How do you deal with being treated like an employee because you were given a gift card as a thank you for your contribution to a needful situation? I am utterly stumped how I should respond to the gifter of this 20.00 gift card when I have done what I have because I saw a need and I felt like I could help when I did not see anyone else stepping up to take responsibility.
I have spent untold hours, many miles on my vehicle and usually 2 meals paid for by myself on the days I am helping my friend. A full day every week for months now.
Now her family thinks that they can tell me what I need to do, how I need to do it, multiple times a week demanding that I do errands and all because they gave me a thank you of a 20.00 gift card. When I tell them I am not going to do it, they tell me that I have been paid and I need to do what they tell me, not even giving me the courtesy of asking.
How do you respond to the shear absurdity of this? I love my friend and I don't want to abandon her, but the multiple demanding texts and calls daily are just over the top. Is this normal in anyone's experience?
Thank you for sharing how you would address the nonsense of being viewed as an employee because you were given a 20.00 gift card.
You're amazingly compassionate to have even put up with this kind of behavior THIS long. Don't forget that.
First, I would tell my friend what is going on.
Then, I would let her children know that you are not an employee and you will do whatever you want to do when you want to do it for your friend and that's between you and your friend.
Tell them that you've been helping out for months and the $20 gift card was a nice jester but was not payment and you don't require payment for things you decide to do for your friend.
Tell them if they can't handle their mom's needs that they should consider hiring a Caregiver, have groceries delivered, hire a cleaning service or whatever is needed..
That you will continue being a friend to their mom not their Employee.
If they try to keep you from talking or seeing your friend, call Senior Protective Services
That’s it, your obligation is finished. If you let yourself get sucked into this situation again, then shame on you.
As far as the issue of a gift card— I think they do think you are getting compensated somehow..perhaps one of them , or someone else is pocketing the money and all are even chipping in ..which could be answer to two of your questions — that they aren’t helping at all ( yes they are , they think, by paying for a companion) and that they think they can tell you what to do as their employee. The gift card was likely just an extra and intended in a good way as a thanks for all you do for mom. It could be that one of them is making out with this . Or that they are paying someone else even to be a go between . Or even that they are putting money into moms account but she is too embarrassed by this and can’t tell them no but also realizes that you are helping out of friendship and she doesn’t want to embarrass you by offering the money. I am not quite sure what the answer is ..obviously you love her and want to continue with your assistance and friendship. I think , use the gift card and write a thank you back ..I think when you actually redeem the card it will even give you a spot to do that. You can say that you do appreciate the card and perhaps either use it for yourself or for something for the two of you ..like a special tea to share during one of your days . Then say that , while no renumeration has ever been necessary you do appreciate your act of kindness being appreciated. Did the “orders” only start after the gift card ? Only way they could be connected unless this IS the person getting the money. Only other options are either the email to ALL of them ..saying exactly what you said here ..that you help out of friendship and just want it clear that you have not ever received any money and in fact won’t accept anything . Plus that you will continue to help as you desire not at their order. Or do the same but in an inperson meeting with all involved except the friend who might be hurt by that.
she is lucky to have a friend like you.
I would suggest contacting the Area Agency on Aging. At 90 your friend would be eligible for services just because of her age. Most seniors need "coaching" to answer questions based on their functioning to coincide with their worse day not best day. Indeed, in my mind I am still young but the calendar says 7 decades.
I am wondering if their directives are attempts to be involved without actually showing up and delivering. It may be an attempt to indicate interest at least to you. Let's not assume the worse about these adult children. Perhaps they are doing their best.
The Area Agency on Aging may be able to set up meals on wheel delivery so she has a meal that she does not have to prepare. They may have access to alternative transportation options. All of us have paid taxes that fund the Area Agency on Aging so we need not feel we are indigent to use the service.
When one is 90 it takes a bit longer for all tasks. That is why we quit working. What we could do in an afternoon in our 30's, takes a day and recovery time.
It is not a *signed employee contract* card.
Politely point that out. It they don't get that & are still unreasonable, ignore them. Don't waste your time or breath talking to unreasonable people.
Is your friend able to make decisions for themself? If so, your friend decides for him/herself. And of course it is up to YOU how much you wish to help.
My poverty stricken mother would lay a 5 dollar bill in the auto of someone who gave her rides to doctor appointments, even though the gentleman (who was a good family friend) said repeatedly it was not necessary. And I realize that this a little off topic.
My Grandma would donate towards fuel costs for rides too. She wanted to contribute. She definately did not use it as manipulation to assure future rides.
It can certainly worth clarifying from time to time to ensure resentment is not growing & to change arrangements if required.
"Can you walk five blocks?"
"Of course I can!"
"Can you figure out a bus route on your own?"
"Certainly! Do you think I'm an idiot?".
Just a possibility...
It is not a phone interview, it is an application and some of the questions are not completely clear. But of course she put that she could walk 5 blocks, even though she really can't and be okay.
They can't figure out that a 90 year old woman should not be walking 5 blocks in 100°+ weather to get to a bus stop. 104 days over 100° this year, many of them over 110°, no human should be out walking in that heat.
People, especially young ones, don't understand that at 90 you may be able to do it, but you should not.
