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The Carlisle Weathers Hurricane Irma
09-27-2017

As the winds raged and threatened Collier County, residents and staff at The Carlisle Naples, a luxury active retirement community in Southwest Florida, hunkered down to ride out the storm. In the midst of the Category 2 hurricane, the already close-knit community found their bonds grew even stronger.

A few of the stories that emerged from the storm included:

Camp Carlisle

As part of the active retirement community’s hurricane preparedness plan, The Carlisle team remained onsite to ensure residents’ safety and wellbeing. As the hurricane’s path became focused on the Naples area, staff members were invited to bring their immediate families, including their young children and shelter in place at the community. While staff worked tirelessly to maintain services and limit the impact of the hurricane, Carlisle residents became surrogate grandparents for the children, reading stories, playing games and comforting the children. One resident exclaimed that although she hadn’t had to change a diaper in over 50 years, she was pleased to discover that she hadn’t lost her magic touch!

A Milestone Birthday

Jean Brown, a resident at The Carlisle Naples, recently celebrated a birthday she won’t soon forget. She marked the occasion—her 86th—in the midst of Hurricane Irma! Mrs. Brown, a Kentucky native, has lived in Naples for 24 years and, despite her birthday falling in peak hurricane season, it’s the first time it occurred during a storm.

“My daughter’s birthday is September 11th and now mine was during Hurricane Irma,” she said. “My sister joked that our family sure knows how to pick a birthday!”

Although the active retirement community was in full hurricane preparedness mode, staff made sure Mrs. Brown was celebrated on her special day. She was surrounded by friends and neighbors and presented with a coffee cake topped with a candle.

“They certainly didn’t slight me,” she said. “The party was as top shelf as it could be despite the hurricane. It was very nice. I even received a card from the managers.”

As for her plans for her 87th party, she said: I’d like a party but the circumstances surrounding this one were a bit much!

Intergenerational Connections

It’s often said that it takes a village to raise a child and during Hurricane Irma, it truly did take a village! The Carlisle Naples’ employees remained onsite to provide ongoing care and services for residents and were invited to bring their children to weather the storm. As the winds increased, many of the children became frightened a residents comforted them by reading stories and keeping them entertained. Residents relished the opportunity to give back to the employees who went above and beyond before, during and after the storm. Intergenerational activities continue to be a favorite among residents. The community has an ongoing partnership with Sabal Palm Elementary, inviting the school children to visit the community several times a year. An annual charity fashion show and luncheon also raises funds for an end of year trip for the students.

A Show of Gratitude

Following the storm, residents and their families praised The Carlisle team for their hard work, ongoing communication and commitment to residents’ safety and wellbeing. In fact, Dorothy Seymour Mills, a noted author and baseball historian, penned a Letter to the Editor in the local paper, entitled, “A Hearty Thank You”. In part she writes:

 “… during the Hurricane Irma we were given extraordinary attention and service by the staff. Some residents have asked me individually to write this statement.

Because of advance all-resident meetings, we felt ready. We had been informed about setting up little personal "abandon ship bags" to keep handy in case we were evacuated.

We admired the administration's adoption of an invitation to all aides and other staff members: All those willing to work through the storm could bring their entire families and everyone would be housed in our safe, secure building through the use of unoccupied apartments. And we got to meet the aides' charming wives, husbands and children.”

You can read the letter in its entirety by clicking here.

The Carlisle offers both Independent and Assisted Living lifestyles. Available on a monthly fee basis, the ECC-licensed and CARF-accredited community boasts a full range of services and amenities including 12-hour restaurant dining, housekeeping, transportation and activities. For more information or to schedule a tour, please call 239-249-6877.

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