Senior Connections - The Capital Area Agency on Aging
24 E. Cary Street
Richmond VA 23219
Mission Statement

Our mission is '"empowering seniors to live with dignity and choice" in their homes and communities.  We serve as a resource in the community for seniors and caregivers who need assistance in planning for and making decisions later in life. Through our programs and services we encourage and empower seniors to improve and maintain their quality of life.  Assistance is available to residents in the City of Richmond and the counties of Charles City, Chesterfield, Goochland, Hanover, Henrico, New Kent, and Powhatan.

CEO/Executive Director Dr. Thelma Bland Watson
Board Chair Ms. Michelle Johnsonn
Board Chair Company Affiliation Charles City County
Contact Information
Address 24 E. Cary Street
Richmond, VA 23219
Telephone 804 343-3000
Fax 804 649-2258
History and Background
Year of Incorporation 1974
Financial Summary
Revenue vs Expense Bar Graph - All Years
Expense Breakdown Bar Chart - All Years
Projected Revenue $6,285,000.00
Projected Expenses $6,285,000.00

Our mission is '"empowering seniors to live with dignity and choice" in their homes and communities.  We serve as a resource in the community for seniors and caregivers who need assistance in planning for and making decisions later in life. Through our programs and services we encourage and empower seniors to improve and maintain their quality of life.  Assistance is available to residents in the City of Richmond and the counties of Charles City, Chesterfield, Goochland, Hanover, Henrico, New Kent, and Powhatan.


Senior Connections plays an important role in shaping the Richmond region's health and long term care system by providing a range of home and community services.  We are continually strengthening our capacity to promote the dignity and independence of older citizens while supporting the needs of caregivers and integrating services for persons with disabilities. 

Major accomplishments for 2016

  • Thirteen volunteers provided 2,411 hours of service to assist than individuals (older adults and caregivers) to better understand Prescription Drug Plans available under Medicare Part D, and how to enroll in the most suitable option.  Our VICAP program provided counseling for seniors, caregivers, and families enabling them to make informed decisions about Medicare and other insurances including health, Medigap and long-term care.
  • Provided a range of volunteer opportunities.
  • As a result of the declining economy, we are responding to a growing number of requests for crisis assistance, medications, mortgage, rent, utilities and home repairs. 
  • Medicare Health Coaches assisted more than 400 older adults transition from hospital to home without readmissions for at least 30 days.
  • More than 39,000 meals were provided to 700 seniors at our Friendship Cafés where they also participated in a range of health, cultural, and volunteer activities.   More than 98,000 meals were delivered to more than 700 homebound seniors by Meals on Wheels through our Home Delivered Meals Program.  


Major 2016 goals and priorities
  • Expand community partnerships for the No Wrong Door Program that is part of the Aging Disability Resource Center (ADRC).  The ADRC is a major source of information, services, and assistance for our seniors.  To achieve this goal, we are partnering with community organizations to provide consistent information and service delivery, promote awareness of public and private long term support sources, and provide options counseling to aid seniors and their families plan for future needs.  We will strive to provide additional outreach to underserved and hard to reach populations and seniors at risk of nursing home placement.  As a part of this effort, we have implemented a  Hospital to Home Care Transitions Pilot Project with Bon Secours Richmond Health System and VCU Health System.  This Program helps reduce repeat hospital admissions and decreases visits to the Emergency Room.  We are also providing Options Counseling for older adults who need assistance with long-term care so that they can make more informed decisions about the services they wish to have. 
  • Continue the joint effort with community partners on the Age Wave Readiness Intiative.  The first phases were led by Senior Connections and the United Way of Greater Richmond and Petersburg.  The implementation phases are being conducted in partnership with the Department of Gerontology at Virginia Commonwealth University.
  • Priorities for the  FY17 Area Plan for Aging Services are meals, health/wellness activities, care transitions, transportation, home care, access to information/ services, support for caregivers and workforce/employment.
  • Continue the Chronic Disease Self Management Program (an evidence based initiative) to assist seniors and caregivers to better manage their health issues and concerns.  Classes are provided at community locations. 
  • Expand our Adopt a Cafe initiative to support our 21 Friendship Cafes located throughout the Richmond Metroolitan area.  Friendship Cafes are gathering places for seniors who need help with meals, transportation, health maintenance, excercise and wellness support.  Contributions are accepted to expand activities at the Friendship Cafes. 
  • Recruit additional participants and partner groups for our Job Readiness/Work Experience Program.  Continue to identify work force issues for the future and assist employers confronting an aging work force and the loss of older workers.  Expand recruitment efforts for our volunteer programs, including Foster Grandparent Mentoring (FGP), Retired Senior and Volunteer (RSVP), and participants for the Friendship Cafés.
To fulfill our mission of assisting seniors to live with dignity and choices in their homes and communities, we are looking to the community to assist via cash donations, volunteer time, and donation of goods and services in the following areas:
  • *Making available accessible and affordable critical services such as meals, minor home repairs, heating/cooling equipment, as well as financial assistance with purchasing prescription medications and medical supplies, and payment of rent, mortgage, and utility bills.
  • Providing accessible and affordable transportation.
  • Health care, nutritional support, and in home care services.
  • Respite services for caregivers.
  • Activities that support health/wellness, recreation, and life long learning. 
  • Legal assistance, financial planning, and money management.
  • Housing, economic security, and assistance finding information and services.

