Guest opinion: Providing a safety net for seniors during tough times

Naples Senior Center is all about connection. We opened our doors in 2014…

Guest opinion: Providing a safety net for seniors during tough times 1
Guest opinion: Providing a safety net for seniors during tough times 2

In times of crisis, communities find strength in people and people find strength in their communities.

Regardless of your age or experience, I think everyone will agree that this past year has been the most challenging we have ever experienced. In response, the Naples Senior Center board, staff and volunteers have joined with our community to be a resource for older adults in Collier and southern Lee Counties.

Across our community, seniors represent a key source of strength and resilience. Each of us at Naples Senior Center witnessed this firsthand as we worked with those 60 years of age and older to stay safe, connected and experience good times during the dark days of the COVID-19 pandemic. We all became stronger as we worked together to not only survive, but to thrive, during the global health crisis.

Each year in May, the Administration for Community Living leads our nation’s observance of Older Americans Month. This year’s theme is “Communities of Strength,” recognizing the important role older adults play in fostering the connection and engagement that build strong, resilient communities.

Naples Senior Center is all about connection. We opened our doors in 2014 to give seniors the tools needed to address life’s challenges, like the isolation and loneliness faced by so many older adults. The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged us in ways we never thought possible. Social distancing and stay at home recommendations have placed our senior population at greater risk of isolation and loneliness.

This year, Naples Senior Center will celebrate Older Americans Month by encouraging our senior community to stay safe, stay connected and stay strong. We also will celebrate our accomplishments.

Since the pandemic began in March 2020, Naples Senior Center has achieved the following:

  • Delivered 3,360 hot meals and food pantry supplies to food insecure seniors;
  • Provided 664 virtual dementia respite programs and 62 programs for caregivers;
  • Offered 976 virtual senior center activity programs, including art, music, dance, exercise, and educational lectures and discussion groups;
  • Logged 4,478 hours of volunteer service, including 15,533 phone calls to senior center members.

Perhaps our biggest success was getting shots in the arms of older adults, especially those over age 80 and who lack access to technology. In January, Naples Senior Center partnered with the Collier County Department of Health and has since successfully assisted nearly 7,500 seniors in getting their first and second COVID-19 vaccinations. Ten percent of those vaccinated through this partnership are veterans.

During this difficult past year, Naples Senior Center has remained a source of strength for our community’s seniors.  We pledge to continue being strong and resilient, even long after the pandemic is far in the past. To join Naples Senior Center in this important mission – this month and throughout the year — please visit www.NaplesSeniorCenter.org or call the center at (239)325-4444.


Dr. Jaclynn Faffer is President/CEO of the Naples Senior Center, a nonprofit organization that provides comprehensive, “one-stop-shop” professional services and programs for local seniors and their families.

error

Enjoy our news? Please spread the word :)