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A goodbye from adult protection services

Updated: Aug 2, 2022

Today I say goodbye after more than two years as a professional legal guardian. During this time I have learned an incredible amount, laughed, cursed boisterously from time to time and shed a tear now and then.

As a leagal guardian in adult protection services, it was my duty to represent 59 people according to the decision of the court. This representations were as unique as each person in itself was. For some this was mainly limited to asset management, for others I was challenged in subject areas that went far beyond that.

I have been confronted with situations that have been deeply saddening, others amusing. I have spent hours filling out taxes, blocking cell phone subscriptions and accompanying people where they were unable to find their own way in the structures of our society. Adult protectiv services calls this an existing state of weakness. Every one of my clients has such an existing state of weakness; partly caused by a disability, an accident, by old age, a mental illness or simply from a very difficult or stressful life situation. What these people also have are unimaginable resources and strategies to cope with life, as original and peculiar as only the person and his life story can write them.

I remember Mrs. B. who advised me shortly before her death to spend more time with eating cake and beautiful men, Mr. F. who taught me that it is possible to generate a telephone bill of CHF 390 in no time at a Selecta machine, Mr. T. who ordered love horoscopes for the Sagittarius woman worth CHF 3,600, Mrs. Z. who stole the same perfume in 15 pharmacies in one day and always had the foresight to hand out my business card, Mr. X. who stole the most interesting things and had the even better explanations for them, Mr. B. a wheelchair user who ordered two abdominal scooters in the Mediashop, as well as some bamboo cushions, the use of which I still don't understand today... I could probably talk endlessly about these moments now.

What touched me deeply, however, were those moments in which they let me participate in some way in their most difficult, darkest and most beautiful or even last hours. Those conversations in which I was allowed to look deep into the soul of these people, the doors that you opened for me factually and symbolically. The moments when we were just two people trying to make the best out of a situation. Those were the moments when I found my profession wonderful, instructive and unsurpassably great. Moments that were worth every administrative and bureaucratic struggle.

On average, I would have had only about 13 minutes for each of these people per month. Those 13 minutes should have included everything, every payment, every taxdeclaration, every home or nursing home visit, every conversation. So it came to pass that more and more often the feeling of not having enough time crept up on me. I prioritized pile after pile of concerns and problems according to how-bad-it-really-is. Admittedly, I wasn't really good at that, which was part of what led to my decision to leave that job.

I no longer want to have no time to listen to my clients and already be looking for a solution with my thoughts. I want to be fully present in the moment when a person needs another person, to be able to listen and to be supportive.

I don't think that professional legal guardianship is made for that. That's too bad, because it's a wonderfully colorful, diverse and exciting profession. If I could change the state's budget, I would probably assign half as many clients to each guardian. But that is another topic. Today I just say thank you. Thank you for trusting me. Sometimes more and sometimes less.

Thank you for the touching and kind cards, words, gifts and all the great and intense

and intense times with you and your loved ones.

It has been an honor to be by your side.

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