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June 20, 2016

211: HOPE WHEN YOU NEED IT MOST

by PBUnitedWay

Our monthly Partner Agency Spotlight recognizes Town of Palm Beach United Way partner agencies that are passionate and dedicated to bringing about change in our community.

211 has been a Town of Palm Beach United Way partner agency since 1981. They are a community helpline and crisis helpline that provides suicide prevention, crisis intervention, information, assessment and referral to community services for people of all ages.

One program funded by the Town of Palm Beach United Way is Sunshine Daily Telephone Reassurance. It is a free telephone reassurance program to check on the well-being of seniors, the homebound or disabled. Many are frail, living alone and with a real risk that there could be a life-threatening development (or even a death) which would not be identified on a timely basis if 211 were not regularly checking on their well-being. Sunshine participants receive a friendly “hello” each day at a specified time and have the opportunity to talk for a few minutes about what is going on in their lives.

Louise** is a 90 year old woman who lives alone. At her usual 8 a.m. call, 211’s Sunshine Telephone Daily Reassurance volunteer tried to reach Louise but no one answered the phone. After an hour of trying, the volunteer called her backup who said that she would go next door and check on her neighbor. In about 10 minutes the backup called to say that no one answered the door and she was concerned because the client’s car was in the driveway so the neighbor was pretty sure that Louise was home. 211 then called law enforcement for a well-being check. When they arrived they could faintly hear someone calling for help. Upon entering the home the officer found Louise lying on the floor with a cut on her head and apparently dazed. Louise had tripped and fallen the evening before and had hit her head. She was on the floor for 14 hours, before being transported to the hospital.

Louise is safe, was taken to a rehabilitation facility, and is working with the family to decide whether the she can return safely to her home.

How it Makes a Difference

Sunshine Telephone Reassurance helps isolated elders and homebound disabled adults in Palm Beach County.

By calling each client on a daily basis, volunteers provide contact with the outside world and a measure of security to some of Palm Beach County’s most vulnerable residents. If the client fails to answer the phone or answers the phone and sounds distressed, action is taken to ensure the well-being of the individual.

How You Can Help

To learn more about 211 or to get involved please visit their website here.

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