Community Stories

Volunteers Rally to Help a Senior Get Better Sleep

February 17, 2023

Volunteers Rally to Help a Senior Get Better Sleep

The strength of community translated to a comfortable night of sleep in a new bed for a senior named Sherri. 

Three Heart2Heart volunteers recently helped Sherri assemble a new bed and throw out the old one — simple tasks that she just couldn’t manage on her own. 

“That someone you don’t even know would help and do something like that was amazing,” Sherri said. “I was very appreciative.”

A simple need

Sherri, 64, lives on her own in Coconut Creek. She used to have a roommate who went to college nearby and helped her around the house. When the young woman moved on, Sherri was left without someone to lift things for her and help in emergencies.   

She had been sleeping on an old futon. It wasn’t comfortable, even before the years wore its cushions down. It hurt Sherri’s back and hips when she slept on it. She had a new bed, but didn’t have the strength to move it or set it up. 

Heart2Heart delivers meals to Sherri through the Food for Hope program. Sherri mentioned to Volunteer Coordinator Antonella Salerno about the unassembled bed.

“I knew our amazing volunteer community could help,” Antonella said. “And they stepped up!” 

Antonella sent out the request via text message to the volunteers. Three volunteers responded that they were willing and able to help: Harvey Brisard, Itza Diaz, and Peter Capo. 

A huge help

Sherri freely admits that her home is over-cluttered with furniture and boxes. Most of it is from her mother’s home, which was cleaned out after the mother moved into an assisted living facility last summer. 

“I look around at this clutter, and it just makes me angry,” Sherri said. “With my depression, it’s like a teenager’s room. I want to clean it, but my brain doesn’t work with me.” 

Peter said he spent the first few minutes at Sherri’s home clearing enough space to move the old futon out and put the new bed together. 

“Between the three of us, we were able to assemble the bed and put it into her bedroom and that was it,” Peter said. “It wasn’t really that difficult.”

The three volunteers helped Sherri move some things to a dumpster nearby. The tasks were simple, and the volunteers weren’t at Sherri’s house very long. 

However, the effect was transformative. 

“It was very, very nice,” Sherri said. “Now I have a bed that doesn’t hurt anymore to sleep on.”

On her own

Aside from the weekly meal delivery, Heart2Heart is working to set up a relief volunteer for Sherri. She wants to learn to crochet, and a new volunteer wants to teach her. 

Sherri has been living in Coconut Creek for a few decades, but claims to still be a New Yorker at heart. Before the pandemic, she was active in Coconut Creek city government, participating in committees and attending city commission meetings. It’s trickier now, but she still participates in city meetings on Zoom. 

Aside from her mom, Sherri’s family, including two siblings, live out of state. She’s very close with her son, who lives in New York. 

Her father passed away recently, which changed her whole world, Sherri said. 

“He was my rock. We would talk every day on Skype. I could talk about anything to him,” she said. 

During the pandemic, she connected to a growing online community via Zoom. She made friends and played online games regularly. But these days her depression keeps her away from the chat rooms.

She wishes she could find another roommate to help her with small caregiving tasks.

“It just adds to the depression,” she said. “As much as I like being alone, I’d like to know someone is here.”

Join the Team!

Becoming a Heart2Heart volunteer means that you are dedicated to serving the aging community. It means you want to connect in a meaningful way to a specific individual or to several people. It means you are committed to a consistent amount of time per month – whether that’s several hours a week or just a few hours per month.

Heart2Heart volunteers must be background checked and trained. Our training can be completed from your home on your computer or device, through the online Volunteer Portal. We run fingerprints in our office in Fort Lauderdale, and you can schedule an appointment with us after you finish the training.

The first step is to create an account on our Volunteer Portal. To get started, click here!

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