From coast to coast: sharing the lessons we learn

When we formed the Diverse Elders Coalition, we saw a unique opportunity to share our collective challenges. Our member organizations have long been leaders among policymakers, advocates and community members around the distinctive needs of their communities. And we believe that our diverse communities—across race, ethnicity, socio-economic status, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and ability—share histories and experiences that unite us. Across the nation, many elders are living with multiple identities and struggling with barriers across those identities. By sharing the stories and lessons learned from our collective challenges, we can more effectively advocate on behalf of all diverse elders.

We recognize that there are multiple ways to reach policymakers, advocates, older adults and the public at large. Therefore, we share our communities’ challenges and the lessons learned via multiple platforms.  We lead in-person trainings, host webinars, create multimedia resources, and more.

Our goal is to increase public support for the issues that affect our communities, while educating and connecting our older people and their loved ones to the key policy debates on aging.  As importantly, we aim to build community and highlight the commonalities that exist among our many diverse communities.

Expand the sections below to view some of our highlights:

Educating funders on the health of diverse elders

We have partnered with Grantmakers in Health (GIH) and Grantmakers in Aging (GIA) to host webinars and in-person trainings geared towards funders on the kinds of programs and work they can fund to improve the well-being of diverse elders. As examples, we presented at the GIH annual meeting in Atlanta, Georgia for a panel discussion entitled, “Grantmakers as Catalysts for Change: Empowering Communities to Strengthen their Voice.” Additionally, we created a webinar for the GIA’s “Conversations with GIA” series to outline our work around the ACA, and how funders could better support state specific advocacy around health reform.

Building community between our member organizations

We work with our member organizations to support affiliates and better connect them with the mission and national work of the coalition and to highlight our shared histories, challenges and experiences across our multiple identities. As an example, during NICOA’s 19th annual conference “Aging in Indian Country: Embracing the Past and Facing the Future,” SAGE held two presentations: ‘Building Partnerships and Alliances to Advance the Interests of Diverse elders: an LGBT perspective” and “LGBT: an overview.” This was the first time the LGBT perspective was included at NICOA’s annual conference.

Partnering with HHS to highlight the benefits of Medicare

We partnered with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for a webinar entitled “How the Affordable Care Act Strengthens Medicare.” The webinar highlighted changes in costs, coverage and benefits that will take effect in 2014 under the ACA, and encouraged Medicare-eligible elders to review their current health and prescription drug coverage for possible improvements.

Producing multimedia resources on improving the economic security of diverse elders

Partnering with the Insight Center for Community Economic Development, we released a historic report, “Securing Our Future: Advancing Economic Security for Elders of Color, American Indian and Native Alaskan Elders, and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Elders.” The policy report describes the challenges facing these communities and offers concise policy recommendations and describes various models that can successfully improve economic security for millions of diverse older people nationwide.

Additionally, we joined the National Consumer Law Center and the National Senior Citizens Law Center to produce a webinar entitled, “AGING INTO POVERTY: Economic Insecurity among Older Adults of Color & LGBT Elders.” This webinar discussed the economic and social challenges adults of color and LGBT elders face as they age, while focusing on programs and policy solutions that can help ameliorate these dire economic challenges.

Contact us to learn more about how to partner with us on public education efforts.

To learn more about our issues, browse through our resources.

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