Shari M. Geller
Shari M. Geller holds a Master of Social Work, a Certificate in Aging and Gerontology, and is a Certified Geriatric Care Manager. Shari has been working with seniors since 2005. She has been a member of the Aging Life Care Association (formerly NAPGCM) since 2005, the National Association of Social Workers and has proudly served on the Alzheimer’s Community Care Advisory Council of South Palm Beach County. Her vast experience in empowering seniors has provided Shari with an unparalleled knowledge of the area’s senior resources, which has allowed her to provide the best care to her clients.
“What I do is more than a job, it is a privilege. The services we provide to our clients and their families is something I take to heart. We aren’t in the business of checking off boxes, we specialize in caring for loved ones and establishing peace of mind. I always think to myself, this is someone’s mother, uncle, grandparent, or friend. This is a human life and I feel blessed that I have the skill set, and the opportunity to assist families, and their loved ones, and to make a positive difference in all of their lives.”
Leah Zoldan holds a Master of Social Work degree from Adelphi University, where she was named “Student of the Year” by the National Association of Social Workers. While working as Director of the Queens Criminal Court Program, she had the opportunity to work with the elderly population, providing counseling, advocacy, risk assessment and crisis management services. She also sat on the board of an elder abuse prevention organization, where representatives from several nonprofit agencies met regularly to discuss the many challenges the elderly are facing. Leah has proven to be a valuable asset to the Senior Options team and continues to provide an outstanding work ethic when serving her clients.
“I wake up every morning feeling good about the work that I have chosen to dedicate my life to. I strive to be that person that our client and families trust. Caring for the elderly is not only a huge responsibility, but a great privilege that I take very seriously. Each and every day is a new opportunity to refocus and make our client’s lives better and more fulfilling.”
Meryl Berdugo holds a Bachelor of Science in Special Education. She has worked with individuals with challenges ranging from emotional disorders, Down Syndrome, cognitive disorders, Autism, Asperger’s, as well as physically impaired individuals. Meryl applies her vast knowledge and experience with special needs individuals to elderly patients who suffer from similar disabilities and cognitive disorders. In addition, Meryl holds a certificate from the University of Miami Health Care Navigator Program. She works with patients by helping them navigate through the often complex health care system. Meryl’s latest and best accomplishment is the continued work she does with her therapy dog, Lola. She trained with Lola as her handler while working with patients in hospitals, drug rehabilitation centers and nursing homes. Meryl and Lola are known to leave all of our clients with smiles on their faces.
“When I see how individuals with addictions, psychological issues, Alzheimer’s and other neurocognitive disorders respond to Lola the second we walk into the room, it is absolutely amazing. Dogs can keep elderly patients engaged in mental stimulation and movement. Research has proven over and over again how petting, cuddling, hugging and talking to a dog can reduce stress, lower blood pressure, enhance fine motor skills, release endorphins, and decrease feelings of isolation and loneliness. Lola opens up a line of communication with the client. She allows me to push through, gain deeper insight, and facilitate healing.”
Lola is a Golden Doodle, one of the most intelligent breeds available. She has a curly coat that doesn’t shed and is even recommended for people who are severely allergic to dogs. Lola began training to become a therapy dog when she was four months old. After a year of intensive training, Lola passed her Canine Good Citizen Test then became certified as a pet therapy dog with Therapy Dogs International. Lola is part of the volunteer pet therapy program at Cleveland Clinic Florida. She also makes visits to the Senior Options clients. Lola is extremely affectionate and loving with babies, children, and adults.
“I am like a movie star. I can’t go anywhere without people stopping to talk to me and take my picture. I love to pose. I love when I walk into a room and I can cuddle with everyone. Once you meet me, your heart will melt. I also come very decorated. I love to wear feathers in my hair, bandanas around my neck, and beautiful bows. I love putting smiles on faces.”