COA’s Strategic Planning Survey

St. Johns County Council on Aging invites St. Johns County residents who are aged 55 and older to complete this survey to assist us in discovering the programs and services you need/desire to improve your wellness and quality of life. To complete the online survey, please click here.

We value your input. Thank you for your participation!

Centenarian Luncheons Announced for May 2024

COA Announces Annual Centenarian Luncheons for St. Johns County Seniors in May 2024

Council on Aging (COA) will honor St. Johns County centenarians and nonagenarians at two Centenarian Luncheons, scheduled for Thursday, May 9, 2024 at 12:00 p.m. at River House (179 Marine St., St Augustine, FL 32084) and Thursday, May 16, 2024 at 11:30 a.m. at THE PLAYERS Community Senior Center (175 Landrum Lane, Ponte Vedra Beach, FL 32082.)

If you or a loved one will be turning age 95 or better this year, please contact Council on Aging to register to participate in the celebration nearest you by calling (904) 209-3700.

“We are asking for everyone’s help in inviting all of our cherished elders in the community who are age 95 and up,” requested COA Executive Director Becky Yanni. “Council on Aging must rely upon members of the community to help us get the word out.”

Advance registration is required as space is limited. Each honoree is invited to bring one complimentary guest to the luncheon. Tickets for additional guests may be purchased if space is available.

“We are very excited to be able to host these special events,” Ms. Yanni explained. “The entire community looks forward to the chance to recognize our St. Johns County elders and honor their exceptional lives.”

Sponsors are needed to finance the events. Table sponsorships are available for a donation of $250, and include table and social media recognition, as well as a seat to attend the Centenarian luncheon of your choice.

­­­To register to attend or to become a sponsor, please contact COA’s Janel Graham at 904-209-3700 or jgraham@coasjc.org.

The RSVP deadline for the May 9th River House event in St. Augustine is April 24. The RSVP deadline for the May 16th Ponte Vedra Beach event is May 1st.

Council on Aging Celebrates 50th Anniversary

Council on Aging Celebrates 50th Anniversary of Service to Seniors and Caregivers in St. Johns County, Florida

This year, local nonprofit St. Johns County Council on Aging (COA) celebrates 50 years of service to older adults and caregivers in St. Johns County, Florida. The 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization was founded 50 years ago by local concerned citizens with a focus on providing essential nutrition, transportation, and independent living support services for our community’s elders.

Since serving the first home-delivered and congregate meals to seniors in 1974, COA has been on a journey to empower our community’s elders to live their best lives at every age. Now with six senior centers and lifelong learning centers, four memory care locations, and transportation to all 600 square miles of the county, COA is able to offer older residents a much wider array of life enhancing opportunities thanks to the continued support of the St. Johns County community.

“As we have throughout our history, we continue to pursue opportunities to provide greater dignity, independence, social inclusion, and well-being for those we serve,” explained COA Executive Director, Becky Yanni. “Whether it is a meal prepared with love, a strong hand to help with tasks around the house, or an engaging program to stay active, healthy, and connected, we are dedicated to supporting quality of life and independence for local seniors.”

While volunteers provided transportation for seniors in the early days, COA now offers door-to-door paratransit transportation services with a fleet of specialized vehicles. In 2000, COA also established the Sunshine Bus Company, providing the first public transportation services for the entire community as the St. Johns County Government contracted provider.

COA created their Prescription Assistance Program in 1999 to assist seniors in obtaining low or no-cost prescription medications through pharmaceutical company programs. The program has saved St. Johns County seniors over $32 million since it began.

In 2003, COA created the Sunshine Center, licensed by AHCA #9081, a therapeutic adult day care facility in St. Augustine serving adults with special needs, such as Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and other disorders. The center also provides crucial respite time for caregivers.

With seed money from a legacy gift received from St. Augustine resident Mary Peck, COA constructed River House in 2010, a lifelong learning center set on the Matanzas River in downtown St. Augustine. On nights and weekends, the waterfront facility serves as a five-star wedding and events venue, proceeds of which will fund additional programs and services for seniors.

Also in 2010, COA created IMEP™, its groundbreaking Integrative Memory Enhancement Program. The popular classroom program is now offered at four locations throughout the county, including the Ponte Vedra Memory Care Center, which COA established in 2015. Outside agencies and facilities that serve seniors throughout Florida and the U.S. have also subscribed to the program since 2015, when IMEP™ was trademarked and copyrighted.

These are but a few highlights from a 50-year history dedicated to meeting the needs of St. Johns County seniors and caregivers. Over the course of this anniversary year, COA will continue to highlight the visionary individuals in our community who have made COA what it is today. To follow these inspiring stories, please visit www.coasjc.org/coa-50th-anniversary.

“We would not be where we are today without your support,” Ms. Yanni shared. “Thank you to all of our champions – our donors, funders, volunteers, staff, and community partners – for supporting our important mission. Together, the future for seniors and caregivers – our future – will grow ever brighter into the next 50 years and beyond.”

To learn more about COA’s services and programs for older adults and caregivers, visit our website at www.coasjc.org or call us at (904) 209-3700.

Special thanks to our friends at Hybrid Design, Inc. for creating COA’s 50th Anniversary logo.

Holiday Closures

Holiday Closures: All COA centers, offices, transportation headquarters and customer service will be closed in observance of the holiday on Friday, December 22 and Monday, December 25, 2023.

Sunshine Bus and Paratransit transportation services will be operating on Friday, December 22nd, but will be closed on Christmas day, Monday, December 25th.

We wish you all a healthy and happy holiday from all of your friends at COA!

Many thanks to Ms. Mildred for being our model for our Christmas Cheer fundraising campaign! There is still time to make a difference in the life of a local senior! Please make a gift today at this link: https://givebutter.com/coaholidaycheer.

