Author Topic: Can Home Help Volunteers accept gifts??  (Read 3898 times)

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that_one_girl

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Re: Can Home Help Volunteers accept gifts??
« Reply #15 on: January 16, 2013, 05:22:41 PM »
Home Health Care companies have policies in place governing what kind of and when gifts may be accepted from a client.   The company should have been contacted directly after the incident happened.

That being said, it's a good idea in general to remind your elderly relatives that you cherish certain things of theirs.  If I do not tell my Grandmother that I really admire a certain doll that she has, then I wouldn't feel right demanding it back if Grandma decides to gift the doll to a caregiver who admired it frequently.

I'm sure Kay didn't know how much the programmes were valued by the family, and would not have accepted them if she had known.  I hope yous can let it go and be at peace.

As for the jewelry, I think it's a good idea to store it in a safe place, but only because of its value.  Caregivers are generally required to pass a background check, so the odds of a criminal being allowed to become a caregiver are unlikely.

rose red

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Re: Can Home Help Volunteers accept gifts??
« Reply #16 on: January 16, 2013, 05:35:06 PM »
Would your DH react the same way if she gave away old paperback books and magazines?  Have anyone in the family expressed interest in having the programs?  If not, perhaps MIL wanted the programs to go to someone who would love them.  Did your DH asked why MIL gave them to Kay?  Why assume it's because she's not of sound mind?  And the worker might assume it was OK because it wasn't worth much.

If you DH had a problem, he should have talked to his mother first, then if needed, called Kay to tell her it was a mistake.  It's not fair to jump to thinking the jewelry is in danger from caretakers.

I also don't think Kay was hinting.  I've often admired something and have said something similar.

Rusty

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Re: Can Home Help Volunteers accept gifts??
« Reply #17 on: January 17, 2013, 05:30:33 AM »
My elderly father has home help and carers and the rules are that workers are forbidden to accept any gift or payment from their clients.  The Care Manager provides a folder with rules and it is stipulated, no gifts etc.    I tried to give Dad's workers a box of chocs each this Xmas and they all refused.   I know of an elderly friend of my Dad's who was hoodwinked by a young girl who had worked in a rehabilitation facility he had attended for a few weeks (she was the tea lady), she befriended him, found out where he lived and started visiting him when he returned home (his daughter lived interstate). He bought her a car when she told him she could no longer visit him because her car was broken down and she couldn't afford to fix it. Luckily the daughter found out about it and reported her to the rehab facility and the police. She lost her job, but the police did nothing.

citadelle

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Re: Can Home Help Volunteers accept gifts??
« Reply #18 on: January 17, 2013, 09:29:41 AM »
If I were the person receiving care, I would be deeply hurt if my judgement was not respected by my family. I know that there are cases when an elderly person does not have good judgement, but unless that is demonstrably true, I would feel like my personal autonomy was being usurped. If I want to give something to someone, why can't I? If it is my possession to give, I should be able to give it to whomever I choose, throw it out the window, or whatever.

Since I don't have elderly relatives right now, and I am not elderly myself, maybe I don't get it. I am trying to put myself in the MIL's shoes.

Girlie

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Re: Can Home Help Volunteers accept gifts??
« Reply #19 on: January 17, 2013, 03:37:52 PM »
If I were the person receiving care, I would be deeply hurt if my judgement was not respected by my family. I know that there are cases when an elderly person does not have good judgement, but unless that is demonstrably true, I would feel like my personal autonomy was being usurped. If I want to give something to someone, why can't I? If it is my possession to give, I should be able to give it to whomever I choose, throw it out the window, or whatever.

Since I don't have elderly relatives right now, and I am not elderly myself, maybe I don't get it. I am trying to put myself in the MIL's shoes.

Maybe it's just you and me, then.

When my grandmother died, she had tons and tons of old cards and letters that had been saved from before she was even born. She had even saved her elementary school Valentine's cards, if that tells you anything (which are quite charming, actually, and much better quality than the ones we give out these days).
My aunts and uncles were just going to throw them away, and we saved them, because the idea that someone loved those things well enough to keep and treasure them for all those years meant enough to me that I didn't think they belonged in the trash.
I am not insinuating that the OP would have been like my extended family. I am, however, completely understanding of the reasons why an older person - who is still in charge of their mental faculties - might give something to someone who admired them rather than chance that they might be thrown away or go unappreciated.

