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Free Things to Do in Naples FL

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Thank goodness for the nice, year-round weather we have in Collier County. It means we can be outside, enjoying the beach, going walking, heading out and exploring nature, or just dining out on the patio of our favorite restaurant.

There’s plenty to do in Collier County if you are itching to get out of the house. We have our list of fun outings to help you explore, create, dine, and relax in the area without spending much money.

The Naples Pier
Grab the camera, fishing pole, and some shades for a nice morning or afternoon on the newly rebuilt Naples Pier. You can watch the sunset, try your luck at catching something, or just people watch. The beach is just steps away so you can take a dip in the water or lounge about as well. Then walk on down to 3rd Street South for some food and drinks to finish off the day.

Take a Walk in Freedom Park
Fred W. Coyle Freedom Park is located along Golden Gate Parkway as you head towards the Coastland Center Mall. This nature park is open daily and consists of a 5 acre lake, 3500 feet of boardwalk, and an education facility with restrooms, water fountains, and pavilions. This is a great place to talk a walk or run through some of the wetlands and native vegetation in our area.

Stroll Through the Naples Preserve
The Naples Preserve is located on 9 1/2 acres at the corner of U.S. 41 and Fleischmann Boulevard. The site protects two unique Florida Upland Habitats: Pine Flatwoods and Oak-Rosemary Scrubs. Explore the 0.4 self-guided nature walk as it curves through the shaded woods. Then, sit, rest, and take in the surroundings while sitting on one of our many benches. The Preserve offers you one of your best opportunities in Southwest Florida to see gopher tortoises in their natural habitat, along with native wildflowers, trees, birds, butterflies, rabbits, and more. The peak months for viewing wildflowers and butterflies are between August and September.

Art Shows
There are plenty of art shows and festivals that take place throughout the year in Naples. They mainly happen downtown between November and April. Check out the Naples Art Association website for their schedule.

Live Entertainment
Mercato hosts their Mercato Nights Music Series every season. They have a free concert every 1st Thursday from October-April 6-9PM.
The Jazz Concert Series at Cambier Park features Sunday concerts from 2-4PM.

Movies on the Lawn at Mercato
Every once in a while, Mercato hosts a free outdoor movie. The genres vary from older films to kid-friendly. Bring some blankets or chairs to enjoy the show.

Museums
The Naples Depot Museum is free to the public and showcases much of the history of Naples.

Playgrounds
If you’re looking to head out with the kids, Cambier Park has an excellent playground for kids to spend hours in. There are also playgrounds at Veterans Park in North Naples, Eagle Lakes, East Naples Park, Golden Gate Park, Max Hasse Park, and Vineyards Park.

Fishing
Anthony Park located on the Gordon River offers walking trails, tennis courts, a basketball court, and a small fishing pier so you can cast out for snook, redfish, and others. Other great fishing spots include the Naples Pier, and even the pond or lake in your community will often be stocked with bass, catfish, or sunfish.

Flea Market
Flea markets offer things that cost money, but just walking around is free! You can head to the Flamingo Island Flea Market along Bonita Beach Road to browse the stalls of products, food, and produce.


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The License Plate Game – Florida Style

Remember the old “license plate game” you played as a kid?  It occurs to us that there’s an easy, fun way to play this game with friends as an adult, and Florida’s unique status as “most visited” state makes it easy.  Go for a walk in Naples, or Fort Myers, or any other reasonably-sized city in Florida, and as you go, check out the plates on each car.

Be the first to call out plates from Florida, Georgia or Alabama, and give yourself one point.  For South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee or Mississippi, make that two points.  Three points for Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri, Kentucky or Virginia.  Four points for Maryland, the District of Columbia, West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, or Texas.  Five points for Delaware, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Colorado, or New Mexico.  Six points for New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Montana, Idaho, Utah, or Arizona.  Seven points for Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, Washington, Oregon, Nevada, and California.  Eight points for Rhode Island, New Hampshire, or Maine.  Nine points for the Canadian Provinces, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia.  And, finally, ten points for the three Canadian Territories, Nunavut, Northwest Territories, and Yukon, and for Alaska and Hawaii.  If, by some miracle, you spot a plate from one of the five US Territories, Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands, Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, or American Samoa, you just win automatically!

If you call out one that’s already been called, or you mistake a plate for another, you lose the amount of points the ACTUAL plate is worth.

