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So this year, like many past years, Grandma and I settled on how she would buy me presents. She was supposed to have her sister buy me a gift. Then I was supposed to help Grandma buy gifts for everyone else. I should point out that this is Grandma's first year of living with me, but her sister and I have always helped her with gift buying in the past.

So her sister indicated to me that she had bought and wrapped my present. Then I found out that Grandma had also asked two other family members to buy gifts for me and a few other people. Apparently, she had forgotten that her sister and I had already gotten something. So the other family members (one is the POA) said we could just return one of the gifts. The problem is that the sister said mine is non-returnable and I'm not going through the hassle to return the items I already ordered. The gifts I purchased were well thought out and I put a lot of effort in it. The other gifts were ordered online with no thought after I had made arrangements with Grandma, and return shipping would cost a lot. I suspect the gifts are from a well-known mail order food company. So me and a few others have double or triple presents from Grandma.

I'm kind of annoyed because the two family members that Grandma asked to buy me and others presents for, have never been involved in helping her buy presents. It seems to me that with Grandma's faulty memory, they should have come to me and asked me what the gift buying arrangements were. I mean, Grandma does live with me. I'm the one who does everything. They're not involved in anything. The POA barely does anything and certainly doesn't do what they're supposed to.

Am I wrong in being upset here? As Grandma's sole caregiver, it seems these other family members should have checked with me about the presents. And it seems they should have especially done so considering her faulty memory.

What do you all think about this?

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Christmas is difficult as are birthdays. In the past when Mom was on her own, she sent everyone, children, grands etc $10. Her sister was an exception as we're myself and my husband since we lived close by and spent the holidays with her.
After moving in to my house, I did not presume anything when it came to gifts. She was in her right mind and if she didn't want to remember everyone's birthdays etc as she did in the past that was not my business. She asked me what I wanted and what she should get my husband, as she did every year and purchased a couple of things through catalogues since she couldn't get to the store, to send to my aunt and asked me to write a check for her.
This year she decided that she wanted to send each brother and step brother and my aunt gift cards to a restaurant and they could use it toward taking their families out. Where she got this idea, I don't know, but I bought the cards, she picked out Christmas cards and signed them and I addressed and mailed them.
Faulty memory is not a condition that is seen as incompetent. If it was, we would all be in trouble. Everyone should have asked you what was being done about Christmas presents before buying any since you were there to converse with Grandma. If POA doesn't want to pay you, he shouldn't pay anyone. It was either your grandmother's wish that all the gifts were bought or not. It is not his job to determine this unless she is incompetent.
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You have received some good suggestions so stop being upset. there is nothing that can be done this year if there really is no way of returning anything. If POA owes you money for things you have brought insist on being reimbursed but otherwise just let it go. I don't think anyone was being malicious, just thought they were being helpful as you have so much on your plate.
I have an absolute limit person for birthdays and Christmas as we are elderly and have a fixed income that keeps shrinking. If I find something on sale that usually sells for my limit I have no shame in keeping the change. I used to be able to make a lot of things but physical issues prevent that now. One year I was so broke the limit was $5 per persion.I was able to make things that would have cost many times more - think knitting with thrift store yarn or weaving afghans that sell for $100 with $12 worth of yarn. ovely gifts and much appreciated.
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There would not be an issue if everybody did what grandma had wanted. imo.
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"Grandma is aware and alert".
You are her caregiver.
She wanted others to also buy you gifts.
Receive them graciously, thank Grandma.
Don't second guess your grandma!
The only issue is that the POA is against grandma spending that money on you!
The POA is over-stepping, in my opinion.
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Letters and cards are precious
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Most elders like to give and receive something that can't be bought, e.g. a telephone call, a walk swept, a rug vacuumed, et al.
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mejjy11, some good ideas on this thread. But one thing I want to bring up is the other people thought they were helping you. You can get angry at them for not communicating with you, but maybe they thought since you tend to do everything, this was a way to help you and Grandma. I think this is a great time to discuss the real situation, Grandma can't remember all the time, so just check with you. Also be specific on what you need for Grandma. I see you are really annoyed and think they did this and belittled your job as caregiver. I think since presents are secret they didn't want to spoil the surprise. Figure out what can be put away for next year, what can't, return what can be returned and enjoy the mix-up!
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Yes, the other family members should have asked you. But like I have found, it never goes that way. Can you keep them for next year? I realize the food won't keep.
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I will try not to be rude! Sounds like your family has forgotten the true meaning of Christmas. I really do understand the gift giving process, but look what it has done. Everyone is angry at each other. How old is grandma? In my family we really don't expect anything from our elders. Why should we? How many years have grandma been giving gifts to family members or how many holiday meals has she cooked over the years? How old is she? The gift giving process may be getting too difficult for her.

