to return payment for volunteered task

(20 Posts)

A couple of years ago my 83 yr old neighbour would knock on my door when he could hear violence. His timely knocks saved me from some horrible situations. I've since reminded him and thanked him but Alzheimer's has kicked in and he doesn't remember.

I've been doing some neighbourly things for him over the last few months, appointments and organising transport etc. Now the plants are growing I've cut our joint hedge, his front lawn, and today his back lawn.

I caught him as I was popping to the shoo and said I would take a look when I got back. He said he wanted to give me something for it. I said no. He kinda implored, then suggested five pounds. So, I said great five pounds, mostly so that he could feel like he was paying and to end the awkward conversation.

I mowed the lawn. It was knee high and took nearly three hours, which was what I was expecting really. I felt great for having done it. Proud of myself. Now I feel terrible.

I tried to avoid the fiver but needed my extension lead. He pressed some money in to my hand. As it was change wrapped I a note I could feel it was more than the fiver so I said, we agreed a fiver. He said no, you agreed a fiver. Then he sort of alluded to having done alright for himself when younger. I said if there was more than a fiver there I'd post it back through the door. He seemed a little hurt and said he would have had to get someone to do it if I hadn't so I left with a suggestion of sharing an icecream in the garden the next sunny evening.

He gave me £25. He lives in a ha house, collects a state pension (I know as I helped in gill out a form that need the code off his letter). I have no idea if he has other money but it seems kind of unlikely. He worked as a truck driver and that kind if thing.

What if he forgets he gave it to me, and thinks he's lost it or I've stolen it. He forgets a lot now, asked me if my name was Lucy today for instance and we speak multiple times a week since I moved here three weeks ago. I don't feel good about doing the garden now, whereas I did have a lovely sense of achievement and kind of paying him back for saving me those times.

Should I ignore any potential embarrassment he might feel for having things done for him for free and do what I suggested- put the extra £20 in a card through his door with a note to explain that the fiver was what we agreed? Is that what you would do?

rookiemere Thu 09-Jun-16 22:41:15

To be absolutely honest in your situation, I'd keep the money.
You did a 3 hour job for him, you've helped him loads and probably are allowing him to stay in his own home for longer than he might be able to do otherwise. He wanted you to have it, so I say keep it.

Shallishanti Thu 09-Jun-16 22:44:47

hmmm, very tricky
does he have a carer or anybody who keeps an eye on him (you could discreetly give the money back to them?)
I think there's a lot to be said for allowing people the dignity of paying for work done, or otherwise returning a favour- I get that you feel YOU are returning the favour OP, but he doesn't remember that seemingly
would it work for you to say 'it's very kind of you but I really don't want it - I'll give it to a charity'

EveryoneElsie Thu 09-Jun-16 22:47:50

Let him pay and dont worry. He likes you and trusts you, he has looked out for you, and he would rather the cash went to you than a stranger he would have to hire.
You can always use the cash to treat him - bake a home made cake or something.

MotherOfGlob Thu 09-Jun-16 22:56:29

As EveryoneElsie says, maybe you could use some of it to treat him? Perhaps make something nice to take round for his evening meal one night?

He doesn't have a carer. His stepson has stopped coming, hasn't been for nearly a year. When I asked him for next of kin details for a form, he said there was no one- he doesn't have contact details for stepson and elderly sister is a few counties over and he's confused about her contact details.

I've spoken to the receptionist at his GP and they don't seem to think his living situation is unusual, but they've put me down to get his appointment details so I can make sure he gets community transport sorted. He gets to the shops everyday and goes out to a community meet and eat for the elderly, so he's not isolated. His meds get delivered in a tray that's organised by day and time, so I'm not sure he needs a carer yet. He could cope with the garden last year. He's just more dithery since his last fall.

He asked my name today confused I really don't want him to remember taking the money out but forgetting giving it to me.

Wish he had just given me the fiver. I feel much more comfortable with that amount.

Thank you for the opinions.

I could definitely bake something. Maybe remind him at the same time that he paid me- though I can't think of an unawkward way of doing that

TheFutureMrsB Thu 09-Jun-16 23:05:51

If he tries to offer you the payment again just say that he's already paid, no need to remind him. What your doing is really nice and it just shows that he appreciates it.

