National City event celebrates Healthy Aging Month

Seniors participating in Healthy Aging Month activities.

In celebration of Healthy Aging Month in September, JAR Senior Club, the first senior club dedicated to bringing seniors and local community resources to persons 64 and older at no cost, is holding the JSC Wellness event on Sept. 16 at is headquarters in National City from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The event expects to draw more than 150 attendees a DJ, senior talent show, games, health education, and more. Philippine musical artist Nyoy Volante, also known as “King of Philippine Acoustic Pop,” will perform a special performance for attending guests. Admission to the event is free to all senior community members.

Founded by local San Diegan Angel Ogapong, JSC aims to provide seniors with a sense of belonging through community, engagement, education and health and wellness. San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan will speak on the Safe Seniors Program against elder abuse at the event. National City Mayor Ron Morrison and Chula Vista Mayor John McCann will also be present to discuss the importance of proactively engaging seniors. Supporting nonprofits including Filipino American Chamber of Commerce Greater San Diego and the National Latina Business Women Association San Diego will be at the event.
“I was the primary caretaker for my grandparents, and as they got older, I saw how much their daily lives and overall health were affected by lack of engagement and community,” said Ogapong. “I decided to launch JSC to alleviate the disengagement seniors were experiencing while educating them about free resources that are not only available to them but created for them.”

JSC also helps seniors navigate through Medicare benefits and bridge access to additional resources that they may not know are available to them at no cost. Medicare health insurance representatives will be present to educate seniors about benefiting programs. Community partners American Medical Response and SuiteCare Pharmacy will provide free healthcare screenings for attendees.

Ogapong said JSC is seeking to be an important impact to the local senior community, and that the club has no insurance requirements, and the only criteria for being part of the club is being 64 years of age and older, founding the club in 2022, launching the club this year in January.

For the event, Ogapong said that the entire parking lot will be closed at its headquarters.

“I will have many tents, because of the heat, with chairs and tables for our seniors,” she said. “We have a stage for our officials and other special guests. We have a dance floor, a DJ, refreshments and food, so that our seniors can be comfortable and have a good time.”

Ogapong said that this event is open to seniors in any city or community, but with this event being in National City, they are focusing more on seniors in the South Bay area.
Ogapong is a territory agent manager for JAR Insurance and said due to her background she saw a lack of engagement when dealing with seniors when working with Medicare.

“I really saw a lack of engagement between the seniors and their families,” she said. “I see the confusion. I see the loneliness that they have. Sometimes they come to my office just to talk to my staff or myself just to have a conversation. Based on what I have experienced and what I see from my clients, and obviously from my grandparents, the number one thing that I see with seniors is that they feel lonely. They may have a family, but their family is always working, or there is no relationship or connection because their family is older. Everyone is busy and has no time for them. I created JSC to provide an extended family for them and events outside of their home or senior living center, looking for ways for them to do things outside of their comfort zone.”

Ogapong said the club is designed for seniors to connect with other seniors, engage with them, have fun, and have activities to participate in.

“What I do to make it better is to invite all the local providers that they are a part of, or assigned to, to be part of these activities,” she said. “Instead of seniors going to doctors because they are ill, they are actually having fun and doing activities with their doctors. With the JSC, I have a committee created for them, made by seniors, and they ask what activities seniors most are interested in, what is fun, and what is lacking. We provide that importance to them and what brings them value. So, any suggestions, any comments, or any kind of activities they talk about, I welcome that. This way we can make it happen and I have the seniors lead these activities.”

Ogapong said she believes that no senior should be left behind.

“Creating this platform for them to express themselves. Enjoying activities. Mingle and party. It gives them a sense that they really belong and creates that extended family,” she said.

This event will be held at 2340 East 8th St. in National City.