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I’m quite disturbed about this, is it acceptable?

(194 Posts)
maddyone Tue 26-Apr-22 18:48:00

I’ve just returned from visiting my mother in her care home. Every time I visit, without fail, she asks me to go to the shop and buy something for her. Some things she asks for are perfectly reasonable, talcum powder, face cream, lip salve, birthday cards for various relatives, toothpaste. Other things not so reasonable, tins of soup, oxo, squash, bovril, sweets, rich tea biscuits, Pot Noodles, new cardigan, new jumpers, new underwear, shoes, and even money from her bank although there’s nothing to buy in the home. My daughter in law takes her a tv magazine every week. She complains vehemently if DiL can’t get the one she prefers and says she’s going to get DiL to go out again and get the one she wants. I told her she was not to do this as DiL has a full time job and is in the middle of moving house. I also talk to the staff and most of the food items are available, or can be made available, at the home. The food is lovely and the home offers three course meals twice a day and anything at all for breakfast plus home made cakes and biscuits.

Anyway the big question is that today, along with a request for tins of soup and something from her flat, she has asked me to buy a bottle of Disaronno. I didn’t even know what it was but it seems it’s an alcoholic drink, priced about £16. She wants it for one carer who she says is nice. She even got the carer in question to show it to me on her phone. Is this ethical? Is it allowed? I’m going to speak to the manager or deputy manager later this week when I go in. My gut feeling is that this is not right. Surely staff shouldn’t be accepting gifts like this from residents.

I should add that my husband says that the constant requests to get me to go out to buy things or get things from her flat are to do with her lifelong habit of trying to control me. He thinks she wants ensure I’m constantly doing something for her. She has narcissistic tendencies and was not a very good mother, in fact at times she was quite cruel, but she’s my mother and I try to do the best I can for her, as far as it is possible.

Sorry for long post.

MissAdventure Tue 26-Apr-22 18:51:57

No, I can't imagine any home where this would be acceptable.
Did the carer confirm that the drink was for her, or does she assume it's your mums tipple?

Shandy57 Tue 26-Apr-22 18:53:26

So the carer showed you the bottle on her phone? How does she expect a resident paying £££'s for her care to afford a gift like that? I feel angry on your behalf, this carer needs to be discplined.

Shandy57 Tue 26-Apr-22 18:53:47

disciplined even.

MissAdventure Tue 26-Apr-22 18:54:13

To cover themselves, the home should have a note and risk assessments covering your mum trying to buy them things, and they will also have clearly set out policies and procedures regarding gifts.

maddyone Tue 26-Apr-22 18:54:28

Thanks MissA.
Apparently my mum asked her what she likes to drink and that was what she said. My mum doesn’t drink alcohol at all any longer.

Ilovecheese Tue 26-Apr-22 18:55:00

What I think s not acceptable is your mother asking too much of you and your dil. Your husband is correct isn't he.

Shandy57 Tue 26-Apr-22 18:55:30

This has made me wonder, are all the things you have been buying going to this 'carer'?

MissAdventure Tue 26-Apr-22 18:57:18

You probably need to be careful, in case your mum is fabricating things (either intentionally or not) but ask what the policy is regarding gifts; it will be clearly labelled and kept in the office for any staff to access.

silverlining48 Tue 26-Apr-22 18:58:58

This is totally against the rules. You should speak to the manager.

maddyone Tue 26-Apr-22 18:59:15

Thank you Shandy. This really has quite disturbed me today.

MissAdventure Tue 26-Apr-22 19:00:43

Anything bought in for your mum should be logged by the home, in writing.

maddyone Tue 26-Apr-22 19:06:30

Yes Ilovecheese my mother has tried to manipulate me all my life and you’re correct that on top of the problem regarding the carer today, she is constantly asking for other things. I don’t think they’re for the carer, I think that my husband is correct (he knows her well) in that she’s trying to exercise control over me, to ensure I’m always having to get something or other for her. The money worries me. When she went into the home she insisted on keeping £100 in her purse. They didn’t want her to as there’s no need to buy anything in the home. Even hairdressing is adding to the monthly account and paid from her bank, simply no need to buy anything. So where’s £100 gone? Maybe she’s given her grandsons a bit when they’ve visited but I can’t imagine where else it has gone. Her memory is poor so she probably wouldn’t remember.

maddyone Tue 26-Apr-22 19:09:30

I confess MissA that when I take in talc and face cream as I did yesterday I just take it straight up to her room.
They did log all her belongings when she first arrived. I’ve taken in more of her clothes since but all have been named and returned to her.
It is a beautiful home. I don’t want to cause trouble, but this alcohol thing worries me.

toscalily Tue 26-Apr-22 19:09:40

Not nice to think what may or not be going on, could there be a carer(s) making suggestions of what they would like receive possibly not only to your mother but also to other residents ? I do hope not but this really has to be run past the management.

