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We absolutely love our Home Health Aide and want to tip her somehow during the holidays but I know these agencies usually don't allow the aides to accept gifts/money.


Has anyone found a way to express their gratitude for over the top care other than verbally?

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If there's any situation where the "don't ask/don't tell" theory applies, it's here.

Our home health aide was a true angel who always performed above and beyond, for a mere pittance - she didn't even make half of the hourly rate we paid the agency. With three children to support, she greatly appreciated the gift cards for the local chain supermarket that I gave her on holidays and her birthday.

The agency doesn't need to know diddly.
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Sarah3 Oct 27, 2020
Yep!!
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I worked for a large CG company. They charged the client over $25 an hour. I made $9 an hour. You do the math.

After a YEAR, I asked for a raise. I was turned down. The 'policy' was 'no raises, ever, you make what you make'.

I had to quit, since there was no hope of ever 'doing better'--and told my client's family so. They were devastated, as I was the first and only CG who could handle their mom, whom I had grown to love. I wasn't trying to shake them down, I had to give them a reason for my leaving for a $12 an hour job. (I was working both jobs and could go FT at the $12 an hour one).

I don't know how it happened, but the family (wealthy, to say the least) worked it out with my company to 'tip me out' so that my pay went to $14 an hour, after tax. 2 of the sons were lawyers and I am sure involved in this.

My 'boss' said she'd never seen this before--and I do not know how they worked it out, but I was happy to stay, and honestly, it is often only through being paid that you feel worthwhile. It's about the hardest job in the world!!

My client would also 'tip me' at Christmas and on my birthday. A crisp $100 bill, which was most appreciated. I did not tell my company, and I never felt bad about NOT telling them. Always a sweet note accompanied these gifts.

I stayed with this client until she had to be placed in independent living. Broke our hearts, both of us.

And I quit working for the 'big, cheap company'. Who by then were charging $30 an hour and STILL only paying $9 an hour. And couldn't figure out why their employees were leaving after only a few months.

CG is the hardest job out there, IMHO. A baked good and a card? I honestly would rather have nothing. I was making it possible for an elderly woman to spend 2 more years at home--a loaf of banana bread wouldn't make up for that.
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elaine1962 Oct 27, 2020
Midkid58, I am so glad it worked out for you. That’s just crazy to charge the client 25.00 an hour and you only got 9.00 an hour?? That is crazy!!!

I think the company that hired you should have paid you 14.00 an hour to begin with!!!
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I would give them a card with a VISA that has whatever amount you think that you would like to give and not tell the agency. It's none of their business and they don't deserve any portion of the thank you that the caregiver receives. (You can get these VISA cards at any bank)
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Reply to Isthisrealyreal
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Sarah3 Oct 27, 2020
I agree, the agencies are predatory so they don’t need to know, it’s an unethical practice to begin that undermines the whole caregiving experience and the quality of life for the people doing the most important thing of all! One caveat is giving a cash gift could also be given and kept confidential
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I gave my dad’s helper gift cards, and though he’s gone now, I still send her gift cards on occasion. A wonderful helper is a godsend
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Reply to Daughterof1930
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Most agencies do not permit caregivers to accept gifts, if they do the value is typically limited to $25.00.
A gift card is a good choice.
Often you can purchase gift cards at Sam's Club or Costco for less than the face value. (typically a $100 pack of 4 cards, $25.00 each will cost around $80.00) these are great for gifts. And you do not have to pay to activate them Some of the Visa and Mastercard cards you have to pay a fee to activate them.
One thing your caregiver would greatly appreciate would be a letter written to the agency and a copy to your caregiver telling how grateful you are for the help and care that this person is providing. You can give detailed information as to what they have done. This will go in the employee file and the copy you give to the employee might be able to be used if they wish to look for another job, or if they are asking for a raise.
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Reply to Grandma1954
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Sarah3 Oct 27, 2020
A letter of recommendation would be expected for a job well done-a reference or letter of recommendation is not considered a “gift” or even a thank you. it shouldn’t be in lieu of a financial reward. As some have already stated here before in regards to this issue, caregiver agencies are predatory and don’t allow the caregiver to receive a gift the family wishes to give them if the agency can’t get too! It’s disgusting how predatory these agencies are, I will echo what some have already said here, if you value your loved one and you have a caregiver for them by all means show your gratitude with a generous financial gift and keep it confidential between the caregiver and you. God knows they already have taken enough advantage of their caregivers the practice of not allowing an adult to gift a financial thank you to who they want is self serving on their part and ironically counterproductive to the clients they claim to care about so much!
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Be like the Military: Don't ask and don't tell !! I am sure the Aide wants the tip and as long as she keeps your generosity to herself, only the two of you will know this secret :-)
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Reply to LonelyOnlyChild
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my2cents Oct 27, 2020
It's only between the two of you as long as it stays between the two of you. And that's not always the case. There's a reason companies had to put this policy in place - to avoid conflict of interest with employee and client. Read your contract with the agency or call to ask about how to show appreciation at special times during the year. Don't do something that may get them fired.
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Considering the fact anytime you employ a person to care for your loved one they’re providing the most important thing I join in with the recommendation of most here to go ahead and dismiss the agency’s rule not to give a gift to the cg, it’s a predatory unethical practice by the agency in the first place telling adults they can’t thank the caregiver!! so definitely I would gift them with either cash or a Visa gift card confidential between you and the caregiver
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Invisible Oct 27, 2020
I really think it has to do with tax declarations and to discourage uneven practices between care providers. Your care provider can't always choose their client and this is to keep the playing field equal.
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I feel if you find a good Aide, a little extra $$ won’t hurt anyone as long as she keeps it to herself. Any way you can get someone to stay so a parent who is, for example, combative doesn’t have a different Aide every day. My private pay Aide I got from an agency...who neglected to pay her for a long time. Even though I prepaid the agency a couple of thousand $$$ !!!
So she works for me for 3 + years. Good luck & hugs 🤗
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Invisible Oct 27, 2020
Same.
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No one can tell you that you can't give a Christmas gift to a friend. :)

It sound to me like she has become more than a Home Health Aide to your family. You may have met her because of the agency, but she has now become a friend to your family.
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Reply to graygrammie
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Tips and gifts are discouraged by agencies. They worry that home health care aides may "prey" on their clients, especially those with cognitive impairment. However, home health care aides usually make only minimum wage. So, make sure to have food and drinks the aide can eat/drink whenever they are there. If you do want to "gift," consider practical gifts like gift cards to Walmart and grocery stores. Gift cards to expensive restaurants will probably never get used.
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gaknitter Oct 27, 2020
I don't provide food or drinks. It became obvious that none of it was touched. Many aides have food preferences due to diet, personal choices, or are foreigners who don't eat typical American fare (Sierra Leone, Nigeria most recently and there have been others) They also change frequently due to high turnover. One who had been a regular for several relocated recently and I gave her cash to apple to moving expenses.
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