Naples Senior Center gets new building

Reporter: Lindsey Sablan Writer: Joey Pellegrino
Published: Updated:
Rendering of the expanded senior center. Credit: WINK News

If we’ve all learned anything from 2020, we are social beings who often don’t cope well with isolation, something so many of our older family members deal with even when there isn’t a pandemic.

But the Naples Senior Center, dedicated to making sure our loved ones don’t feel alone as they age, has gotten the spot for their new building approved.  CEO Jaclynn Faffer spoke about how they’re designing the building to make sure, pandemic or not, they can continue to get seniors together.

Before the pandemic, the Naples Senior Center offered aerobics, hot meals and programs to help those battling dementia. While they’ve since closed the physical building, their virtual schedule has been jam-packed.

“Through that process, we’ve really learned, number one, how resilient our seniors are,” Faffer said. “And number two, sadly, how alone they are.”

The center’s been looking for a new home. Last month, Collier County commissioners approved a site at Autumn Oakes Lane and Oakes Boulevard. But the focus right now is outdoor space.

“One of the most popular clubs we have here at the center is our gardening club, and we will have beds for people to garden outside,” Faffer said. “We’ll have room for people to take tai chi, art classes.”

This space also allows seniors to get outside and maintain social distance, since we don’t know if the threat of COVID-19 will really ever go away for this population. And they’re paying attention to every detail to make it senior-friendly.

“Instead of having those concrete separators between each parking space, we’ll have landscaping, which is not a trip hazard,” Faffer said.

They will have elevators, and even paint to make sure the colors are invigorating for seniors, providing a safe, accessible and enjoyable place.

This weekend, WINK News anchor Lindsey Sablan will emcee the center’s virtual fundraiser “An Evening for Better Tomorrows.” On top of helping raise funds to build the new center,
$50 donations provide seniors with monthly transportation to the center and $250 donations provide electricity for an elderly person on oxygen.

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