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Clients We Can't Help

Most of our phone calls from potential clients start with "What is it exactly that you do?" I try to sum up our services, because it's not only long but it varies so much depending on what is needed so I don't want to bore anyone with details they aren't interested in. And as I make my way down the list, I usually hear that response to something I've said that needs more details. Because often the caller isn't even sure themselves what they need.

"Well, we help with everything from organizing, transitioning, downsizing, aging in place, real estate..."

"Oh! We do want to stay where we are." "If you're looking to age in place, we can help sort and organize your home to make sure it's meeting your current needs, and that might include clearing out spaces for health or safety reasons." On this day the first phone call was a 24 minute call from a retiree who heard us speak at a presentation where we mentioned we could help with clutter and she thought, that's exactly what she needed. She just wasn't sure what that help looked like. The more we talked about the needs of her and her husband, her fears started to come out. Mainly her desire to stay where they are safely but their fears of not knowing how to afford help or ask for help, and the overwhelming isolation that comes with feeling the weight of the world on your shoulders with no where to turn. She was someone who found purpose in helping others, but wasn't sure how to ask for help in return. Without family or kids to turn to, she has been suffering silently. Her home has accumulated into a state she couldn't control on her own. Her voice shook as she told me things she hasn't shared with anyone yet, because she didn't know who to tell. I listened to her tell me how she wishes she were 30 years younger so she could take care of her home the way she needed it to be cared for and she's embarrassed of the state things have fallen. She told me, "I didn't choose this. This isn't who I am." She is heartbroken and tired. I assured her, we've seen it all. We have solutions and options for everything. Our purpose is to give our clients peace of mind and to connect them with solutions for the problems they're faced with. We are here to take the weight off her shoulders. As we planned our next step to help this couple age in place, on a budget, she paused to disclose that recently she's been exhausted and frustrated by bug bites through the night. It's gotten so bad she can't sleep. This did put a pause on our plans. We cannot risk exposing other clients to potential infestations. And while she thoroughly understood we needed to address this first before we could assign organizers to help her, it was suddenly another huge obstacle both financially and emotionally. Another giant boulder of weight to add to her already over flowing plate. Once again, I assured her that we are here to help. After reaching out to our network for guidance, we connected her with the ND Aging and Disability Resource LINK (1-855-462-5465) who not only listened to her concerns but qualified her for services she desperately needed in order for her and her husband to stay safe and with the goal to keep them in their current home. She felt heard and cared for through the whole call. Not only was there a plan to take care of the bugs that were introduced to her home through no fault of her own, but suddenly there was a plan for paying for the costs of cleaning and providing in home medical care for her husband who was committed to staying in his home as long as possible. She called me after finishing her call with NDADR to tell me the good news, but also to tell me how many times she looked at our phone number and couldn't bring herself to call. She would tell herself it was after hours, it was the weekend, it was too difficult to talk through but today she wished she called sooner. She wished she didn't wait until she was at the end of her rope. After a day of calling back and forth our calls got shorter but more hopeful and her voice changed with every call. The heavy, exhausted voice on the other end this morning was a light and cheery voice that afternoon.

This day started with a phone call from someone who was sure they would be a client that we couldn't help given her current situation. Taking a deep breathe and making the call lead to solutions to problems she didn't consider even asking for help for.

Today was a reminder that the clients we can't help are the ones who never pick up the phone and call. Share abiRiver with your friends and family! Help get the word out, you never know who is secretly carrying the weight of the world and silently struggling with figuring out what comes next.

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