Guest column: Senior center about to open in Naples

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Photo by Elizabeth Stone Feldman

By Dr. Jaclyn Pfaffer

Naples

Executive director

Jewish Family & Community Services

On Jan. 22, the first senior center in Collier County will open its doors to begin to offer a wide range of stimulating socialization activities for adults 60 years of age and older.

Located at 5025 Castello Drive in Naples, the center is developed and operated by Jewish Family & Community Services of Southwest Florida (JFCS), a non-sectarian social service agency serving Collier and southern Lee counties. Recognized by the Older Americans Act as a community focal point, senior centers have become one of the most widely used services among older adults.

The activities and programs of a senior center speak to important human needs that are often difficult to address as one ages, loses loved ones and struggles with isolation.

In its very simplest form, a senior center provides activities that foster socialization, creativity and intellectual stimulation.

This is exactly what the JFCS Senior Center will do. Here is a snapshot of JFCS Senior Center activities:

Lunch and More: a weekly hot lunch followed by enjoyable and intellectually stimulating programming.

The Café: Where seniors can have a hot or cold drink and light snack and sit and chat.

Computer Skills Lab: Microsoft-based computers and IPads will be available to help seniors learn new skills or finely tune existing skills.

Arts and Music Program: Instruction, lectures and hands-on experiences.

Card Games: For the experienced and those needing instruction.

Community Partnership Program: Creating a “one-stop shop,” JFCS will offer, free of charge, two offices for non-profit organizations providing information for our seniors. Currently on board are the Sheriff’s Department, Collier County Department of Social Services, Collier Area Transportation and SeniorChoices (Area Agency on Aging).

Membership for the JFCS Senior Center will be $15 per year, per person. Scholarships are available for seniors who have difficulty adding that to their budget and, like all JFCS programs, no one will be turned away because of inability to pay.

The Center will initially be open one day a week and will gradually increase days of operation.

Many thanks to our generous community of philanthropists, and to our community partner agencies. Already stepping up to the plate are BMO Private Bank, Collier County Community Foundation, Moorings Park and VITAS Innovative Hospice Care. Current program partners include Artis—Naples, and we know there are more to come!

For more information or to get involved, please contact me at 325-4444 or jfaffer@jfcsswfl.org

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