Foslady Thu 09-Jun-16 23:07:31

I'm sure he'd love a bit of home baking - it always goes down a treat

ZigZagIntoTheBlue Thu 09-Jun-16 23:08:40

You're over thinking it, he gave you the money and it would offend him to have it returned. He's also correct that it would cost him way more to have someone else come and do it so I'd just bake him something if you'd know what he likes and leave the money issue alone. And well done for all that mowing in this heat! He's lucky to have a neighbor like you smile

Thank you, baking it is.

A friend warned me off taking him meals when I suggested I was thinking of doing that, as apparently it is not good for someone to get dependent in case you stop being able to do it. Which might happen as I've had a hospitalisation and a close call recently.

But random cake has no such danger grin

Thank you mn, I feel more at ease now.

AliceInUnderpants Thu 09-Jun-16 23:19:17

I totally understand your discomfort.

Me and exH have been separated/divorced nearly 8 years. His grandparents were always like parents to him. His gran has really been struggling since his grandad died a couple of years ago, and as I am not working, I have been helping her out a bit. I see her a couple of times a week, take her to doctor's appointments, grab shopping and try to get her out of the house whenever she is feeling up to it. She always tries to give me money. Last week she tried to persuade the cashier in Tesco to put my shopping through on her bill. She tries to give me petrol money - she offered me £20 petrol money for taking her the 5 minute drive to Morrisons!! (It turned out this is what her other grandson charges her for doing so angry) We have compromised somewhat now, by allowing her to treat me to a coffee in the cafe every few weeks after we do some shopping. She still occasionally bullies me (haha) into taking the odd fiver, which I tell her I will split between my two daughters.

It's a hard line between allowing her to show her gratitude in this way (that sounds totally wanky I know, but she really does get offended if I won't take anything) and me not wanting her to feel she owes me anything - she's done so much for my daughters in the past 11 years, I could never repay her.

I feel like I am the lucky one tbh. His walking stick wrapping the door saved me from some scary situations (since resolved). He didn't have to get involved, many people don't, and he just treated me normally when I know he could hear the worst of it, which really helped me feel like a human being.

Shame he doesn't remember. Alzheimer's is horrible. He doesn't remember being heroic. As pp said, he probably feels like I am doing him favours whereas I feel like there's more in the bank in the opposite direction...

lilydaisyrose Thu 09-Jun-16 23:25:02

You sound lovely OP, I can't even be bothered doing my own garden!

I think you need to keep the money so as not to offend but be prepared, of course, to not get paid next time. If I was you, I'd bake with £5 and donate the other £20 to Help the Aged or Altzheimers England (no idea if this exists, but there is an Altzheimers Scotland so assume there must be!).

That's totally it Alice you can see the offense in eyes, hear it in voice, and yet you feel grateful to them.

I don't think it will be an ongoing issue as the lady on the end is asking some other neighbours professional gardener daughter to price it up for him.

I just knew he was feeling embarrassment at being the last house with long grass, except for the neighbour who everyone 'hates'.

It's a nice road, we all mingle, half ha, half bought ex-council. Never lived anywhere with such a genuine community feel. I feel lucky about that too.

lilydaisyrose Thu 09-Jun-16 23:26:45

*Alzheimers (sorry)

Egosumgism Fri 10-Jun-16 04:23:15

He's lucky you're his neihbour and it sounds like you've benefitted in the past too.

£5 isn't much so keeping it to keep him happy and baking a cake (to make him happier) seems like a nice compromise.

I'd put the £20 in his house somewhere. In the kitchen when taking a cake around perhaps.

VioletBam Fri 10-Jun-16 04:54:49

Oh isn't it hard! My elderly neighbour often needs help but we didn't want money....so she fixed it by giving my DD money! She tends to give DD a fiver when she sees her after we've done some task for her.

She never asked us but she knew we wouldn't take it off DD!

I am really moved by the thought of him knocking on your door during those bad times OP. There's something so touching about that.

doesntmatterwhoyouare Fri 10-Jun-16 05:11:14

We have the same with mil of course we want to help with the house, garden etc but she insists on paying us for big jobs. As pp we let her give a little to the kids (they kind of help although are only toddlers) so they get a toy after a boring day watching us working.

Personally I'd keep it and use it to treat him now and then with baking, icecream etc

Applejack29 Fri 10-Jun-16 05:39:45

I agree with everyone else, treat him to something that you can share with him - like the homemade cake.

You both sound lovely btw flowers for both of you.

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