57 am

Chrisn wrote:
Tue Jul 31, 2018 8:17 pm
Thanks for the feedback, unfortunately after a long chat with a person at BT I discovered that 0871 numbers dont count as premium rate so BTs premium rate blocking option wouldn't work, also some exchanges can't support all of the call blocking options , and you guessed it, mums exchange is one of those.
It may be worth getting a solicitor involved and offering up the usual threats that if they cannot provide a solution then you will hold them responsible for any costs and legal costs which arise.

A coordinated effort with your local dementia support team, MP, with national press publicity, may help them find a solution, for your own mum and everyone else with similar situations.

What you want to do should be achievable with a Pi but being fully compliant with regulations would be debatable. If I were in the situation of there being no reasonable alternative I might be less inclined to worry about that than I normally would.

It seems to me that what you need first is something in writing which says they will not or cannot do anything to help. That would be a key document.

hippy
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Re: Can a Pi be used in some way to prevent Dementia sufferers making landline calls to a specific number?

Wed Aug 01, 2018 11:10 am

Also, check out what solutions third parties can offer. For example -

http://www.truecall.co.uk/category-s/139.htm

drgeoff
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Re: Can a Pi be used in some way to prevent Dementia sufferers making landline calls to a specific number?

Wed Aug 01, 2018 12:09 pm

vinnieb wrote:
Wed Aug 01, 2018 8:39 am
This is the same option as going down the exclusive VoIP option, just 2 different ways I've played with it here..

There's free phone exchange software out there that would run on the pi, called asterisk. There's distros made just for the pi with everything pre installed. That's VoIP based, so the next bit is how to switch your phones to VoIP..

Cisco so a converter, spa112 for about 40 quid. That will let you plug in a normal landline style phone, and a normal landline connection, and convert them to VoIP compatible devices on your Ethernet network.

You then register this is asterisk, and setup some call handling rules. I think with pattern matching, you could match on a specific number, or number starting with a premium code, and block, play a recorded message, or redirect the call to yourself, whatever might work best.

Unfortunately, none of that is super easy, though there are alot of guides available that would take you through it. I've put that setup in place a couple of times as an amateur, and it was a good few days to get it working. Maybe some IT company could do it for a price, but it could be considered a business like setup and may cost a bit.

Potentially you could simplify it though, I've taken the spa112 out of the equation here, and bought handsets that can do VoIP and normal landline. And subscribed to a good VoIP line provider (about a tenner a month). That way you'd just need to setup asterisk on the pi, register your VoIP line and the handsets register to asterisk. One less bit of kit to configure. The VoIP provider I use has quite a lot of extra config available, so some may offer the functionality of redirecting numbers in their own GUI/system.

Hope that helps
The OBi models I mentioned above are much improved descendants of the Cisco devices; some of the same engineers who designed the original Sipura devices also designed the OBs. (Sipura was acquired by Linksys. Linksys was acquired by Cisco. Cisco eventually sold Linksys and that VoIP adaptor product line was acquired by Belkin. Other than changing the case and labelling there has been no development on those Sipura/Linksys/Cisco/Belkin units for more than 10 years. They are all the same inside.) I have 2 Linksys and 3 Obis. The OBis have much more extensive facilities and the OBi110 or OBi212 will single-handedly do what the OP requires. No Asterisk, RPi or any other computer required other than a web browser for configuration. The Sipura/Linksys/Cisco/Belkin units or the Grandstreams do not have the functionality to provide a single box solution.

PiGraham
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Re: Can a Pi be used in some way to prevent Dementia sufferers making landline calls to a specific number?

Wed Aug 01, 2018 12:13 pm

Check out phones with parental controls. The BT600 is one that may help. It looks like it can block specific numbers as well as classes of number.

You might be able to implement call blocking using PBX software such as Asterisk or openpbx and you may be able to connect that up to your landline and standard phones using a hardware interface with FXO port or maybe USB voice modems but I don't know enough about it to offer more that that pointer to something to look into.

stevend
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Re: Can a Pi be used in some way to prevent Dementia sufferers making landline calls to a specific number?

Wed Aug 01, 2018 12:35 pm

If your mother has a broadband internet connection, there's another way.
For a modest sum (something like 50p/month) you can obtain a phone number which is actually mapped to a VOIP connection. The phone number can be on most UK exchanges, so geographically callers aren't confused.
In the simplest setup you then connect a VOIP phone to this - either a 'proper' phone, or VOIP software running on a computer (a Pi will do it).
As suggested earlier, you can also set up Asterisk on a Pi. This will give you lots more options, but even with the GUIs available its not a trivial job. For this you'll need at least one VOIP phone, but they're not necessarily costly, even new.

Incidentally, if you need to make international calls, they can be cheap to free using VOIP.

As for the original landline, suggest you keep it for incoming calls only - you could just remove the keypad to prevent it from being used for outgoing calls.

hippy
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Re: Can a Pi be used in some way to prevent Dementia sufferers making landline calls to a specific number?

Wed Aug 01, 2018 2:46 pm

One option which might be easy and simple to implement for a PSTN line -

Monitor the audio path to pick out the DTMF dial tones and then cut the line prematurely and temporarily with a relay on numbers which don't match a white list or are on a black list of initial digits.

Assuming numbers allowed and disallowed don't just differ in the last digit that should be fairly effective in limiting numbers which can be dialled.

Numbers in a dialled list could be added to the black list if dialled too regularly. That would allow it to be mostly open which would allow legitimately calling random people while helping prevent mum becoming a nuisance caller.

The relay could be DPDT so could switch to a tone generator so the line doesn't actually go dead.

Sorting out how it works and what it blocks or allows is up to you, but secondary to having a method which could work.

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