The number of older adults in our service area continues to increase.  They have many diverse needs and efforts are made to provide special assistance to needy older adults during the holiday season, December-January and then to help them with ongoing needs throughout the year.  Increasing demand for our services resulting from the aging Baby Boomer population and reduction of federal, state, and local funding make the need for your assistance more urgent.  Thank you for your support.

Senior Connections, The Capital Area Agency on Aging is a private nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization established in 1973.  Senior Connections is a member of a network of approximately 700 Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) with 25 in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Senior Connections receives federal funding under the provisions of the Older Americans Act and state funds administered by the Virginia Department for the Aging.  Funding is also provided by city and county governments.

As a private nonprofit organization, Senior Connections accepts and are most appreciative of community support in the form of monetary donations, contributions, and volunteer service.  The Agency welcomes opportunities for partnerships.  Senior Connections serves as an umbrella organization for services, partnerships and volunteer opportunities.

CEO Statement

We appreciate the opportunity to profile our Agency on GiveRichmond. Senior Connections has a number of partnerships with other agencies in the Richmond Metropolitan Area.  These partnerships provide the opportunity for us to share current resources, develop collaborative initiatives and plan together for the future.  The Richmond Region is taking a lead in preparing for the "Age Wave" of baby boomers that are now going into their retirement years.  A recent survey conducted by the Older Dominion Partnership, a statewide planning initiative, concluded that our communities are not prepared for the increase in older residents or the costs that it will take to provide support for them.  On the other hand, we need to recognize older adults as valuable resources that can be called upon to volunteer in support of needy seniors and others in our communities.  While providing critical services for today's seniors is a priority for us, we are also concerned about the demographic shift that our communities are experiencing.  Our challenge is to keep pace with the needs that we have for services while creating opportunities that will make our communities livable for people of all ages.  It will cost more to provide the home and community services that our most vulnerable seniors need.  Therefore, we appreciate the opportunity to be a part of GiveRichmond and to share resources with other community groups who are partners in our human services network.

Board Chair Statement

On behalf of the Board of Directors and Advisory Council of Senior Connections, I wish to thank you for your interest in our programs, services, and needs. We have an updated Five Year Strategic Plan that incorporates our major planning initiatives including a Four Year Plan for Aging Services and the Richmond Region Age Wave Plan.  We have 3 focus areas:  Visibility & Marketing, Programs & Services, Funding & Resources. This plan is used to guide our current and future service delivery to older adults, persons with disabilities, and caregivers. It is also a key mechanism for our communications with community partners, citizens, and the public. This plan is updated annually, engaging the public in the planning process as we consider priorities, needs, and issues to address. The public’s input is critical to ensure our plan is reflective of community concerns and includes a range of service options that appropriately meet the needs of our older population and their caregivers. We strive to be strategic and innovative in our approaches to both planning and service delivery. 

 It is important to note that as our Baby Boomer population ages, this “Age Wave” will create an unprecedented increase in the needs of the older population and the services we provide.  In addition to addressing this growth in our planning process, we have teamed up with the United Way of Greater Richmond to incorporate our work with the Age Wave Plan Initiative for the Richmond Region.  Some jointly identified priorities include workforce/employment, easier access to resources, support for caregivers, transportation, housing, civic/community engagement, health and well being.  


Thank you again for your interest in our agency and our mission of assisting seniors in living with dignity and choices in their homes and communities.