MissAdventure Tue 26-Apr-22 19:10:14

It is the homes duty to keep adequate and clear records, and to manage issues like this, so they are blame free, and clear in their dealings with vulnerable people.

MissAdventure Tue 26-Apr-22 19:12:08

It's possible your mum has just got it into her head that she wants to treat the carer, and the carer is unaware of any of this.

maddyone Tue 26-Apr-22 19:14:00

Yes, I think that she wants to treat the carer, but the carer must know because mum called her into her room and got her to show me the product on her phone.

MissAdventure Tue 26-Apr-22 19:16:02

I would do the same regarding the talc and cream; no point making hard work for everyone.
But, ultimately whatever the circumstances surrounding larger items, the home needs to show they are crystal clear and above suspicion, as well as protecting your mum's interests.

toscalily Tue 26-Apr-22 19:19:01

But surely it is not acceptable to be giving alcohol in a nursing home situation except perhaps at Christmas and surely the carer should be declining not actively showing what she wants?

MissAdventure Tue 26-Apr-22 19:19:07

Surely a carer wouldn't openly show you what your mum is planning to buy her?
It makes no sense.

maddyone Tue 26-Apr-22 19:23:02

I don’t know, it’s just disturbed me. I’m definitely going to speak to management about it. I can’t go in for the next couple of days but my husband says he’ll go tomorrow and he’s going to tell mum it’s not the done thing. It could get bigger couldn’t it? Mum could have me getting things for all the carers. Whenever mum dies we will certainly give a gift, but that’s different.

SueDonim Tue 26-Apr-22 19:28:41

I remember your previous post about how your mum gets you running round after her, Maddyone. It’s really not on and there’s one little word that can stop it. No. I cannot see how your mother can fight against a refusal. You cannot control your mother’s actions but you are able to control your own actions. You have the power to end this.

The alcohol thing - it sounds wrong and I would not buy it.

Grandmafrench Tue 26-Apr-22 19:31:16

Poor you, maddyone - can't do right for doing wrong and having extra worry about your Mum even though she's now in a Care Home and despite your visits and attempting to cater to her various needs.

I would think a word with the Home would put your mind at rest, but it is very important that the Home Manager makes it clear to both staff and residents (and this is usually stated in the home's brochure and rules for those looking for a place as well as staff members) that sums of money - other than small sums - should be lodged in the Home's safe and signed for if residents are able to take charge of small sums themselves. No gifts should be bought or ever accepted by any members of staff and if something important is required as a purchase by a resident's family, this should also be mentioned to the Home Manager because it's not unusual for residents to develop odd ideas or make claims regarding alleged theft of their possessions etc.,

Your Mum should be informed often that the large sum paid for her fees includes all of her care. Personal items - make up, toiletries, new clothing, etc., can be discussed with her family but certainly all her care, meals, outings from the Home, laundry, cleaning, would be included in the fees. It is not unusual for items such as the bill for visiting hairdresser, chiropodist, delivery of newspapers and magazines to be extras, and payment for such items can always be agreed by the family and be paid for along with the monthly Care Home fees as normal. There is no need - and it's quite risky - for your Mum to have access to any sums of money or be handling cheques or cash herself in an environment which is not as private as you would possibly like.

It does sound very much as if your Mother is exercising her remaining bits of 'power' - ordering you around, getting your DiL to run about like a servant if something is wrong, and certainly in wishing you to buy 'presents' on her behalf for staff. Any decent Home Management would frown on the purchase of alcohol for staff by vulnerable or elderly folk in their care. This could lead to all sorts of abuse.

Not sure how long she has been in a Care Home, but maybe she still feels that this is not her home, more like an Hotel, if she thinks that items can still be delivered from her previous home and that you will jump each time she gives an order! Whatever her motives, I'd agree with your DH, and irrespective of her age I reckon that she still thinks she can control you. Maybe this is because you are letting her? Being very kind now and very understanding, BUT very firm, might work better. And don't feel guilty. Many people in Care Homes have no visitors or anyone to be interested in them. Your Mum is lucky because you and your family are obviously doing your very best, so please stop worrying and try to stop being her lackey.

Why not check with the staff that she is eating well and, if necessary, keep an eye on her weight. I'm sure she will be weighed regularly and records kept. If she is eating well and her weight's stable, she'll have no need for Pot Noodles, Oxo, tins of soup or anything else. Asking for something she fancies when her meals are discussed is the way forward. This is no longer your job, you must just encourage her to speak up to those who are running the restaurant where she now eats!

I wish you the best of luck and hope that your Mother settles.

Iam64 Tue 26-Apr-22 19:44:44

The gift for the carer sounds dodgy maddyone. I’m sure it’s against rules or protocol to give gifts of any kind. It all sounds most peculiar.
It’s a good idea to speak to the manager. I remember your mum being quite demanding. I’d be inclined to be less willing to fulfill her demands. Look after yourself