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Special Holiday Event at River House – Dec. 20

Join us for a special Tale Tellers “Gift of Stories” event followed by lunch on Tuesday, December 20, 2022 at 10:00 a.m. at River House in St. Augustine. The Tale Tellers will share stories and songs of the holiday season.

Advance registration for lunch is required by 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday, December 13, 2022. To register for the luncheon, please call Teresa Harris or Kristy Locklear of River House at (904) 209-3655.

There is no cost for lunch for those who are 60 years of age or older. For those who are 59 years of age or younger, the cost for the lunch is $8.00 payable at the event. 

Our luncheon menu will include Pot Roast, Mashed Potatoes & Gravy, Vegetable Medley, and Apple Pie.

River House is located at 179 Marine St., St. Augustine, FL.

We hope to see you there!

Subaru Share the Love® Event to Benefit COA Meals on Wheels

Council on Aging joins Subaru of America, Inc. and Meals on Wheels America in Sharing the Love with the 2022 Subaru Share the Love® Event.

Council on Aging (COA) is excited to announce its participation in the 2022 Subaru Share the Love® Event. From November 17, 2022, through January 3, 2023, as part of a national partnership with Meals on Wheels America, Subaru of America, Inc. will donate $250 for every new vehicle purchased or leased to the purchaser’s choice of participating charities – one of which is Meals on Wheels.

“This annual event allows us to help more homebound elders receive the Meals on Wheels they need,” said COA Executive Director Becky Yanni. “We are very excited to get the word out to members of our community about this opportunity to help local seniors in a very meaningful way.”

Council on Aging is partnering once again with local Subaru dealer, Subaru of Jacksonville, in spreading the word about the program. Subaru of Jacksonville is located at 10800 Atlantic Blvd. in Jacksonville, FL. To contact them, call (904) 544-6516 or visit www.subaruofjacksonville.com.

Since the Subaru Share the Love Event began in 2008, Subaru and its participating retailers have donated nearly 4 million meals and helped provide friendly visits to seniors served by local Meals on Wheels programs across the country, including Council on Aging in St. Johns County.

“Causes like Meals on Wheels rely on corporate partners to keep our wheels turning,” said Ellie Hollander, President and CEO, Meals on Wheels America. “That’s why we are beyond grateful to Subaru of America and their retailers for their astonishing 15 years of partnership and nearly 4 million meals and friendly visits delivered to our aging neighbors.”

For more information, visit www.mealsonwheelsamerica.org/sharethelove.

Tropical Storm and Veterans Day Closures– November 9, 10 & 11, 2022

Council on Aging Tropical Storm and Veterans Day Closures– November 9, 10 & 11, 2022

Council on Aging (COA) has announced that all COA senior centers and facilities, including River House, Sunshine Center, COA headquarters, and scheduled IMEP programs, will be closed on Wednesday, November 9 and Thursday, November 10, 2022 due to expected tropical storm conditions, and on Friday, November 11, 2022, in observance of Veterans Day.

For more information and for updates, visit www.coasjc.org/news or call 904-209-3700.

Tasters Wanted on Fridays!

Tasters Wanted on Fridays – Be Our Lunch Guest at COA’s Coastal Community Center and Share Your Feedback!

Our COA Nutrition Staff are trying some new recipes in October, November, and December, and we need help deciding which recipes excite the most taste buds.

If you are 60 years or older, you are invited to enjoy lunch at 11:30 a.m. in our Coastal Community Center (located at 180 Marine Street, St. Augustine, across from River House). Please arrive fifteen minutes before lunch begins. There is no cost for this lunch, but only 25 seats are available each Friday, and advance registration is required. Once 25 seats have been filled, a “Sold Out” icon will appear. More dates will be opened for registration when menus become available. To register, visit the Coastal Community Center page here.

COA Announces Hurricane Closures

Council on Aging Announces Hurricane-Related Closures – September 28 – 30, 2022

St. Johns County Council on Aging (COA) has announced that all COA facilities and senior centers will be closed Wednesday through Friday, September 28 – 30, 2022, in response to the expected weather impact of Hurricane Ian. This includes all COA senior centers, the Sunshine Center adult day care center, the Ponte Vedra Memory Care Center, and COA’s administrative offices.

Meals on Wheels for the remainder of the week will be delivered to scheduled recipients on Wednesday, September 28. Wednesday will be the last delivery day this week for Meals on Wheels.

Sunshine Bus and Paratransit transportation services will continue through Wednesday, weather permitting. For Sunshine Bus updates, please visit www.sunshinebus.net.