Sounds like you should simplify the process next year. Don't expect anything from Grandma. Have everyone else draw names and if people want to give a gift to Grandma they can. If she wants to buy a gift for someone make it simple and everyone should understand not to expect too much from Grandma.

I really don't understand why people expect anything from the elderly. The older I get, I honestly don't care about the gifts. They are nice, but I would rather just have a fun day with family.
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It is too late for this year, so grin and bear it, thank everyone for the gifts and put this memory in you back pocket for next year. I Agree with the hassle of returning things...ugh)
Likely your grandma has been in the habit of providing each person with a thoughtful, personal gift..until she couldn't any more. That's OK.
My mother would hoard $5 bills and send one to each grandchild for their birthdays & Christmas (very sweet, but 3/5 of my kids are millionaires on their own and would actually joke about the money she sent. She's on a tight fixed income. I sat my kids down and explained to them what portion of her small income was being spent on them and their cousins. Sobered them right up. Then I asked mom to stop sending money to anyone but the great grands, and to stop sending them anything when they hit 18. (No one is that old yet).
She did think about it, and several years ago stopped the b-day money. She only sends to the GG's, and I hope they appreciate it.
Mother has 24 grandkids and over 60 great grands. That adds up. (Also, about 20 of those kids don't have a clue who she is!)
As far as us gifting her?? We asked her to stop giving us adults anything--it was stressing her out. Now, well, we don't even have a party any more, but everyone gets her a small gift (I always send out a reminder email to PLEASE make it current photos, unframed, of the ggkids, and gift cards to one of her favorite restaurants. NO more stuff for her house!! With the GC's she can "treat" her one friend who can still drive, to lunch and not feel like she's impoverishing herself.
Times change, families change, accepting the new normal is hard, every few years it gets less and less.
If your mother insists on "giving" and can afford it, help her to find a charity to donate to.
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It is too late for this year but get everyone on side for next year & enjoy the generousity she showed but really insuring everyone got something

This year my dad [94] asked me to be his legs - first time in many years we are not getting 'a donation has been made to St. Michael's building fund in your name' - I guess that greedy priest didn't want to put in the miles to drive to nursing home to insure dad ponied up some big $$
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Yes, they should have checked with you. Stop crying over spilt milk. Next year instead of gifts, do a chore for each of those involved.
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I really don't understand why you are not the POA, who is the POA? It sounds like a lack of communication. We don't give gifts for Christmas and my wife and I do not ask for anything. We put $25 dollars in an envelope for each grandchild and my only daughter.
I would ask the POA and other to have a family meeting. If you are buying gifts it sounds to me you have a loving family. It is time to communicate with each other.
For the life of me, I don't understand why people don't talk to one another especially if there is a family member that needs help.
You are lucky, I hardly ever see my sibling since my mother passed away. My grandchildren who are all grown only show up to get their money and eat. I come from a very large family. I live on a very tight budget and every penny counts but we manage.
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For the OP. I understand that you are annoyed but i think you will have to let it go. Perhaps suggest that the other family members use the gifts they bought for somebody else. Plan for this next year. Why not keep a diary because this year will be full of such mess ups while everyone adjusts. Consider giving up the gift exchange. It was ridiculous in my family until my cousin and i said no more. My mother gives me a check which i i thank her for and then rip up. I sometimes designate a purchase i make as her gift.
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These days, my mother loves to tell people she has no money (she does but believes she's totally broke), but back in the day when she was able, she and dad put money in envelopes for the kids and grandkids at xmass. Before dad died back in 2003, she did it all in her home, the cooking, shopping, etc., and I was the only one who helped her. There have been no actual large xmass eve/day get-togethers in our family for years. We get one invite to my brother's house, usually on xmass eve. I made the decision a few years ago to give the 3 great-grandkids money in envelopes, and the heck with everybody else, since none of them can be bothered to call during the year (unless they try to borrow money). My sister-in-law is the only one who ever even asks if I need any help at all. Mom is truly so out of it, she doesn't know one day from the other anyway. I've learned to treat every day about the same and am frankly glad when the holidays are over.
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mejjy11, I ran into that situation in the beginning and it's pretty challenging. Communication is really important and it may be a good idea to have a meeting with everyone and determine how to handle go forward.