Pick a street to walk the length of, an area of a street to walk, or maybe even an entire neighborhood, and tally up your points at the end to see who won!

Need a primer on what all of those plates look like, to give yourself an advantage?  Or need the points handy?  Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered!

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canadian plates

1 POINT: AL, FL, GA

2 POINTS: MS, NC, SC, TN

3 POINTS: AR. KY, LA, MO, VA

4 POINTS: DC, IA, IL, IN, KS, MD, NE, OH, OK, TX, WV

5 POINTS: CO, DE, MI, MN, NM, PA, SD, WI, WY

6 POINTS: AZ, ID, MT, ND, NJ, NY, UT

7 POINTS: CA, CT, MA, NV, OR, VT, WA

8 POINTS: ME, NH, RI

9 POINTS: AB, BC, MB, NB, NL, NS, ON, PE, QC, SK

10 POINTS: AK, HI, NT, NU, YT

AUTOMATIC WIN: AS, GU, MP, PR, VI

And, don’t forget to check the backs AND fronts of cars!

plate rules


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Southwest Florida Origins

We recently told everyone about our expanded service area…

coverageIn case you missed it, we cover seven counties in Southwest Florida now, Sarasota, DeSoto, Charlotte, Glades, Lee, Hendry, and Collier Counties.  We’re fans of history around here (that massive gallery of old American flags on Independence Day might have given that away…), but in Florida, history usually means Tampa and Miami.  What about Southwest Florida?  Well, we’ve got you covered.  We’re going to go over some of the more interesting history in our coverage area over several blogs, coming back to the subject every now and then.  To kick things off, lets take a quick look at those seven counties.  Specifically, why are they called what they’re called, and where did they come from?  Those county names reflect a lot of the history around here, so let’s get going!

Charlotte County

Seal_of_Charlotte_County,_FloridaFormed out of part of DeSoto county in 1921, the county was named for the Bay of Charlotte Harbor, which was in turn named for Queen Charlotte Sophia, wife of King George III, in 1775.  The Spanish originally called it “Carlos Bay,” so we almost had a “Carlos County”!

Collier County

Seal_of_Collier_County,_Florida

Carved out of Lee County in 1923, Collier County was named for Baron Collier, a New York real estate developer and businessman who moved to SWFL and built the Tamiami Trail for the state in exchange for having a county named after him!

DeSoto County

DeSoto_County_Fl_SealThis one is fairly self-explanatory.  Created in 1887 out of what was then Manatee County, it was named for Hernando de Soto (1496/1497–1542), Spanish explorer and conquistador.  He famously was the first European to cross the Mississippi River, and likely first landed in Florida on that voyage very near modern day DeSoto County.

Glades County

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Formed in 1921 from DeSoto County, the county was named after the nearby Everglades, which were, in turn, were named partly by British surveyor John Gerard de Brahm in 1773, who called the area “River Glades.”

Hendry County

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Formed out of Lee County in 1923, it was named for Francis A. Hendry (1833–1917), a Florida cattle rancher and politician who was an early settler of the area, and an officer in the Confederate Army during the Civil War.

Lee County

Lee_County_Fl_Seal

Carved out of the original, massive Monroe County in 1887, Lee was named for famed Confederate General Robert E. Lee (1807-1870), and has grown to become, by far, the largest county in Southwest Florida.

Sarasota County

393px-Logo_of_Sarasota_County_FL.svg

Founded in 1921 out of Manatee County.  Believe it or not, the word “Sarasota” is of unknown, probably Native American, origin.  The word has been used in the area since nearly the very beginning of European colonization, but there’s no record of where it came from.  A possibility is that it’s a Calusa (the original Native language in the area) word meaning “point of rocks” or “place of the dance.”  Again, there’s no way to know for sure!


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Easy Ways to Prevent Common Injuries

As we age, our physical health may begin to decline. It may be harder to stand up quickly or walk for long distances. If you or a loved one live on their own, it is a good idea to install some safety measures throughout the house. They may not seem necessary, but if they can prevent a fall, then it is very worthwhile. Falls are the most common injury seen in older Americans visiting the emergency room. These falls can do real damage as the body ages. There can be bruises or bleeding, but also broken bones, hips, or concussions. Take a look at some of these injury prevention ideas that you can implement in the house.

