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New Flagler Health+ senior center opening in St. Johns County

Assortment of free classes begin this week

A new community center in Nocatee will offer senior programs such as memory enhancement, art studio and beading, caregiver support group, and more.
A new community center in Nocatee will offer senior programs such as memory enhancement, art studio and beading, caregiver support group, and more.

NOCATEE, Fla. – A new community senior center is opening in Nocatee as a partnership between the Council on Aging and Flagler Health+. The center is housed inside the Flagler Health+ Village facility in Nocatee. There, free classes will be offered. While they’re geared toward people 55 and up, a spokesperson for the COA said there are no plans to turn people away.

At the Flagler Health+ Village facility in Nocatee, Cathy Tupper is enjoying her new role and learning a lot. She started working as a receptionist at the facility last November. Her responsibilities give this pleasant-natured retiree a new way to blossom.

“I obviously enjoy people, but I also like getting to know a lot of the residents that live here,” Tupper said. “Nocatee is flourishing, it’s growing leaps and bounds.”

This week, Tupper will start free Tai Chi lessons. It’s one of the free classes now being offered at the center for seniors through the St. John County Council of Aging. Tupper is excited to learn something new.

“You can learn some techniques that will make your core stronger and give you balance and flexibility,” Tupper said. “It’s all the things that we want to maintain as we get older.”

Starting Tuesday, the Nocatee Community Senior Center will begin offering the following programs and activities:

  • COA’s Integrative Memory Enhancement Program (IMEP™) -- Tuesday 3/23 from 10-11 a.m.
  • Upcoming Speaker Series -- Tuesdays starting 3/23 from 1:30-2:30 p.m. Speakers on 3/23 will be COA’s Tom Torretta and Amy Robinson discussing COA’s Elder Guard and COA volunteer opportunities.
  • Doctor’s Corner Lecture Series -- Wed. 3/24 and Wed. 4/7 from 9-10 a.m. with Dr. Lou DeMaria, retired geriatrician. Topics to be discussed are “How to Keep Healthy in Later Life” on 3/24, and “Keeping Yourself Safe While Taking Medication” on 4/7.
  • Tai Chi -- Wednesdays starting 3/24, 1:30-2:30 p.m.
  • Art Studio & Beading -- Wednesdays starting 3/24, 9:30-11 a.m.
  • “Matter of Balance” Health & Balance Improvement Programs -- Wednesdays starting 3/24 from 1-3 p.m.
  • Caregiver Support Group -- Starting in April.

Sharon Gesek is the Council on Aging’s program director for St. Johns County.

“I think this is the next step to opening everything up,” Gesek said. “I mean, we’ve socially been isolated for so long.”

With the pandemic being especially tough for seniors, Gesek said, in a way, these classes are a return to pre-COVID life.

“The Zoom and the telephone reassurance is great, but there’s nothing that replaces that in-person contact,” Gesek said. “There really isn’t.”

Participants will still need to practice safety precautions, like mask-wearing and staying socially distant. Tupper hopes others will give this a try.

“It’s also a great way to interact, get outside, and meet new people,” Tupper said. “And meet some of your new neighbors.”

A place for seniors to thrive, by trying something new.

Registration for programs is required, as seating is limited and walk-ins are not permitted. To register for courses, please RSVP with your name and program name to nocateecenter@stjohnscoa.com to reserve your place.

“We are grateful to be able to offer these new programs to the thriving senior community in Nocatee,” said COA’s Executive Director, Becky Yanni. “After a difficult year for all, we are excited to meet new people, welcome them to the COA community, and introduce them to all COA has to offer.”

For more details on upcoming programs and events, please visit http://www.coasjc.org/nocatee-center/ or call 904-209-3700.

The council also says it’s looking to expand activities and wants to hear feedback and suggestions from the public.

About the Author:

Ashley Harding joined the Channel 4 news team in March 2013 and reports every weekday for The Morning Show.