Our guest speaker for the evening was Allie Prelaske, Director of Senior Programs for the Town of Apex. Allie has only lived in Apex for a few months, having moved here from Chicago, but has already made an impact on our senior community. Lion Tom Carter invited Allie to speak to us this evening and share some of what has been happening in the senior program under Allie’s guidance.
The is a large and vibrant senior group in Apex. Almost every program offered by the town is completely booked within a day or so of being announced with no additional advertising needed. That is, in large part, because Apex is already known as a “hot spot’ for retirees. The recent naming of Apex being the #1 place to live by Fortune Magazine and the News & Observer article about being a hot spot for retirement will only make it grow even larger.
All the seniors are so friendly to each other possibly because they come from so many various places and are all trying to meet new friends. Allie sees many parents of Apex residents moving here to be near their children. She suspects that some of that may be because the children don’t want their parents living alone somewhere else. So Allie sees her job as trying to create a community for these senior to thrive in, get to know each other, build new friendships and do all of that on a limited budget. The town subsidizes the senior program at 75%.
The kinds of programs that are offered are quite varied as well. Allie’s approach is “Mind, Body, Spirit” so she tries to ensure that there is a very wide variety of things for the seniors to choose from and encourages them to try new things. Some examples are: Day trips (going to Biltmore next year), Wine trail, theater, symphonies and more. She said it’s much more than just BINGO! They even have speakers sometimes and just recently had a speaker who served several tours of duty in Afghanistan.
But there are some issues as well. In fact, the senior group has become so large now that it overwhelms the current community center building space. So the town has agreed to allocate $400K towards the building of a brand new senior center. The plans are not finalized yet and it could be located on the town campus, but parking would still be an issue if it is built there. So there is also talk of possibly building a parking deck as well. This will also serve to free up space for other programs in the original community center for adults and children again. And there is an additional benefit to building the dedicated senior center. Once that is done, it qualifies us to apply for federal grant money and significantly increases the chances of receiving financial benefits from businesses as well.
Allie is very protective of the seniors and very careful about program selection. She shared with us that she has a grandmother of her own that she really likes so she thinks about her and only selects programs that would be good for her own grandmother. If you would like to contact Allie Prelaske you can send her email at: firstname.lastname@example.org or you can check out the Senior Adults Programs web page at the Town of Apex site. We wish Allie the best of luck as she continues to build up the community of seniors!