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Author Topic: Can Home Help Volunteers accept gifts??  (Read 12603 times)

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Re: Can Home Help Volunteers accept gifts??
« Reply #30 on: January 18, 2013, 12:59:15 PM »
nrb80, your post was excellent. My family's situation is a bit different in that it is my (welfare queen) sister who, having been given money for a long *long* *long* time (we all were, as gifts over the years, but her asking went far beyond that). My father died on July 9 (a Monday) last year around 8:00 am. Two days later, almost to the hour, my sister approached my mother, who suffers from short-term memory loss, and asked her for $1,000. I was out doing a much too long walk and having difficulty struggling home. My niece, my other sister's daughter, overheard the request and immediately texted her mother at her home around the corner that someone--her or one of our brothers--better get there immediately. They all did.

When I finally staggered home and drank enough water to recover--I was so out of it I must have disrupted a "discussion" without knowing it--I was told they wanted to go to lunch and would wait while I showered. I came out to a living room where everyone was sitting around and had obviously been talking about a delicate matter. It was then I learned what was going on.

My mother wanted to give her the money. My brother, who had for a while been handling all their finances with their blessing--was explaining to Mom that yes, it was her money, that she could do with it what she wanted but that he had promised Dad that he would take care of her and that meant seeing she did not run out of money.

It was a painful, deeply intimate family discussion with, as you can imagine, all attendant emotion. It did not end well. And the question about where to take over, where to intervene and where to let the parent make all the choices never really did get resolved though decisions were taken. But it wasn't really solved. And I don't know that it could be. Sad all around. For you too, OP.


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Re: Can Home Help Volunteers accept gifts??
« Reply #31 on: January 18, 2013, 03:20:11 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.

My mom and I both worked in home health care, and that was the exact reasoning the agency we worked for gave for workers not being allowed to accept gifts of any sort. It is just as much about not trusting people in general, sadly.
(I only worked there very very briefly; i am not trying to sound more knowledgable than i am.)
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