For more information on Council on Aging services, visit www.coasjc.org or call 904-209-3700.

Cathy Brown Memorial & Celebration of Life – Oct. 6

COA Announces Cathy Brown Memorial and Celebration of Life at River House, Thursday, October 6, 2022

Council on Aging, along with her family, invite members of the public to attend a memorial and celebration of the life of Cathy Brown on Thursday, October 6, 2022 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at COA’s River House. River House is located at 179 Marine Street in St. Augustine, Florida.  In lieu of flowers, her family has requested that donations be made to Council on Aging, or a charity of your choice.  If you would like to send a message of condolence or share a memory of Cathy with her family, please call 904-977-5288 where you can record a message for them.

Cathy Brown served as Executive Director of Council on Aging for fourteen years from 1999 to 2013. Her impact on the mission of Council on Aging and the community of St. Johns County cannot be overstated. Her creative spirit, out-of-the box thinking, and boundless energy created a synergy that transformed the small agency into a force for change and good. Cathy’s vision resulted in a thriving agency with five senior centers, including the beautiful River House on the Matanzas River, a nationally recognized public transportation system known as the Sunshine Bus, the Sunshine Center, an adult day care center, and IMEP™, COA’s innovative memory disorder early intervention program.

Cathy’s passion for excellence, her commitment to good, and her gift of motivation inspired all… staff, volunteers, participants, and board members… from the first day she walked into COA until the day she retired in 2013 and beyond. Her presence and her joy are ever-present.

“Cathy was an incredible visionary and tireless advocate for seniors and caregivers in St. Johns County,” said Becky Yanni, executive director of COA. “COA meant so much to Cathy – and Cathy means so much to COA. Her legacy will live on improving the lives of our community’s elders and caregivers in perpetuity.”

For more information on COA’s programs and services for seniors and caregivers in St. Johns County, visit their website at www.coasjc.org.

Columbia Restaurant’s Community Harvest to Benefit Council on Aging and Local Charities in September

Columbia Restaurant – St. Augustine

Columbia Restaurant’s Community Harvest to Benefit Council on Aging and Local Charities

St. Augustine, FL, September 1, 2022 – Eat well and do good in support of local nonprofits including Council on Aging during the entire month of September during the 25th Annual Columbia Restaurant Community Harvest program. All of the 1905 Family of Restaurants are participating this year, including the Columbia Restaurant location at 98 St. George Street in downtown St. Augustine.

Through its month-long Community Harvest program, now in its 25th year, the company donates 5 percent of all diners’ checks to charities selected by the guests. Over the last 24 years, this program has provided more than $3 million to nonprofit organizations throughout Florida.  

During the month of September, simply choose an organization from a ballot that is provided with the check.  The restaurant will calculate the 5 percent and provide the charity with gift certificates that can be used at any of the restaurants for up to 12 months.  There is no additional cost to the guest.

The St. Augustine Columbia Restaurant is open for lunch and dinner seven days a week. For more information and to make a reservation, visit https://www.columbiarestaurant.com/historic-district-st-augustine.

Local nonprofit Council on Aging (COA) has been serving seniors and caregivers in St. Johns County since 1973. COA offers a comprehensive range of programs and services that support older adults in maintaining their independence and enjoying their best lives at every age. Among the many programs COA offers are home-delivered Meals on Wheels, independent living services, prescription assistance, IMEP™, their Integrative Memory Enhancement Program, adult day care, caregiver support, and community senior and lifelong learning centers throughout St. Johns County.

The original Columbia Restaurant was founded in Tampa’s Historic Ybor City in 1905 by Cuban immigrant Casimiro Hernandez, Sr., and is Florida’s oldest restaurant. All of the restaurants are owned and operated by 4th and 5th generation members of the founding family, except for the Columbia Restaurant Cafe at Tampa International Airport, which is operated in partnership with HMSHost.

“We started this program as a way to help many of the worthy non-profit groups that are so important to our communities,” said 4th generation family member and president Richard Gonzmart. “I can’t believe how much it has grown in 25 years. We’re excited this year to extend the ballots and gift certificates to all our restaurant concepts, which should provide a real increase in our donations to the charities.”

