Seniors in Collier County facing challenges after Hurricane Ian

Published: October 17, 2022 4:08 PM EDT
Updated: October 17, 2022 5:43 PM EDT

Seniors in Southwest Florida are facing their own specific challenges after Hurricane Ian.

Many are on fixed incomes, living alone with no family in the area and disabled and now they have flooded homes or no home at all.

WINK News talked to the Naples Senior Center CEO about the specific trauma these seniors are dealing with.

One senior at The Landmark Naples said they’re all hurting one way or another.

The Naples Senior Center provided their community with a mental health counselor who ran a group session, allowing people living here to share their stories and express their emotions in a safe space.

A couple of seniors in those sessions said it helped them feel heard.

Many had significant wind damage with debris piled up, parts of roofs, and pieces of these people’s homes now just twisted metal.

In another senior living community in east Naples where people are struggling, an artist there has lost not only her work but her livelihood in the flood waters. She lost all the tools she needs to make more art.

Kaata Mrachek, a resident at Moorhead Manor said, “The first several days were just like people would ask questions and I couldn’t get my words out and sometimes I just break down. And then sometimes it’s like ‘ok let’s shore it up let’s move ahead and do what we need to do.’ And I’ve been having a lot of nightmares so I haven’t been sleeping very well and then when I do sleep it’s like somebody dying of cancer or somebody. Anyways just things I don’t really want to talk about like just being attacked it’s the kind of nightmares so that’s been.”

All the loss from the storm has taken an emotional toll on Mrachek.

Dr. Jaclynn Faffer, President & CEO, Naples Senior Center said, “There’s no family around so they are isolated there frightened and those who experienced trauma in the past trauma, the trauma is reawakened by this.”