Areas of Service
Areas Served
Richmond, City
Chesterfield County
Goochland County
Hanover County
Henrico County
Powhatan County
Charles City County
New Kent County
We serve Virginia Planning District 15.
Board Chair
Board Chair Ms. Michelle Johnsonn
Company Affiliation Charles City County
Term July 2017 to June 2019
Board of Directors
Board Members
Lisa Adkins Hanover County
Dr. Barbara Chapman Community Volunteer
Mrs. Jane Crawley Retired, Henrico County
Mary Devine Community Volunteer, Goochland County
Rev. Willis A. Funn Retired, Henrico County
Mr. Bernie Henderson Nelsen Funeral Home & Crematory
Mr. Lee Householder ProjectHomes
Ms. Debbie Jackson City of Richmond
Mrs. Kimberly Jefferson Goochland Department of Social Services
Michelle Johnson Charles City County
Mr. Rob Jones The Alliance Group
Ms. Okpil Kim Retired, Commonwealth of Virginia
Mr. R. Larry Lyons Retired Banker
Mr. Sean McCleary Bon Secours Health System
Mr. Paul McPherson Sr.Thos. Somerville Company
Ms. Mary Beth Murphy Genworth
Rita J. Randolph Dominion Resources Services, Inc.
Rebecca M. Ringley State Farm
John T. Robertson HomeKeepers, Inc.
Alexander N. Simon Attorney
Sarah Snead County of Chesterfield
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 10
Asian American/Pacific Islander 1
Caucasian 11
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 9
Female 13
Board Term Lengths 3
Board Term Limits 0
Board Meeting Attendance % 95
Written Board Selection Criteria? Yes
Written Conflict of Interest Policy? Yes
Percentage Making Monetary Contributions 95
Percentage Making In-Kind Contributions 100
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 6
Standing Committees
Strategic Planning / Strategic Direction
Other Boards
The tables below contain information about other groups that advise this nonprofit on operations and projects.
We have an active Board of Directors. Members represent government, business, volunteers/advocates and the corporate community.
Executive Director
Executive Director Dr. Thelma Bland Watson
Experience Dr. Watson served as Executive Director of Field Services for the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, one of the nation’s leading education and advocacy groups from 1997 to 2002. In this position, she worked closely with the National Aging network and expanded the National Committee’s network of volunteers. Prior to joining the National Committee, Dr. Watson served as Commissioner of the Virginia Department for the Aging (VDA) from 1990 to 1997 under Governor L. Douglas Wilder and Governor George Allen.

Before serving as Commissioner for VDA,  Dr. Watson was Acting Commissioner from November 1989 until January 1990 under Governor Gerald Baliles and Deputy Commissioner from June 1988 until November 1989. Prior to her employment with the Commonwealth of Virginia, she was Deputy Director of the Crater District Area Agency on Aging in Petersburg, VA for eight years. Dr. Watson worked with the Crater Planning District Commission and its member local governments in several positions related to aging, human services and human resources from 1972 to 1980. She has served on numerous local state and federal boards and advisory councils.

A gerontologist and public administrator, Dr. Watson received a Ph.D in Public Policy and Administration from Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), a graduate degree in Gerontology from VCU and undergraduate degree in Sociology/Social Work from Virginia State University. Additionally, she completed the Virginia Executive Institute.  Dr. Watson has also completed the National Long Term Care Institute, which is part of the National Association of Area Agency on Aging. 

Dr. Watson is a native of Virginia and resides in Petersburg, Virginia.

Former CEOs
Mrs. Mary Creath Payne Jan 1980 - June
Senior Staff
Mrs. Betsy Bushkar Director, Finance and Administration
Full Time Staff 42
Part Time Staff 40
Volunteers 900
Contractors 4
Organization has a Fundraising Plan? Yes
Organization has a Strategic Plan? Yes
Years Strategic Plan Considers 5
Date Strategic Plan Adopted Sept 2011
Management Succession Plan? Under Development
Organization Policy and Procedures Yes
Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistleblower Policy Yes
Document Destruction Policy Yes
  • Faith Community Groups
  • Feedmore, Inc. (Meals on Wheels)
  • ElderHomes, Inc.
  • Senior Center of Greater Richmond, Inc.
  • Home Health Care Agencies
  • Adult Day Centers
  • United Way of Greater Richmond and Petersburg
Greater Richmond Chamber of Commerce2012
Combined Federal Campaign2012
Central Virginia Foodbank Partner Agency2014
Best Practice Award for Money Management (Bill Payer Service for Seniors) AwardCommonwealth Council on Aging2011
Community Volunteer Award for Money Management ProgramGovernor of Virginia, Office of Volunteersim2012
Education Seminar for CaregiversCommonwealth Council on Aging2013

Access to information, services, and resources is one of the top unmet needs consistently identified in our area.  Senior Connections functions as an Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC) and is the first place to go with aging and disability questions.  We provide information and assistance regarding public benefits and other services and programs available throughout the area. Individuals, concerned families or friends, or professionals can receive information specifically tailored to each person's situation.  ADRC services can be provided at our office, by telephone or through a home visit.  Services include:  information on options, benefits counseling, options counseling, planning for future needs, referral, assessment, and eligibility screening. Referrals to services are made based on customers’ needs.  Soon public agencies and participating private providers will be able to share client information in a confidential and secure manner through a web-based software system.  Individuals receiving services will have to tell their story only once and their information can then be sent to other agencies electronically with the person’s permission.

