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Powered by Connection: The Impact of Senior Dining Centers

This year’s theme for Older Americans Month (OAM) is “Powered by Connection,” highlighting the positive impact connectivity has on the well-being and health of aging adults. In the wake of the U.S. Surgeon General’s Advisory on the Healing Effects of Social Connection and Connectivity, this topic is more relevant than ever.

Nan Davis, the Dining Center Coordinator for Carrie’s Café at LifeCare Alliance, believes this is a powerful theme for OAM. As an older American herself who works with this population on a daily basis, Davis has a unique perspective on this topic.

“We need places like Carrie’s Café,” she says. “Because in here, people are amongst other folks that are going through the same thing. We have a lot to offer each other.”

Congregate dining centers like Carrie’s Café are one of the best ways for older adults to find connection with one another. Not only do these centers provide a nutritious, home-style meal, but they also offer the chance to meet new people, nurture friendships, and build a support network.

“People feel like they belong here,” says Davis. “We can count on each other.”

At Carrie’s Café, anyone over 60 can enjoy a hot lunch for a suggested donation of $1.50 every week day. “And if they can’t afford that, we don’t turn anyone away,” Davis points out. The café also hosts bingo, crafting activities, and social events.

“Carrie’s is a wonderful place for older adults to connect and make new friends,” says Davis. “It’s a place where people can come in, have a good time, and not worry about what’s going on outside these walls. In here, we’re safe; we’re with friends.”

On any given week day, Carrie’s is filled with friends eating, conversing, and connecting. For many of our clients, this is their only support network. Not only does this connection provide a social outlet, but it is also linked to better mental and physical health.

To see firsthand the power of connection, volunteer at Carrie’s Café in honor of Older Americans Month. You can work in the kitchen, help set up fashion shows and holiday parties, lead bingo, teach crafts, DJ, and more. Get started today by heading to lifecarealliance.org/volunteer.

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