Giggity

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Re: Can Home Help Volunteers accept gifts??
« Reply #20 on: January 17, 2013, 03:56:56 PM »
Here's my question: when working as a Home Help, especially with the aged or age-impaired, isn't it a rule to refuse any gift offered, especially a valuable one?

What did the agency say when you asked them?
Words mean things.

artk2002

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Re: Can Home Help Volunteers accept gifts??
« Reply #21 on: January 17, 2013, 04:06:40 PM »
If I were the person receiving care, I would be deeply hurt if my judgement was not respected by my family. I know that there are cases when an elderly person does not have good judgement, but unless that is demonstrably true, I would feel like my personal autonomy was being usurped. If I want to give something to someone, why can't I? If it is my possession to give, I should be able to give it to whomever I choose, throw it out the window, or whatever.

Since I don't have elderly relatives right now, and I am not elderly myself, maybe I don't get it. I am trying to put myself in the MIL's shoes.

Here's the dilemma that faces the company and the aide. You would be insulted, so they have the risk of offending you by turning you down. On the other hand, in early dementia, people will do strange things like give stuff away to virtual strangers. Then the family comes back and accuses the aide and the company of stealing or at least undue influence. Far better to risk offending you than end up in a huge legal wrangle because someone's sweet granny decided to give away the silverware and one of the heirs decides to take action. Sadly, there are unethical people who will take advantage of the elderly and confused and having a policy of not taking gifts (or limiting the value) is one way for an honest company to keep from being associated with those others.

So... you would be taking a general policy, designed to preserve the company's (and aide's) integrity and taking that as an insult.
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bow lines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. -Mark Twain

citadelle

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Re: Can Home Help Volunteers accept gifts??
« Reply #22 on: January 17, 2013, 06:58:41 PM »

So... you would be taking a general policy, designed to preserve the company's (and aide's) integrity and taking that as an insult.

No, I think I would understand the policy from the caregiver's POV. It would be my family questioning my wishes which would be upsetting.

artk2002

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Re: Can Home Help Volunteers accept gifts??
« Reply #23 on: January 17, 2013, 07:44:50 PM »

So... you would be taking a general policy, designed to preserve the company's (and aide's) integrity and taking that as an insult.

No, I think I would understand the policy from the caregiver's POV. It would be my family questioning my wishes which would be upsetting.

I'd suggest some empathy there as well. A someone who has cared for elderly parents, it's a very tough job to give as much independence as you can while making sure that they don't hurt themselves -- or fall victim to a scammer.
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bow lines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. -Mark Twain

katycoo

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Re: Can Home Help Volunteers accept gifts??
« Reply #24 on: January 17, 2013, 07:53:31 PM »
I do not think that theatre programs hold value in the same way that silver, heirlooms or money does. I don't think the carer was fishing (and you only have heard the story second hand) and while I understand your disappointment, I do think MIL had the right to gift those programs and it was ok for the carer to accept.

citadelle

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Re: Can Home Help Volunteers accept gifts??
« Reply #25 on: January 17, 2013, 09:15:35 PM »

I'd suggest some empathy there as well. A someone who has cared for elderly parents, it's a very tough job to give as much independence as you can while making sure that they don't hurt themselves -- or fall victim to a scammer.

I can have that empathy from my current, comfortable position where my family respects my judgement. If I were elderly and my judgement was in question by my family, it would be much more difficult to be empathetic toward those who seemed to be undermining my decisions. I am trying to look at the situation from the MIL's POV.

Artk2002, I admire your ability to care for your elderly parents. I hope to do the same for mine, and I have no doubt it will be a constant balancing act.

kareng57

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Re: Can Home Help Volunteers accept gifts??
« Reply #26 on: January 17, 2013, 11:08:26 PM »
Would your DH react the same way if she gave away old paperback books and magazines?  Have anyone in the family expressed interest in having the programs?  If not, perhaps MIL wanted the programs to go to someone who would love them.  Did your DH asked why MIL gave them to Kay?  Why assume it's because she's not of sound mind?  And the worker might assume it was OK because it wasn't worth much.

If you DH had a problem, he should have talked to his mother first, then if needed, called Kay to tell her it was a mistake.  It's not fair to jump to thinking the jewelry is in danger from caretakers.

