My mom lives in subsidized assisted living, facility takes all but $57/month.

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I used to pay for an elderly friend to get her hair done in the facility where she lived. I just gave the money to her son, and he paid the hair dresser. As far as I know, that money never passed thru the facility's hands. I bought her some clothes and other gifts as well. I think if it doesn't hit their bank account or their facility spending account, it's not questioned. Just my opinion, though.
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I don't know if there are any rules, but we certainly gifted our mother, who had an allowance of $90/month. Once in a while a family member would put some money into her spending account at the nh. Mostly this went to having her hair done weekly. Also to the few events that cost, for example when they brought lunch in from White Castle etc. I know my cousins similarly bought gift certificates for their mothers for hair appointments. The allowances vary by state, but often they don't cover all the hair care, lotions, new slippers, etc. that make life more pleasant.

I don't know what would have happened if the gifts had amounted to thousands of dollars -- we never had that kind of gifting capacity -- but as far as I know, residents are allowed to accept gifts. If there is a limit or a rule against it we never heard it!

I once noticed that some of Mom's friends weren't at the brought-in meal and I told the social director if there was ever a problem that they couldn't afford it I could help out. She assured me that these women just didn't like fast food, and that they did make sure that everyone who wanted to participate could. Perhaps they had a small fund for these kinds of situations. Many residents had no relatives involved in their lives, and I think the facility looked out for them as best they could.
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