Monday through Friday I watch for the mail. My office sits across from the mailboxes at the HUD subsidized senior living community where I serve as a Services Coordinator through the Council on Aging of Buncombe County. I dare to say that watching for the mail is one of the most important parts of my job. My typical day consist of multiple phone calls or office visits from residents seeking assistance with resources and information. The other portion of my day is spent bringing in wellness services and educational programs focused on older adults. Simplified, the intended purpose of my job is to help improve the quality of life for 127 residents of Vanderbilt Apartments.
It is not always easy to share concerns or ask for help. The reasons can be vast; pride, burn out, lack of trust, feelings of inadequacy, or not knowing how to advocate for oneself are a few of the common origins. Daily I am asked by residents, “has the mail run today?”. I am able to answer yes or no, ask, “how are you doing today?”, and then ask, “is there anything I might be able to help you with?”. Usually, at first, the answer to my last question is a no. But that is okay. The mail will run tomorrow. So again, building off of the previous conversations we might have had, I ask again. And I ask again. And again, and again. Lack of transport? I can help with that. Financial assistance with an outstanding medical bill? I can help with that. Phones, applications, food assistance, research, doctors, in home assistance, I can help with that. Trust is built through these simple consistent conversations. Within the conversations we are able to identify the needs, discuss solutions, and connect to services. Slowly stripping away any feeling of worry or fear and replacing it with self-efficacy and motivation.
So I know, every day, the mail will run. I will be watching for it.