I also don't think Kay was hinting.  I've often admired something and have said something similar.


I'm thinking along the same lines.  I think it's kind of unkind of people to automatically assume that Kay is a get-quick-rich type who would immediately sell these programmes on Ebay.

If Son thinks it's a real mistake - perhaps Kay hasn't actually moved yet, and the agency can still contact her?

But overall - often care-aides try to establish a common-dialogue with clients - "oh, you were involved with community theatre?  So are we!"  I don't think that it's necessarily an evil intent if MIL said "at some point, I'm going to have to get rid of all these, would you like to look through them to see if there's anything you'd like?"

This sounds pretty harmless to me.  It's not as though Kay was holding up a $2000-worth bracelet that she just happened to find laying around and coerced MIL to ask "would you like it".

nrb80

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Re: Can Home Help Volunteers accept gifts??
« Reply #27 on: January 18, 2013, 07:07:36 AM »

I'd suggest some empathy there as well. A someone who has cared for elderly parents, it's a very tough job to give as much independence as you can while making sure that they don't hurt themselves -- or fall victim to a scammer.

I can have that empathy from my current, comfortable position where my family respects my judgement. If I were elderly and my judgement was in question by my family, it would be much more difficult to be empathetic toward those who seemed to be undermining my decisions. I am trying to look at the situation from the MIL's POV.

Artk2002, I admire your ability to care for your elderly parents. I hope to do the same for mine, and I have no doubt it will be a constant balancing act.

I think the hard thing from the perspective of the child and the parents is figuring out intent.  I expect no inheritance from my parents.  They made it clear when we were kids, and when they were in their 40s, that as soon as we were done our education, that was it.  They are likely to have a decent estate, every penny they don't use in their lifetimes is going to charity, as my brother and I have already been blessed enough with excellent educations, and they were financially done after that.  I absolutely respect that decision, and wish to do the same with my kids when the time comes.  On the other hand, we have family friends - and they aren't greedy people, fwiw - who struggled, because towards the end their mother started to want to give things away, and make bequests to charities.  She wasn't involved in charitable giving throughout her life, and there was dissention among the siblings about her capacity.  On the other hand, at the end of life people often wish to create a legacy.

Which is not the same thing as the home health aide situation, but I can understand the stressors for children of elderly parents.  It's tough.  And it's tough for the elderly parents.  Today, if I felt like giving away a precious piece of jewelry to a stranger, or tipping a hundred dollars on a pizza, no one would bat an eye. 

Kiara

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Re: Can Home Help Volunteers accept gifts??
« Reply #28 on: January 18, 2013, 10:30:44 AM »
To follow somewhat from nrb80's excellent post....

Sometimes it's not about wanting the inheritance vs. charity.  My parents and their siblings had to keep their parents from giving away money so they would be able to afford the nursing home.  It was $6,000 per person, per month.  For the bed and food.  Not for pills, not for trips when they could take them...good nursing homes are expensive.  My dad's mom lived 2 years there, his dad 3 years.  It adds up. 

So in order to make sure they could STAY there for as long as possible/as long as needed, they had to keep them from giving away money to scammers.  My mom's dad had an old girlfriend that suddenly showed up and wanted to get money from him.  He thought she was fine. We knew better.  Hence why on his main accounts my mother was POA, and he couldn't draw money without her signature as well.  My dad's parents (and his aunt, my godmother) had things stolen from their houses by home health aides.

There are many many wonderful caregivers out there.  Sadly, there are also a boatload of scammers.  My parents took care of me when I was growing up, and my job will be to take care of them when they're old.  And because they know I love them, they know I will do what's best for them.  Even if they don't like it very much.

Sharnita

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Re: Can Home Help Volunteers accept gifts??
« Reply #29 on: January 18, 2013, 10:46:38 AM »
And I think in those situations it is reasonable and resposible to go.through.the steps to.set up POA. What doesn't sit right is somebody/anybody acting asif they have POA when they don't. And while I am sure OP's DH is motivated out of concern, there are plenty of children who can snd do take advantage of their kids. I hsve seen that as a concern among families as much as strangers/aquaintances.

I do get the concern of trying to.protect elderly loved ones - been there. I've also realized the need to recognize they are still  autonomous adults.