Besides the distance is further than the required distance, they can not make you go that far to catch a bus. She would have to cross a 6 lane busy road at the freeway off/on ramp. I would not do it myself with the way people drive with their faces in their phones.
I digress, yes she reported that she could walk that far and trying to correct the information is proving to be difficult. She is losing her ability to walk with every passing week. That is what happens, use it or lose it is sooooo much truer as we age.
I suppose it would be easier if I could reach a mature adult that has actually met a 90 year old. Healthy or not, a 90 year old body is not dependable from am to pm of the same day, not to mention from day to day.
I have calls in going up the government ladder or maybe down, I don't know how they are dealing with this right now with some at home, others at the office and it all seems like a mess.
I would discuss with your friend their requests. Your friend needs to complete a living will and health directive, a medical power of attorney and fiduciary. Indeed, your friend may have completed these items naming her family members and thus they feel entitled to "supervise you." A gift is not employment. You do not have any obligations because of the gift card.
The family may be under some mistaken beliefs when they attempt to supervise you. They may be concerned. Nonetheless, they have no footing for directing you.
She is one of the seniors that will not believe that she will ever need anything besides a will.
Not my battle to wage, but I agree with you. I think that everyone, no matter their age, should have these things in place. Especially if you have minor children.
At least in NYC, to qualify for paratransit, you have to appear in person, which for some folks is tantamount to a Catch-22.
In your shoes, that is one appointment that I would volunteer to drive her to. It will solve many of her other issues, it appears.
Maybe her kids work there?
Yeah, insane isn't it?
I have been trying to help her get that sorted out. She qualifies for the services that come to her home, but some person has goofed up her application and trying to get it fixed is no joke.
But I would tell them that $20.00 pays for slightly less than an hour of what you have done, and the answer is NO.
I run a business and they would have a stroke if I billed them the hourly rate for my services. Believe me I have been tempted, but my friend would try to pay me and I would never do that to her.
If it wasn't for trying to save her feelings I could probably put this to bed, I don't want to make enemies out of her children.
My SIL befriended an elderly neighbor. When the woman was hospitalized SIL offered to care for her cat, even tho she doesn’t like cats. After she was released home SIL kept helping out daily, cleaning the litter box, making food, doing laundry, etc. After a couple of months of this she finally called the woman’s family and told them my brother was upset (not true) and she would have to stop. The woman was moved into AL within a month, her family was just taking advantage of SIL's kindness.
It truly is a shame that people take advantage of a helping hand. I suppose your SIL and others like her will always deal with that, but I would rather be the giver than the taker at the end of the day.
When my friend appears to have a need greater than the help provided I will help her decide what she wants to do. Hopefully she will be able to remain home with transportation being her only real need, that's an easy one for certain.
I experienced it a lot in China.
I learned to explain that to them and asked them if it was a gift where they expected nothing but a thank you in return. Only a yes or no answer will do. If they refuse then explain you are not interested.
You are viewed as the caretaker to all because you put yourself in the position of the caretaker with each choice you've made from moment one. Start another moment one. Start right this minute! Write down the things you're willing to do. Then whittle it down to the things you're really willing to do. Then whittle that down to the things you're really, really willing to do. When you have you're finished list, write down 3 or 4 sentences that you are comfortable with to express your limits. Use your words, your comfort. Say these written things to your friend and family. Hold onto that piece of paper to use whenever you need to reset your limits. Use the same words as a script so your words don't change and your message doesn't get lost in the heightened emotion of the act. Remember, you are the one who's changing the gig. You didn't say no, then followed their instruction and that meant yes. Do it. Take the steps laid out for you here. Modify my method to work yours effectively. The hardest part gets easier every time you pull out that script.
Setting limits is crucial for healthy relationships of every kind.
Yes, my friend should have thought about talking more openly to her children about what she would like from them when she gave up her car.
She fully planned on using the transit system until they informed her that she could take the bus so she doesn't qualify for the vantran transportation. Who in their right mind thinks that a 90 year old person can walk 5 blocks to a bus stop? Not even considering if she has groceries or ??? She would be a target for the lowlifes of this world.
I am sure that your friend appreciates you and all that you're doing for her.
Is it the daughter who gave tje gift card who said "you're getting paid"?
I think the gift card and that comment are not connected.
The kids are not helping their mom. If the OP thinks her friend needs more help, it behooves her to say to the kids "Your mom needs more help than one friend can give; are you having conversations with your mom about how to get her more support?".
Friends do not treat friends like that.
I would tell them that and block their phone number and make new friends.
Tell her family to prove that you are being paid. W-2 or copies of checks. If they really think that the gift card is full payment, then they are loony, and you need to walk away or see your friend on your terms.
This whole scenario sounds like no one has a clue as to what is really going on. Start asking questions.
• return the $20 gift card
• set boundaries (block the texts, calls, emails)
• talk openly/honestly with your friend about her children’s behavior
• walk away from the situation.
It seems that you are searching for a magic answer and resolution. People here are very supportive and willing to offer their wisdom, but no one can do this for you. If you really want out it’s up to you to handle it. As Oprah says: “ You teach people how to treat you.”
Best of luck.