Follow
Share

Birthdays, Mother's Day, Christmas all bring little gifts from the family. There is one gift that shows up each time that I dread seeing -- gift cards. These may seem nice, but if the giver thinks it through, they will realize it is a bad idea. How is someone who can barely walk going to spend the gift card?

My mother sometimes gets gift cards to a restaurant that is many miles from our house. This means that I have to devote several hours getting her there and having dinner. Wouldn't a better gift be if someone would pick her up and take them to dinner themselves? I know... that would be too much trouble.

Store gift cards are not a good idea. My mother gets these a good bit. What it means is that I have to go to the store and buy her something. Maybe she will go with me, meaning it requires a half day of my time. Wouldn't it be better for the person to just buy her something themselves? Or if the giver would come and take her to the store to buy something. I know... too much trouble.

I doubt many gift givers think about the technicalities when they purchase gift cards. It is easy for them to do, but it transfers the work to the caregiver. I know... I have a bad attitude, but really, take her out to dinner yourself. She would love having some different company. And buy her a present yourself. I buy everything for her already. Bah humbug.

This discussion has been closed for comment. Start a New Discussion.
Find Care & Housing
As a former nursing home administrator, I have given staff a gift certificate for a massage; reflexology for those tired feet; or a chiropractic treatment. I received a group discount from therapists. Staff enjoyed key chain flashlights or a gift certificate to a photography shop for a family picture. Staff also like gloves and scarfs. One Easter I gave each staff a package of flower seeds in their payroll checks. Many times I spent an entire payroll check for gifts as I always felt the staff was so deserving. Blest Christmas to all the caring staff and caregivers throughout our great nation!
(0)
Report

My mom is in a NH and yep, she gets gift cards from restaurants from family. At least 3 each Xmas. What I do is take them over to the nurses station, when there are lots of staff there, and ask in a loud voice who would like to take charge of the gc and get goodies for the staff to enjoy. Creates oodles of good will and they do remember where it came from and always bring my mom & her roommie a "treat"
plate. ANother family member sends her a fruit of the month and that goes to the DON's office, again more good will. If any of these gift givers were to visit her it would be priceless for her but ain't happening.

Love, love, love the idea of sending an Xmas card early out to family with her clothing size. The NH commercials machines make short work out of their wardrobe. If I'd had realized the degree of hot water and hard machines @ the NH, I'd would have spent-down a couple of thousand on extra clothes from Target for her and just stored them in Ziploc's for future use. My mom's once lovely wardrobe was just trashed within 6 months. Live & learn.
(3)
Report

sorry I have been a bit repetitive there - senior moment!
(0)
Report

My mother has beeh sent cheques by my sister which requires that she goes to her bank to cash them, and she has had some trouble with that with the escalator being under repair. She sometimes wants flowers and sometimes not, so I am leery of sending them. I have been taking her out for a meal. for a gift, but I can't get down there very often myself. I bought her a blouse for her birthday and she told me she had enough blouses, even though she had complained that the staff stole 2 of hers. I rreally don't know what to do. The flowers are fairly expensive so i don't want to waste the money if she doesn't enjoy them. I really don't know what to do. maybe sending cash in the mail would be the best thing, though i don't like doing that either. She has a lady who shops for her who could buy her something she wanted.
(0)
Report

MishkaM, I think gift cards for computer stores are fine if a cg is computer savvy. Shopping online can be fun during the evening hours. It is really just the gift cards that take large chunks of time that are irritating, and then only because the gift giver doesn't follow through with them.
(0)
Report

Oooh, oooh, ooh, I forgot - no Christmas decorations for SNF residents without checking first! We have a collection of miniature lighted trees that people sent FIL. We could set up up lit forest. THERE IS NO ROOM on her limited surfaces for even one tree. Now maybe they could send a carpenter along with an approved material shelf.....

Carpenter reference was not in religious context, meant to hang the shelf....
(1)
Report

Wow-good point about the gift cards! I hadn't really thought of it that way! I am a part time care giver to my Mom . My Dad is full time caregiver( for now) and I DID send him an Amazon gift card once. He is just so darn picky! At least it was for an on-line purchase. Mostly, though, for gifts I give him my time. He goes on weekend trips( casinos) and I take care of Mom. He seems to like those the best!
(1)
Report

In early November - to give them plenty of time to shop- I sent out a list of gift suggestions to MIL's other children.

The SNF washing machines do a great job of cleaning her clothes and making them appear ancient in a couple of months. So I sent out her sizes and clothing needs. She had always prided herself in dressing well. It would be important to her non dementia prior self if someone made sure her clothes were presentable - they know this.

I also told them that the bingo games need prizes constantly. In the SNF gaming arena, anything new or edible works as a prize. These games are very important to the other residents who help look after her. It's a small facility and the residents keep an eye out for each other.

And thirdly, the SNF staff would appreciate presents. I gave suggestions.

No one gave any sort of response yet. I do wonder what the response will be.

I am tempted to ask my husband to wait and see who sends her presents before sending them their Christmas checks from her. Though they are nominal amounts, it's still rather mean spirited of me. I shall try to be better.

Cash, I could put into her account at the SNF for her beautician, but I didn't think of that as a suggestion. She has her hair colored, permed and styled regularly. She is a long time narcissist so this gives her hours of pleasure admiring herself in her mirror.

We made calls on Thanksgiving to the 3 other children. She left nice messages in their machines. One called her back. This seemed to depress her at Thanksgiving so we won't do that again.
(0)
Report

Also I must admit experiencing some minor frustration with them. With the limitations to where they can be spend I have thought I'd just prefer good old cashola, or a check. Then it was (gr)attitude adjustment time.
(0)
Report

P.S. A lot of online stores have free shipping and returns. Having been house bound myself, I've found that helpful and have gotten some good deals.
(0)
Report

Can you shop online with Mom and get take out delivered (lots have free delivery)? Perhaps the restaurant has an online menu? You and Mom could make your selections and even invite the gift card giver pick it up and join you? Or, depending on logistics, invite a neighbor who goes by the restaurants? Oh the things you can think (Dr. Seuss). If worst comes to worst, or best, the cards might be used for bartering purposes, e.g., mowing, repairs etc. Bon Chance and blessings.
(1)
Report

Pajamas or gowns are anise gift. Mom lovescgetting new jammies. Also my best friend makes her a basket of fruit candy and a stuffed toy and has the produce department shrink wrap. She loves digging through for various goodies that have been especially picked for her
(2)
Report

Gift cards are an insult to caregivers. The giver of the card, doesn't even spend the time to pick out a gift. Throwing money a situation, doesn't always solve the issue. They should actually take time to figure out what the receiver actually needs or wants. Such a cop-out.
(2)
Report

@Jessie I so agree with your discussion topic. Instead of a gift card, a visit or a basket sent to the house with fruits or goodies or even a flower if Mom likes those too is a much appreciated gift for a shut in. I like your caregiver suggestions!
(2)
Report

Gift cards are terrific for teenagers who love to shop and whose taste changes weekly if not more often. Gift cards are fine for young people or couples just starting out on their own and need tons of practical things to furnish their nests and/or would enjoy splurging on a nicer restaurant than they normally can afford.

But for and elder with impairments? Gift cards simply pass the task of gift selection on to the already overworked caregiver! You are so right, Jessie!

Another no-no, in my book, is to give kits or hobby items that the person will need help with. Offering to come over and do the activity with the person -- fabulous! Expecting the caregiver to do it is not a thoughtful gift.
(5)
Report

This discussion has been closed for comment. Start a New Discussion.
Subscribe to
Our Newsletter