Cathy Brown – A Legacy Serving Seniors and Caregivers

The Council on Aging pays tribute to the life and legacy of Cathy Brown, who served as Executive Director from 1999 – 2013.  Cathy’s impact on the mission of Council on Aging and the community of St. Johns County cannot be overstated.  Her creative spirit, out-of- the box thinking, and boundless energy created a synergy that transformed the small agency into a force for change and good.  Cathy’s vision resulted in a thriving agency with five senior centers, including the beautiful River House on the Matanzas River, a nationally recognized public transportation system known as the Sunshine Bus, an adult day care center, the Sunshine Center, and IMEP, an innovative memory disorder early intervention program.

Cathy’s passion for excellence, her commitment to good, and her gift of motivation inspired us all… staff, volunteers, participants and board members… from the first day she walked into the COA until the day she retired in 2013 and beyond.  We feel her presence and her joy every day. 

Thank you, Cathy, for making St. Johns County a better place, not only for our seniors, but for all of us.  And rest knowing that your legacy will continue in and through the many people you have touched.

We love you. We miss you.  We will never forget you. 

Council on Aging, along with her family, invite members of the public to attend a memorial and celebration of the life of Cathy Brown on Thursday, October 6, 2022 at COA’s River House. The memorial and celebration will be held from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m at River House, 179 Marine Street, St. Augustine, Florida.

How Seniors Can Be Frugal While Still Having Fun

By Karen Weeks

  When I retired, it was such a huge accomplishment. The promised freedom to do what I want, when I want, was a definite plus! However, once the retirement party was over, I quickly realized just how much of a difference my steady stream of income made in my ability to do things like shop, travel, and even eat dinner out. Read below for my article on budgeting tips for seniors who are living on a fixed income, focusing on how they can still enjoy their golden years with a little bit of financial tweaking.  – Karen Weeks


Seniors living on a fixed income need to adopt a more frugal lifestyle to ensure their funds don’t run out during their golden years. If you take a microscopic look at your finances, you can find plenty of areas where you can save money. With a sensible and creative approach to money, you can enjoy financial freedom without having to compromise too much on the lifestyle you’ve worked hard to create. Here are some practical tips on how to make it work.

Take Advantage of Your Surroundings

Sometimes, the best things in life are free. Instead of spending money on cruises and holidays, why not become a tourist in your own town? Invite friends and family to explore your area, and show them the pristine beaches, hiking trails, and other marvels on your doorstep. With such scenic surroundings, you can certainly live the holiday lifestyle. You don’t need to spend money on travel to explore. 

Downsize Your Home

Take a look at downsizing your home. If your house can generate a profit upon sale, why not sell and invest in a lock-and-go property? This way, you can also save costs on home maintenance, garden services, and other costs involved in owning a large property. To begin looking into the possibility of moving, calculate your home equity. Begin by finding your home’s current value – or at least an estimate – and then subtract your mortgage balance. If you’re not in a position to downsize, consider renting out a part of your home to tourists. 

Look for Discounts

Whether its activities, transport, or museums, a multitude of discounts are available for seniors. For regular massages and haircuts, seek beauty school trainees who charge very little to practice their skills. Meanwhile, the national parks offer discount passes for seniors; hotels also offer discounts for seniors. 

Sell Household Items

Over the years you may have accumulated a few valuable items. Have your furniture, antiques, artwork, and jewelry appraised. You can potentially sell an antique item or two to generate an extra funnel of cash. 

Create a Monthly Budget

Creating a monthly budget can give you an overview of your finances and allow you to plan your expenses. Don’t forget to put some money aside for savings or unforeseen circumstances. 

Find Part-Time Work or Start a Business

Chances are, there’s potential for part-time or seasonal work in your area. One option is to become a tour guide for seniors and conduct walking tours through hiking trails, museums, local attractions, and more. Alternatively, consider offering pet services or dog walking services for seniors who are no longer mobile. This gives you the chance to make your own schedule and essentially run your own business. 

If you decide to start a business, forming an LLC can be the best option as it offers tax advantages and flexibility. You can use a formation service to help you file your paperwork and Articles of Incorporation, or you can do it yourself. Either option saves you the expense of attorney fees. Since each state has its own rules for starting a business, check how to start an LLC Florida business. It only takes five steps, and you can use a formation service if you’re nervous about missing any important legal documents.

Living Well on a Budget

You can live well on a budget if you make wise financial choices and take advantage of your surroundings, local discounts, and job opportunities. By having a plan in place and sticking to it, you can live a fun, comfortable life well into your senior years.

The St. Johns County Council on Aging works to ensure that Florida seniors can enjoy their lives. We offer resources, programs, and community events to keep seniors connected and active. Visit us online and consider joining us today!

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