Taking care of each other, taking care of ourselves
This article originally appeared on the SAGE blog.
Over the past year, we have faced the COVID-19 pandemic, an onslaught of racial injustice, and a historic presidential election, yet through it all, LGBT elders continue their activism and refuse to be invisible. While we are inspired to remain resilient, it is also important to remember that no one can take on this fight alone.
With Election Day coming up, many are riddled with uncertainty and fear about what comes next. This isn’t going to be like any Election Day we’ve seen before. It will likely be weeks before we know the official results, which can cause emotional, mental, and physical discomfort. The conversations around us may feel exhausting and troubling, but don’t forget – our votes still matter, and our voices still matter, regardless of the circumstances. We will do all we can to encourage the integrity of election results so that they accurately represent everyone in our country.
Inspired by our friends at The Trevor Project who offered some guidance for LGBT youth, we wanted to provide a list of resources for older LGBT people and the SAGE community.
SAGE’s National LGBT Elder Hotline, 877-360-LGBT(5428)
Talk and be heard at the SAGE LGBT Elder Hotline. We connect LGBT older people who want to talk with friendly responders who are ready to listen. If you are an LGBT elder or care for one, call the SAGE Hotline, toll-free, at 877-360-LGBT(5428). Hotline responders:
- Are certified in crisis response
- Offer support without judgment
- Answer questions factually and confidentially
- Provide information about community support resources such as healthcare, transportation, counseling, legal services, and emotional support programs
- Are available 24/7 in English and Spanish
Make a SAGEConnection
While much remains uncertain, we know the value of human connection. SAGEConnect is a way for our community to come together and lift each other up — one call at a time. SAGE has teamed up with Mon Ami to connect LGBT older people with volunteers and allies across the country. Sign up for SAGEConnect to receive a call and make a connection to navigate these uncharted waters with.
Engage with local LGBT groups
This is a perfect opportunity to find people (and potentially places – with masks and social distancing!) in your local community that make you feel welcomed. Find local groups that provide services and programs to LGBT older people through SAGENet, our national affiliate program. You can also look on CenterLink and find LGBT centers throughout the country.
Know where to find resources
The National Resource Center on LGBT Aging is a is the country’s first and only technical assistance resource center aimed at improving the quality of services and supports offered to LGBT elders. As we look for opportunities to make change and protect our community, you can use this resource for providing training, technical assistance, and educational resources to aging providers, LGBT organizations, and LGBT older people.
For New Yorkers: SAGE Center programs
If you are looking for ways to stay connected to the community through engaging programs, be sure to register for virtual events with SAGE Centers throughout NYC. Check out our weekly program schedule to sign up for events like movie nights, workout classes, discussions, workshops, and more!
Make a self-care plan
- Video chat or call a friend or a loved one
- Unplug: While technology has been an invaluable resource for stay connected during this time of social distancing, it can also be draining. Doing an activity away from screens can be an opportunity to recharge your batteries.
- Take action: For many people, activism is a form of self-care. Knowing you are helping make progress can be a strong antidote for uncertainty and hopelessness. Whether you have just a few minutes, hours, or days to contribute, check out ACLU’s website for opportunities to take action: https://www.aclu.org/action/
- Watch your favorite TV show or movie
Tag us on social media @sageusa to let us know what you’re doing to take care of yourself post-election.
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Diverse Elders Coalition.