A New Project Aims to Make Residential Care More LGBT-Friendly

This article originally appeared on the PHI blog.

Two months after my mother entered a nursing home at age 73, she made a firm request to the home’s administration: add a Spanish-language channel to the lineup being offered throughout the facility. They obliged, lightening an otherwise grueling life transition for my mother, and her room soon filled with the sounds of programs she had watched much of her adult life. While it was a relatively modest concession on behalf of the nursing home, this decision was profoundly important to my mother. In the context of long-term care, it embodied the “person-centered” philosophy that has become increasingly common in this sector, affirming that individuals across the spectrum.... Read More

             

How to Be an LGBTQ Ally

by Grace Birnstengel. This article originally appeared on Next Avenue.

Chances are, there’s at least one person in your life who identifies within the LGBTQ community — likely more than one. The person might be a family member. Or a neighbor. Or a friend’s child or grandchild.

Though messaging about, and support of, LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer) people has progressed in recent years, the community still faces hate crimes, employment and housing discrimination, barriers to health care and harmful bias. That’s why allies are so important.

An “ally” is someone.... Read More

             

Pride Month: Caregiving in LGBT Communities

It is estimated that 10,000 adults turn 65 and older everyday. Amidst an aging population and shrinking healthcare workforce, caregivers play a crucial role in the long-term care of older adults, accounting for more than 85% of all elder care in the US. According to a 2015 study by AARP, it was estimated that there are 34.2 million Americans are providing care to another person who is over the age 50.

The number of caregivers in the United States is expected to grow alongside the older adult population. Caregivers provide physical, psychological, and emotional care for another person who may be a family member, friend, or a partner. The act of providing care can be very fulfilling, but as a.... Read More

             

New Group Aims To Address Isolation Among LGBTQ Older Adults

by Lisa Gillespie. This story was originally broadcast on 89.3 WFPL.

New preliminary survey research from the University of Kentucky shows that many older LGBTQ adults feel isolated and aren’t tapped into senior services. And that research is shaping programming of a new group geared toward these adults out of Lexington and Louisville.

UK researcher Aaron Guest recently surveyed around 700 LGBTQ adults over age 50 in the state. He asked them about issues related to health care, long-term care and other issues that could impact the lifespan of these adults.

“There may not be many family units to provide care, or friendship networks may have shrunk, so there’s not individuals to step into the caregiver status,”.... Read More

             

Facing Mortality Head-On

This article originally appeared in A&U Magazine.

For a handful of months now, I’ve been contemplating a decision that I know many long-term HIV survivors have contemplated before me.

Letting go.

That is, I have considered going off my medications—all of them—and letting Nature and the virus just take their course. As a long-time advocate of a patient’s right to choose when and how to end his own life when facing a terminal disease, the decision to cease medication seems to me a perfectly rational, honorable decision available to me.

I keep it open as an.... Read More

             

The First Loss is the Deepest

This article originally appeared in A&U Magazine.

Every long-term HIV survivor on the planet has stories to tell about friends, lovers, co-workers, and/or family members whom they lost to the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s and 90s. Anyone familiar with my writing knows the importance I place on our storytelling, our sharing our stories ourselves, to avoid the “straight-washing” of our history that happens when we let others tell our stories. With that in mind, this is a story about the first of my friends to die.

Dean died first. In early 1982. For about a year, we had.... Read More

             

Elder Justice is LGBT Justice!

by Sherrill Wayland, MSW, Manager of National Projects for SAGE.

Elder Justice is LGBT Justice! Whether LGBT older people protested in the streets, founded organizations, or just managed to survive times of social unrest, they laid the groundwork for the progress all LGBT people now enjoy.

Over the past year, SAGE  and FORGE collaborated with the National Center on Elder Abuse to create a series of fact sheets that engage, empower, and advocate for elder justice for LGBT older people, their caregivers, and community organizations.

To develop these fact sheets, SAGE conducted focus.... Read More

             

The View From Down Here

This article was originally published in A&U Magazine.

Around the first of April of this year, I began using a wheelchair when I leave the apartment. This was an inevitability that I resisted, fought off for as long as I could. Admitting that I need a wheelchair struck me as “the last straw,” akin to simply giving up, accepting the fact that the virus is winning. Worse, I have become more of a burden to my fiancé Rick than a companion. (When he read a draft of this column, Rick balked at my thinking I’m a burden on him and assured me that I’m not. He’s a good man that way.)

However, between the debilitating pain in.... Read More

             

No One Deserves To Be Invisible

by Dr. Theodore Hutchinson. This post originally appeared on the SAGE blog.

On the day I was born 63 years ago, I became a ghost when these words were uttered: “Congratulations, it’s a girl!”

I am a person who is transgender. Although the signs were present throughout my life, the conversation and knowledge about trans folks were not a part of mainstream life in the U.S. back then. I was invisible to myself and to others.

But I’ve come to realize that no one deserves to be invisible. No one deserves to be forgotten. No one.... Read More

             

Study Shows Most LGBT Adults Worry About Discrimination in Senior Care, Housing

by Dave Singleton. This article originally appeared on Caring.com.

You don’t know what you don’t know.

That’s what I learned touring over 30 assisted living homes and senior communities in recent years. Some visits were for an article I was working on or for volunteering. Others were personal: I was looking for a welcoming home for my mom.

Having written about LGBT housing for five years, I asked myself the same question when I walked through the doors of each community: Would I feel comfortable here if I was older and ready for a senior community?

The answer was always no, and not because I thought the managers and workers at those homes were bigots. I asked.... Read More

             

See Me

This post originally appeared on the NCOA blog.

According to a recent Gallup Poll, there are approximately 2.4 million lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people over 50 years old. We know that many LGBTQ/SGL (same-gender loving) elders never came out of the closet because of the discrimination and stigma associated with being considered criminal and mentally ill. Many compartmentalized their lives into separate “bins” without ever sharing their whole selves.

The way it was

Indeed, LGBTQ/SGL people could be fired from their jobs; have their children taken away through the courts;.... Read More

             
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