The round, Formica kitchen table was cluttered with prescription bottles, bowls, pens and a misshapen pile of papers, statements, and envelopes. The client’s wheelchair was up against the table and her smile welcomed me into her home. I hadn’t seen her for several years and her husband had just passed. She looked good considering the circumstances.
As we began to discuss the recent events, she started rummaging through the pile of papers and envelopes. “Here it is,” she said with a satisfied grin and handed me a bank statement to review. We went back and forth with several questions and answers about social security, pensions, and joint accounts and then we started discussing where we go from here. As we settled into the conversation and discussed some recommendations, she would occasionally rummage through the pile of papers and find more questions. The top envelope on that pile never lost its place. It became apparent to me that the “ask Brian” envelope needed to stay on top and that she had been accumulating that pile in anticipation of this meeting for some time.
On the front of that envelope was her script handwriting with the name of that pile. This was the “ask Brian” pile. Not the “pay bills” pile, or the “to do” pile, but the “ask Brian” pile. She caught my smile when I saw the envelope and she asked, “What?” and I shared that I have seen that pile many times, even at my own parents’ home. As I thought more of it, there have been many clients through the years that have pulled that same pile in front of them as we met in their kitchen, living room, my office or even in their bedroom. I’ve seen that pile on kitchen, living room and conference tables and on the bed tray. Sometimes that pile was held together with a rubber band or several binder clips and now that I think of it – that “ask Brian” pile has been around for years.
This January will be my 20 year anniversary as an elder law attorney and it wasn’t until that moment, when that smile spread across my face, when I truly felt and realized in a tangible way that my clients rely on the advice and direction I give them as we navigate through their questions and elder care issues.
I humbly and gratefully accept the responsibility of helping seniors and caregivers with their own pile of questions and will always continue to help and be there for each new client’s pile of questions.
Whether you are a client of ours or just have those questions piling up, please feel free to reach out and let us help. It’s my goal to use this blog as a way to share information and answer your questions. Some I can certainly answer in this format, while others may require more in-depth attention. So please let me know what questions you have and I will do my best to answer each one. I hope you enjoy this new blog approach and please don’t forget to “ask Brian.”