Friendship Cafés

Senior Connections Friendship Cafés

Senior Connections Friendship Cafés are neighborhood gathering places for older adults.  There are twenty Friendship Cafés throughout the region - Richmond, Charles City County, Chesterfield County, Goochland County, Hanover County, Henrico County, New Kent County and Powhatan County.  Participants receive a nutritious midday meal while interacting with good friends and participating in diverse activities.  Our Friendship Cafés help fight social isolation in older adults by keeping them active and connected to their community.


Social Isolation
Social isolation among older adults has reached epidemic proportions and has a negative impact on our emotional and physical health.  Social isolation and loneliness are associated with increased mortality in older adults. Social isolation has also been linked to other adverse health effects, including dementia, increased risk for hospital readmission, and increased risk of falls.  Research consistently shows that feeling connected and involved benefits both mental and physical health.  This is why our Friendship Cafés are so important for the older adults who participant in this program.

Who May Attend?

Adults who are:

  • Age 60 or older

  • Independently mobile and not homebound

  • Physically, mentally, and medically independent and able to attend the Friendship Café without assistance

  • Living independently in a private residence and are not current residents of an adult care residence, assisted living facility, or nursing home.

What Is Provided?

  • Meals: A hot, nutritious meal providing one-third of the recommended dietary allowances (RDA)

  • Activities: Seniors enjoy exercise, lectures, health and nutrition education and screenings, and other educational, enrichment, and social activities

  • Field Trips: For those who can be accommodated and may include a client-purchased restaurant meal once a month

  • Initial Assessment and Periodic Reassessments: For eligibility and access to additional resources if needed

Is There A Friendship Café In My Area?

For a list of all our Friendship Café locations, please click here.

How Much Does It Cost to Particpate?

There is no charge for attending our Friendship Cafés.  Participants are encouraged to contribute according to their ability; however, there is no obligation. Donations help enhance the services we are able offer to Friendship Café participants and are voluntary, private, and confidential.

Who Staffs Our Friendship Cafés?

Food Service and Nutrition Managers, who are trained in safe food handling techniques, manage our Friendship Cafés.

When Are Friendship Cafés Open?

The days and times our Friendship Cafés are open vary by location but most are open from 9:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., four days a week. Friendship Cafés are closed on Saturdays, Sundays, and all major holidays.

Is Transporation Available for Frienship Cafés Participants?

Transportation is available for some, but not all, Friendship Café locations.  To learn if transportation is available in your area, please contact our Friendship Café Coordinator, Ms. Jamie Smith, at (804) 343-3028.

How Do I Get Started?

To be a member of one of our Friendship Cafés, please complete an application (see below).  Once we receive your application, a staff member will contact you to schedule a meeting and tour of the Friendship Café of your choice.  Your application will be reviewed, an assessment will be completed, and final eligibility will be determined during that initial meeting.  Family members may attend the Café tour and meeting with you.

The YMCA's Aging Strong Program at the Friendship Cafes

The YMCA's Aging Strong Program, a partnership of the United Way, YMCA of Greater Richmond, Senior Connections and Genworth Financial, provides wellness and arts activities that focus on improving physical, mental and social well-being. The program consists of chair based exercise classes that work on flexibility, strength and muscular endurance. Participants are evaluated through fitness testing and health screenings. The art component of the program is facilitated by Art on Wheels and the Visual Arts Center of Richmond, designed to encourage participants to express themselves, improve fine motor skills and stimulate cognitive growth. Although The Aging Strong Program is not offered at every Friendship Café, each Café does have movement and exercise.

How Can I Support Senior Connections Friendship Cafés?

Consider Adopting A Café Today! The goal of the Adopt A Café Initiative is to provide individuals,  community members, groups and organizations the opportunity to support their neighborhood Friendship Café by "adopting" a Café or becoming a "friend or sponsor" of a Café. Funds raised to support our Friendship Cafe's help provide exercise and recreation equipment, life-long learning opportunities, games, craft supplies and more.  For More Information: email Missi Boyer or call 804-343-3026.

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