There is a need for affordable and convenient transportation for seniors and persons with disabilities to medical and other essential appointments, particularly in rural areas. Senior Connections provides transportation so that older adults, caregivers and persons with disabilities can reach needed services, including medical appointments, community programs and other critical locations.

Older adults who are experiencing a range of health issues and chronic diseases have a need for good nutrition and balanced meals.  Meals and nutrition are also preventive measures that help prevent chronic diseases and other illnesses.  Senior Connections' Friendship Cafés are neighborhood gathering places for seniors where a hot midday meal, good friends, and diverse activities enable seniors to remain active and connected to the community while meeting their nutritional needs.  They also participate in health education presentations, screening activities, and exercise activities. Home delivered meals provide nutritious meals with one-third of the recommended dietary allowances (RDA) that are delivered to the homes of seniors who cannot prepare a nutritious meal for themselves.

Family members are the primary providers of long-term care for loved ones. Family caregiving is the act of assisting someone you care about, who may be chronically ill, disabled, or unable to care for him or herself.  Our Caregiver Support Services provide information about available services and assistance with accessing these services; individual counseling, support groups, training to help with problem solving and decision making, and hands on care.  Respite Care provides temporary relief for caregivers through home care and adult day care.

Senior Connections offers employment assistance for individuals age 55 and older interested in re-entering the workforce. The Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) provides short-term work experience for income eligible persons.  The program helps seniors find permanent employment by upgrading existing skills or learning new ones.  A Referral File is kept on those seeking full or part time employment.  When an employer calls looking for an experienced and qualified applicant for a job opening, participants from the Job Referral File are matched with the job's requirements and an interview is arranged.
Volunteers are a vital resource to Senior Connections, especially in service to frail and economically disadvantaged seniors.  Volunteers provide support services to older adults and community organizations.  Our programs offer both personal rewards and also fulfill a needed service.  We also partner with other service agencies in the community to provide volunteer opportunities through RSVP, a volunteer program for those 55+.  Our Foster Grandparent Program provides trained mentors to other community agencies to assist with at-risk children, particularly school settings.
Seniors and caregivers often have difficulty managing their financial affairs.  Assistance and counseling is available to help with money matters, managing credit, and handling banking issues.  Our Money Management Program provides in-home financial management and one-on-one check writing and bill paying services to assist with managing personal finances.  The program also provides protection from exploitation.  Our Emergency Services programs provide funds to assist older adults with critical needs including utility, prescription medication, and rent expenses.

The Virginia Insurance Counseling and Assistance Program (VICAP) counselors provide information on Medicare, Medicare Supplemental, and Medicare Advantage insurance; Medicare Prescription Drug Plan (Part D); Medicare Savings Programs (including premiums, deductibles, and copayments); Long Term Care insurance; understanding medical and insurance statements; filing claims and appeals; and Medicare and Medicaid fraud and abuse.

CEO/ED/Board Comments
A new challenge is helping seniors and families successfully transition from hospital to home settings, reducing unnecessary, repeat and early hospital readmissions.  We are working with local partners to provide care transition coaching and other supports to seniors, families and caregivers.
Fiscal Year
Projected Revenue $6,285,000.00
Projected Expenses $6,285,000.00
Endowment Value $658,386.00
Spending Policy Income Only
Form 990s
IRS Letter of Exemption
Detailed Financials
Revenue SourcesHelpThe financial analysis involves a comparison of the IRS Form 990 and the audit report (when available) and revenue sources may not sum to total based on reconciliation differences. Revenue from foundations and corporations may include individual contributions when not itemized separately.
Fiscal Year201720162015
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
Government Contributions$5,643,906$5,841,518$5,718,603
Individual Contributions$200,908$155,776$215,510
Investment Income, Net of Losses$60,199$22,826($1,517)
Membership Dues------
Special Events------
Revenue In-Kind$75,312$88,746$74,917
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201720162015
Program Expense$6,471,961$6,399,030$6,065,820
Administration Expense$202,980$203,980$199,133
Fundraising Expense$11,790$10,425$13,134
Payments to Affiliates------
Total Revenue/Total Expenses0.941.001.03
Program Expense/Total Expenses97%97%97%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue0%0%0%
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201720162015
Total Assets$1,914,420$2,268,558$2,406,079
Current Assets$429,229$877,091$1,014,405
Long-Term Liabilities$0$0$0
Current Liabilities$391,809$355,198$520,270
Total Net Assets$1,522,611$1,913,360$1,885,809
Short Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201720162015
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities1.102.471.95
Long Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201720162015
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets0%0%0%
Capital Campaign
Currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? No
State Charitable Solicitaions Permit
Solicitations Permit
Solicitations Permit ExemptionView
Organization Comments
We are receiving new requests for services with limited new sources of funds.