2023 Subaru Share the Love® Event to Benefit Meals on Wheels

Council on Aging joins Subaru of America, Inc. and Meals on Wheels America in Sharing the Love with the 2023 Subaru Share the Love® Event.

St. Johns County Council on Aging (COA) is excited to announce its participation in the 2023 Subaru Share the Love® Event. This holiday season, you can share the love and support our aging neighbors in St. Johns County! From November 16, 2023, through January 2, 2024, with every new Subaru vehicle purchased or leased, Subaru and its retailers are donating a minimum of $300 to participating charities designated by the purchaser or lessee, one of which is Meals on Wheels.* The four national charities will receive a guaranteed minimum donation of $250,000 each.

Your participation in the 2023 Subaru Share the Love® Event will help deliver nutritious meals and welcome visits to St. Johns County’s seniors!

“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 excited to get the word out to members of our community about this opportunity to help local seniors in a meaningful way.”

Through the Subaru Share the Love® Event beginning in 2008, Subaru and its retailers have helped the Meals on Wheels network provide more than 4.3 million meals and friendly visits to seniors in need. For more information, visit www.mealsonwheelsamerica.org/sharethelove.

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.

*Subaru will donate $250 for every new Subaru vehicle sold or leased from November 16, 2023, through January 2, 2024, to four national charities designated by the purchaser or lessee. The four national charities will receive a guaranteed minimum donation of $250,000 each. All donations made by Subaru of America, Inc. Pre-approved Hometown Charities may be selected for donation depending on retailer participation. For every new Subaru vehicle sold or leased during the campaign period, participating retailers will donate a minimum of $50 in total to their registered Hometown Charities. Purchasers/lessees must make their charity designations by January 12, 2024. See your local Subaru retailer for details or visit subaru.com/share.

Guidance Through the Care-Giving Journey – Into the World of Dementia: New Book from COA’s Paulette Kozlowski

COA’s Paulette Kozlowski Publishes New Book, Guidance Through the Care-Giving Journey – Into the World of Dementia

October 19, 2023 – St. Augustine, FL – Council on Aging (COA) is excited to announce that COA’s Paulette Kozlowski, RN, CRRN, CDP, QDCS, ADC, has published a new book, Guidance Through the Care-Giving Journey – Into the World of Dementia.  The book invites readers to step into the extraordinary world of dementia in order to both improve their understanding of the experience of those in their care and improve their caregiving journey. The book is available for purchase at Amazon, Amazon Kindle, and Barnes & Noble retailers. To purchase on Amazon, please click here.

“I wrote the book to help caregivers realize and feel a part of the adventure they are on – one in which they have the power to make the most of a very challenging journey,” Paulette explained. “The book emphasizes that they can retrain their brain to turn any negative thoughts into positive feelings and actions in an effort to regain peace and harmony in their lives. It also emphasizes the importance of building a good, strong support system.”

Paulette is the founder and manager of COA’s adult day care center, the Sunshine Center (FL License #9081) located in St. Augustine, Florida. For over twenty years, the center has provided therapeutic care for individuals with brain injuries and diseases including Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.   Paulette also directs COA’s Community Care-Giving program, which provides education and support to caregivers throughout St. Johns County, Florida. She has been a leading voice for over a thousand individuals who selflessly care for their loved ones, teaching caregivers how to “Retrain the Brain” to see the world through the eyes of one with dementia. Every day, she and her Community Care-Giving team empower caregivers to navigate their life-changing experiences with newfound pride, strength, and clarity.

“Since there are so many things to learn, and so many changes that occur, I wanted to write a guide book that complimented the classes I give and the videos I have made and shared with caregivers,” she explained. “I also wrote this book for paid caregivers, volunteers, as well as the family and friends of caregivers who may want to help, but aren’t sure if they know how, or are hesitant to try.”

A registered nurse, Paulette received her undergraduate degree in Biology and Psychology from Bowling Green State University, her nursing degree from Cleveland Metropolitan General Hospital School of Nursing, and advanced nursing education at Ursuline College in Ohio.

Guidance Through the Care-Giving Journey – Into the World of Dementia is available for purchase at Amazon, Amazon Kindle, and Barnes & Noble retailers.

For more information on COA’s extensive programs and services for adults and caregivers in St. Johns County, browse their website at www.coasjc.org or call (904) 209-3700.

Eat Well and Do Good for Seniors in September through the Community Harvest Program

Community Harvest Program to Benefit Council on Aging in September

Throughout September, members of the public can support Council on Aging’s work just by dining at the Columbia Restaurant in downtown St. Augustine, oratany of the locations of the 1905 Family of RestaurantsThrough their month-long Community Harvest program, now in its 26th year, the company donates 5 percent of all diners’ checks to charities selected by the guests.

Simply dine at the Columbia restaurant, and choose Council on Aging from a ballot provided with the check. The restaurant calculates the 5 percent and provides the charity with gift certificates that may be used at any of their associated restaurants for up to 12 months. There is no additional cost to the guest.

The Columbia Restaurant is located at 98 St. George Street in downtown St. Augustine. To view their menu and for reservations, visit www.columbiarestaurant.com/historic-district-st-augustine.

Over the last 25 years, this program has provided more than $3 million to nonprofit organizations throughout Florida.  Community Harvest involves each of the Columbia locations, including Ybor City in the historic district of Tampa, St. Armands Circle in Sarasota, St. Augustine, Sand Key on Clearwater Beach, Central Florida’s town of Celebration, the Columbia Cafe on the Riverwalk in downtown Tampa at the Tampa Bay History Center and the Columbia Restaurant Cafe at Tampa International Airport.

“We started this program as a way to help many of the worthy nonprofit 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.”

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 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.

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.

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