DADE CITY, Fla. — The nonprofit Community Aging and Retirement Services, or CARES, plans to break ground on a new senior center Monday. 

What You Need To Know

  • The Pasco County nonprofit CARES plans to break ground on the Wilton Simpson Senior Center Monday

  • CARES President and CEO Jemith Rosa says the new facility will double the capacity of its adult day care program and include case management and home care services

  • Rosa says there is currently a 600-person waiting list for home care in East Pasco, and the adult day care program can help meet some of that need

  • Construction on the new center is expected to be complete in early 2024

"This is a dream come true," said CARES President and CEO Jemith Rosa. "My first pledge to CARES and the seniors that we serve in this Dade City/East Pasco area, I promised them in 2015 that I will get them a more comfortable and up-to-date facility so they can come and stay with us, and we can take care of them on a daily basis."

Florida Agriculture Commissioner Wilton Simpson donated 1.7 acres behind CARES' Crescent Center on Fifth Stret for the project back in 2019. Rosa said the pandemic held up construction, but crews are now ready to get underway. 

She said the 6,000-square-foot facility will be a one-stop senior center that will include case management and home care services, as well as an adult daycare program that is expected to double the Crescent Center's current capacity of 30 seniors.

Rosa said the hope is that this will help meet what she said is a huge need in East Pasco.

"We have 600 seniors waiting for services in this part of the county only," she said. "They are waiting for home care, so we have the capacity to take care of them here, in what we call facility respite."

Rosa said the current facility is too small to meet that need. 

Herb Smith said he's excited to see the new center. Smith, 82, takes part in the adult day care program at the Crescent Center three days a week.

"This is a very nice place. I like it," he said. "I just like the friendship here, and the fellowship."

Smith's wife, Kim, 80, said he was diagnosed with dementia in 2015. She said it's hard to take him along when she has to go to appointments or to run errands, and she can't leave him home alone.

She said the program, which includes activities, meals, and a nurse who manages medication, has been a blessing.

"When I bring him here, my husband, I don't worry," Kim Smith said. "They give me peace of mind."

The community is invited to Monday's groundbreaking, which is scheduled to take place at 11 a.m. behind the Crescent Center at 13906 Fifth St. in Dade City. 

Anyone interested in taking part in the adult day care program can stop by the facility to take a tour and learn more, or call (352) 518-9300. Rosa said the program is open to all seniors.