Prevent common injuries

Wear Non-Slip Shoes

This is a very cheap, simple way to try and prevent falls. Shoes with a lack of traction can easily cause you to tumble. Invest in a comfortable, easy to put on pair of shoes with a non-slip sole. Velcro is recommended as laces can become untied and tripped on.

Replace Carpeting & Remove Rugs

If your home has areas where the carpeting is coming up, you should replace it. It is easy for someone to get a foot caught. It is a good idea to get rid of rugs. These can move when stepped upon and cause a fall.

Double Railing for Stairs

One railing may seem like enough, but having railings on both sides helps a lot. It will allow you to put your body weight on the railings, making it easier to climb the stairs. You can then focus on making each step, rather than worrying about balance.

Motion-sensor Lights

These lights can be switched on once someone walks into the room. They are great for the night, if you need to get up and do something. The motion sensor will sense your movement and turn on the light. This allows you to better see where you are walking.

Grab Bars & Shower Seats

These should be placed in areas like the shower or tub. Inside the bathing area it is also useful to have a steady shower seat, so you don’t need to stand for a long time. Placing non-slip mats inside the shower and outside will ensure you don’t slip easily on the wet surface.


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The Age Factor: Changes in Nutritional Needs for Seniors

Lots of different factors make it difficult for seniors to eat healthy. Changing taste buds, medication side effects, and a lack of interest in cooking for just two people are all reasons that play a role. On top of that Seniors have different nutritional needs than younger people. Eating well is important at any age, but even more necessary for seniors because nutritional needs change as we age.

According to Dr. Lindsay Jones-Born, a licensed naturopathic physician, 3.7 million seniors are malnourished in America today. Dr. Jones-Born provides some great insight into why seniors have different nutritional needs:

How Do Our Bodies Change As We Age?

There are many reasons our bodies change as we get older, including physiological, perceptual and and general age-related conditions—such as gastrointestinal or dental conditions. These changes all influence the performance of our body as a whole, which in turn, influences our eating, nutritional intake and overall health.

Physiological Changes 

One reason nutritional needs change is due to physiological changes that occur later in life.  Energy expenditure generally decreases with advancing age because of a decrease in basal metabolic rate and physical activity, thus decreasing our caloric needs. Our bodies also begin to experience a decrease in kidney function, re-distribution of body composition and changes in our nervous system.

Perceptual Changes 

Perceptual changes later in life can also influence our nutrition, such as changes in hearing, taste, smell and vision.  One of the most common complaints is in regards to the diminished taste in food. As taste buds decrease, so does our taste for salty and sweet—often times making food taste more bitter or sour. Diminished or loss of hearing also affects our nutrition and food experience.  The difficulty and frustration from the inability to hold a conversation with our eating partner out at a restaurant or at a social function can limit one’s food experience.  And the loss of smell can also have a huge impact on the types of food one chooses to eat as there is a loss of satisfaction that can lead to poor food choices.

Other Aging-Related Changes 

Other changes in body function may impact nutritional intake, such as dentition, or the makeup of a set of teeth (including how many, their arrangement and their condition). The loss of teeth and/or ill-fitting dentures can lead to avoidance of hard and sticky foods. Gastrointestinal changes such as chronic gastritis, delayed stomach emptying, constipation and gas may lead to avoiding healthy foods, such a fruits and vegetables—the food categories that should be more emphasized rather than eliminated.

These factors alone may contribute to why 3.7 million seniors are malnourished and shed light on the importance of educating caregivers and aging seniors as to specific dietary need options, as well as, catered senior diets and nutritional needs.

Senior Citizens, Malnutrition—And  Vitamin Deficiencies

Malnutrition is seen in varying degrees in the elderly, along with varying vitamin deficiencies.  Malnutrition is due to under nutrition, nutrient deficiencies or imbalances. Most physicians do not see frank malnutrition anymore, such as scurvy; but more milder malnutrition symptoms such as loss of appetite, weight loss/gain, general malaise or lack of overall interest and wellness. Common nutrient deficiencies of dietary origin include inadequate intake of vitamin A, B, C, D, E, folic acid and niacin.  Malnutrition may also be the result of some socioeconomic risk factors, such as the following:

  • Loss of a spouse or family member
  • Lack of interest in cooking or eating alone
  • Fear of personal safety (which affects their ability to go grocery shopping)
  • Financial concerns
  • Institutionalization or hospitalizations (that do not ensure adequate nutrition)

Clearly nutrition plays a vital role in the quality of life in older persons. This is why preventative medicine and focusing on good eating habits is crucial. It is recommended to follow a preventative health maintenance nutritional program, such as the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which describes two eating plans.

