Please Leave a Message
Suppose Mom lives alone and has an answering machine (which she may or may not know how to use.) Call in a man with a mature, strong voice. Ask him to record the brief message.
"Thank you for calling. Please leave a brief and clear message, including your name and phone number."
Plain and simple. Don't supply any details. Do not include, "No one is home to take your call ..." or such phrases.
Regular callers such as relatives, friends, and neighbours will recognize your scheme with the mature voice. Unknown callers, attempting to prey upon people who live alone, will hang up.
Ask the telephone company if it has a selection of recorded messages.
Ask if the company has any other suggestions for seniors' safety.
When Mom asks about the fuss, patiently explain to her that this is a personal safety issue.
A Giggle for you
Hello. You are talking to a machine.
I am capable of receiving messages.
My owners do not need siding, windows, or a hot tub, and their carpets are clean.
They give to charity through the office and don't need their pictures taken.
They don't have time for a free cruise.
If you're still with me, leave your name and number and they may get back to you.