If the gifts aren't returnable, perhaps you can give them to someone else on your list and just give Grandma the money. Or if it's food, do something fun with Grandma and the other family members. Our family always did a Christmas Eve gathering with food, games and gift exchange. My best advice is don't sweat it this time but get everybody on the same page go forward and be thankful someone is willing to help.
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Yeah, it does sound like grandma is confused. It sounds like her POA may not be aware of grandma's challenges. If she's living with you, why are you not the POA? I'd try to get that ironed out now, because if she's living with you and you and POA aren't able to agree and communicate, it will be a problem.
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This is your first year with her living with you so there are bound to be some hiccups as you adjust. At some point, it becomes exhausting to be chasing after people to find out what they want, then doing the shopping and wrapping so that our elder can maintain their personal gift giving standard.

The first couple transition years, we did gift cards which can be found at every grocery and drug store. My mom fussed that wasn't personal enough, but people enjoyed shopping after Christmas sales, or having a nice meal out. Now that I'm footing the bill, I've shifted to magazine subscriptions which I can get inexpensively online on Cyber Monday. The recipients really enjoy them and I shop online. Only the little kids get a real present, usually a book.
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"Then I found out that Grandma had also asked two other family members to buy gifts for me and a few other people. Apparently, she had forgotten that her sister and I had already gotten something."

"Grandma is aware and alert, she just doesn't know what to get people."

Those statements seem to contradict each other, but if you insist Grandma knows what she is doing then it is not your problem, not your mess to clean up or apologize for. Just laugh and tell family that they'll have to take it up with Grandma.
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Grandma is aware and alert, she just doesn't know what to get people. I have helped her buy Christmas presents for the last 20 years or so. Even when she was capable of getting around on her own, she needed help because she disliked shopping.

What I do is ask her if she has something in mind for someone. If she doesn't, I make a few suggestions. I also have asked people if they have a Christmas list. So Grandma is usually involved in what she's getting people, she just forgets sometimes.

Part of the issue is that it wasn't necessarily too late for some people to cancel their orders. They hadn't been shipped out yet, but they didn't want to. Then there's the fact that the POA is one of the guilty parties and they are supposed to reimburse me for what I've spent. They might insist that I return what I bought, and I can't and won't do that. I can't afford to keep the gifts without reimbursement and they really can't be sent back.

I think I'm mostly aggravated that as the sole caregiver, no one bothered to check with me about the gift buying arrangements. I'm there 24/7 and some people visit once every two weeks for a couple hours and others don't visit at all. Then they try to insert themselves into something that really isn't their business. Common sense should have told them to check with me first.

I wonder what will happen if Grandma ever gets to a point where she develops dementia or Alzheimer's. Will people believe her confabulations? Will people believe it if she says she went to Mars on a spaceship? I just don't understand people.

The worst part of being a caregiver isn't dealing with Grandma, it's having to deal with our idiotic, clueless family. I'm also tired of being nice and polite to everyone when I really want to give them a good piece of my mind. Grr!
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I am fortunate in that Mom only has two of us to reach out to and we communicate very well so there isn't a redundancy.

The problem that I am facing though, is Mom's insistence on buying gifts for her sons. We have discussed it over and over again but she keeps forgetting the conversation and then asks Carol to help her buy something for them.

Las Christmas she bought two of the boys stuff, to include clothes which I know at least one of them would never wear. Well, seeing as the boys never made it out to see her... and still haven't, we have their wrapped presents from last year.

They are both destitute and always hitting her up for money so I keep telling her that we should just give them money (mail it so they will get it - since they won't visit). I know they need money more than gifts but I can't convince her of that. Actually, I can convince her but then she forgets and we start all over.
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It's too late this year but if I were you I would think hard about the need to continue this in the future. If Grandma is actually present for a gift exchange that may be more difficult but when you are the one planning, selecting buying and delivering the gifts they really aren't from Grandma anymore, are they? If she asks all you would need to say is that it has been taken care of and everyone is happy... hopefully the family isn't too self centred to play along.
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Perhaps, you could put some back for later or just accept them so the family sees how their lack of forethought caused problems.

From what I have seen, family members often do not fully appreciate the degree that a senior or person with dementia may be effected. They just can't accept it or it doesn't occur to them to do things different, to double check to reconsider, etc. I would say put it in writing next year, but family members can be stubborn, memories short and normally they will do things their own way anyway.

So, enjoy your gifts. It's not your fault.
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I'm lucky, I guess, in being from a family who doesn't believe in gifts. I buy some things as stocking stuffers for my mother to give everyone. She also gives a little money. I buy myself a box of candy so I don't look like the red-haired orphan child. I doubt anyone even considers who would buy a gift for me. My mother does give me a little money for Christmas. I stick it in my wallet and pay for dinner when we go out. I would be absolutely snowed if all these people descended on me with gifts. I hope they are not the same thing. I would say to enjoy them and not worry.
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