  1. The USDA food patterns
  2. The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) Eating Plan

*DASH is a lot like the Food Patterns, but focuses on lowering blood pressure.

The USDA food patterns suggests that people 50 or older choose healthy foods every day from the following:

  • Fruits—1-1/2 to 2-1/2 cups
    What is the same as 1/2 cup of cut-up fruit? A 2-inch peach or 1/4 cup of dried fruit
  • Vegetables—2 to 3-1/2 cups
    What is the same as a cup of cut-up vegetables? Two cups of uncooked leafy vegetable
  • Grains—5 to 10 ounces
    What is the same as an ounce of grains? A small muffin, a slice of bread, a cup of flaked, ready-to-eat cereal, or ½ cup of cooked rice or pasta
  • Protein foods—5 to 7 ounces
    What is the same as an ounce of meat, fish, or poultry? One egg, ¼ cup of cooked beans or tofu, ½ ounce of nuts or seeds, or 1 tablespoon of peanut butter
  • Dairy foods—3 cups of fat-free or low-fat milk
    What is the same as 1 cup of milk? One cup of yogurt or 1-1/2 to 2 ounces of cheese. One cup of cottage cheese is the same as ½ cup of milk.
  • Oils—5 to 8 teaspoons
    What is the same as oil added during cooking? Foods like olives, nuts, and avocado have a lot of oil in them.
  • Solid fats and added sugars (SoFAS)—keep the amount of SoFAS small 
    If you eat too many foods containing SoFAS, you will not have enough calories for the nutritious foods you should be eating.
Learn more about the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services DASH eating plan to decide whether it’s right for you or a loved one.

Dr. Lindsay Jones-Born, Naturopathic Physician

About the Author:

Dr. Lindsay Jones-Born is a licensed naturopathic physician in California and Connecticut, and is an active member of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians. Born Naturopathic Associates, Inc. is the prime location in Alameda, CA for integrative medical care for patients off all ages and genders, for acute and chronic conditions. 


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Calculating the Cost of Home Care Infographic

Delivering care to an ill or elderly loved one in their own home ensures their safety, preserves their independence and accommodates hardworking families who are unable to personally address all of their loved one’s needs. As a result, more families are finding that home care is the option their loved ones prefer and their budgets support.

At Just Like Family Home Care, we take pride in aligning the right star with each clients personalized preferences. We believe it is important, as a Naples home health care company, to maintain our clients lifestyle in the comfort of their home, hospital or facility.

Calculating the cist of at home care


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Kelly Dillaha joins Just Like Family Home Care

Kelly JLFJust Like Family Home Care, a family-owned and operated home care company servicing seven Southwest Florida counties, has announced that Kelly Dillaha joined the firm as a the Community Relations Representative for Lee County.

Dillaha previously spent three and a half years at Scotlynn USA Division Inc. in Fort Myers working as an Office Manager, Accountant and HR Manager. Previously she spent time as a Child Protective Investigator for the Florida Department of Children and Families. Dillaha graduated from Mariner High School in Cape Coral before receiving her bachelor’s degree in Business Management from Florida Gulf Coast University.

Just Like Family Home Care owner Elisabeth Nassberg says, “Kelly portrays every quality we desire in our employees at Just Like Family Home Care. The combination of her work history and outgoing personality will make her a great fit at Just Like Family Home Care. I am confident that she will represent our company well in the Lee County area.” Nassberg and Dillaha met last year on the Love That Dress! 2013 in Collier County, and both are passionate about supporting local charities in Collier and Lee Counties.

Just Like Family Home Care is a personalized home care company dedicated to caring for its customer’s loved ones with an easy, professional and loving dedication to their clients. “I am beyond thrilled to join the Just Like Family team. I am excited that this new opportunity allows me to be out in the community that I grew up in,” says Dillaha. “Plus, JLF is one big family and it already feels like I am a part of it.”

In her free time, Dillaha enjoys dance, Zumba, going to the gym and spending time with her husband. Dillaha is currently the Silent Auction Chair for the 2014 Love That Dress! in Collier County.