A daily 'sunshine' call could be a lifesaver

211 service for seniors

MARTIN COUNTY, Fla. - Judi Smith has a home full of antiques, but it's the call from her antique phone she looks forward to each day.

This is her “sunshine” call from 211 of the Palm Beaches and Treasure Coast.

"Sometimes it’s the only contact I have with another person," says Smith, of Stuart.

Sunshine calls is a free program that not only provides seniors with a connection, it allows them to retain their independence.

“You know the best thing is to keep them in their homes if that’s a good option for them and this program certainly does that," said Patrice Schroeder with the 2-1-1 service.

The program works where you provide 2-1-1 a phone number, either a landline or a cellphone.  They’ll call twice and if you don’t pick up, then they’ll call a backup you provide.  If that person isn't around, the authorities are alerted to perform a welfare check.

For Michelle Moran, 2-1-1 provided piece of mind for her and her ailing dad when she lived out of town.

“Just be able to check in on him and make sure that everything’s going okay and receive that phone call every day. Sometimes if I’m home and I hear him answer the phone, he knows everybody by name," said Moran.

Judi Smith recalled the time a few years ago when she took a fall in her backyard.  She didn't answer her sunshine call, so a call went to her daughter, who contacted her neighbors who spotted her.

“I sounded like that recording, 'I’ve fallen and I can’t get up,' " laughed Smith.

Smith took part in an anniversary celebration for the program this week, which counts more than 500 clients in the area, and is looking for more.

Calls are made daily between 7:30 and 5 p-m.  If you’re interesting in registering, just call 2-1-1.

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