What do you call a person who needs assistance in a general sense?

This could be in terms of needing help finding something, or needing a small job done, or help understanding something, or getting an opinion on something.

Pretty much just being helped or assisted in general, not necessarily due to an inability to do the task themselves.

  • You'd call them a "client" if you really wanted the job.
    – Oldbag
    Commented Mar 1, 2015 at 14:24
  • 1
    If those helped get assistance from an organization, they may be patrons, patients, customers, recipients, consumers, guests, users, shoppers, purchasers (or clients as @Oldbag offers).
    – bib
    Commented Mar 1, 2015 at 19:55
  • In the US, the current fashion in retail is to call the customers "guests" - In the quasi-medical business of aiding the challenged or disabled,(who are not children) the term "client" is favored. (I assumed from OP's question, that he was offering services to the elderly - "client" is a respectful way of saying that someone is a recipient of those services.)
    – Oldbag
    Commented Mar 1, 2015 at 23:51

3 Answers 3


I believe that person is help-seeker; similar to job seeker, asylum seeker, truth seeker, thrill seeker, information seeker, publicity seeker and attention seeker.

  • 2
    The OP's question does not suggest that the person concerned is seeking help, just that they are in need. Many such people do not actively seek assistance.
    – WS2
    Commented Mar 1, 2015 at 11:34
  • +1 @ WS2 In this case then he/she is help-needing.The OP is asking for a word.
    – sojourner
    Commented Mar 1, 2015 at 12:08
  • 1
    Except that help-needing is not a term I would use, nor expect to hear. I do, though hear people talk about someone in need of help.
    – WS2
    Commented Mar 1, 2015 at 15:05
  • assistance seekers :)
    – Lambie
    Commented Jan 2, 2023 at 16:33

Could it be a person in need?; or a person in need of help?


If you are looking for an abstract term, it could be "beneficiary," I suppose. By the way, there is already another question on this subject.

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