Naples Senior Center, a nonprofit organization that provides comprehensive programs and social services for seniors, received a proclamation from the Board of Collier County Commissioners recognizing and expressing deep appreciation for the efforts of its leadership, staff and volunteers in assisting thousands of local seniors in obtaining COVID-19 vaccine appointments during the global pandemic.
In January, Naples Senior Center President/CEO Dr. Jaclynn Faffer met with Commissioner Penny Taylor and explained that seniors were having a tremendous challenge accessing the COVID-19 vaccine in our community, particularly those age 80 and older and who lacked the technology needed to book an appointment with the state.
After further discussions, a pilot program was established through the Florida Department of Health (FDOH) – Collier whereby Naples Senior Center would be given a link to register 100 seniors for the vaccine. The pilot program was a success and the center continued the partnership with FDOH until April 16, 2021, when saturation was reached.
Once it became known that Naples Senior Center was securing vaccine appointments for seniors, gated communities, civic groups and hospitals began referring seniors, and when the number of incoming calls exceeded capacity, the center added phone lines so staff and volunteers could help every older adult in the community who wanted it. The center also contracted with a home health care company to provide transportation when needed.
“Through the diligent efforts of staff and volunteers at the Naples Senior Center, an estimated 7,400 seniors obtained a vaccine appointment, including six seniors over the age of 100 and more than 700 veterans,” said Commissioner Taylor. “We deeply appreciate all those who exceeded expectations, demonstrated efficiency and compassion, and assisted thousands of seniors in Collier County in obtaining this life-saving vaccine.”
Naples Senior Center enriches the lives of those 60 years of age and older by providing comprehensive “one-stop-shop” programs and social services that support and strengthen individuals and their families, often at times of vulnerability and crisis. Since the COVID-19 outbreak in March 2020, the center has been meeting seniors needs virtually.
All programs and services are provided by licensed and credentialed professionals. These include Structured Dementia Respite Support; Geriatric Case Management and Senior Outreach Programs; and Emotional Support Services as well as a “choice” Food Pantry.
An average of 40 different social, educational and wellness programs also are offered each week thanks to a dedicated corps of more than 200 trained and vetted volunteers. Among the programs are a weekly “Lunch and More;” classes in art, music and film; brain fitness and educational seminars; courses in computer science; physical well-being; and interest groups. The center serves everyone regardless of backgrounds and beliefs.
For additional information on the Naples Senior Center and its comprehensive programs and social services for area seniors and their families, visit www.NaplesSeniorCenter.org.