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Naples Senior Center quiet as it closes its doors due to coronavirus concerns

It’s normally a place buzzing with excitement for older folks, but now, the Naples Senior Center is a ghost town.

Just another fallout of the coronavirus, the center, designed to keep seniors from feeling alone, is shutting its doors.

Some people even rely on the center to eat.

“Granted, I don’t want to get the virus. It’s a horrific thing,” said Sherry Brenner. She knows many people her age are worried about the coronavirus.

“We’re concerned about each other,” she said.

To keep people safe, the Naples Senior Center decided to close its on-site programs, daily activities and social interaction that some, like Brenner, have come to rely upon.

“At the center, you go in, and even if you don’t know someone’s name, you know them, you see them all the time and you’re not lonely,” she said.

Now, these rooms usually busy with seniors sit empty.

“People say, ‘Oh, they’re seniors, they have a family.’ Most people don’t,” Brenner said. “The Senior Center was founded to eliminate isolation and loneliness, and here, everyone is told to do social distancing.”

CEO Jaclynn Faffer says the decision wasn’t easy.

“We took this difficult step so they could be safe,” she said.

Now, the Senior Center is adding volunteers, stocking up on supplies and food to deliver to seniors and making calls to those who depend on them.

For those forced to stay at home, “I want to see everyone again,” Brenner said. “It’s something, I mean, we look forward to it.”

The center hopes to reconsider the decision in two weeks. It is also working to make its programs available online. The center says their geriatric case management program and food pantry will operate as usual.

Reporter:Gina Tomlinson
Writer:Briana Harvath
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