SAGE/Services & Advocacy for GLBT Elders this week released a guide to answer questions from older adult service providers about differences in the aging experience for LGBT people and how those differences should be “reflected and honored.”
SAGE estimates that there are 1.5 million adults aged 65 and older who identify as LGB. By 2030 the number is expected to double.
Previous research has shown that housing is the No. 1 issue for LGBT seniors.
“The vast majority of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender older adults have lived through discrimination, social stigma, and the effects of prejudice both past and present,” said SAGE. “Aging service providers should be aware that the effects of a lifetime of stigma, discrimination, rejection and ridicule puts LGBT older adults at greater risk for physical and mental illnesses,” along with other issues including social isolation and delayed care-seeking.
SAGE, with the 28-page “Inclusive Services for LGBT Older Adults
A Practical Guide To Creating Welcoming Agencies” guide, seeks to:
• Address common misconceptions about LGBT people.
• Promote the incorporation of LGBT inclusive terminology in intake forms, emergency contact forms and other documents.
• Include marketing techniques that can also appeal to and welcome LGBT people.
• Encourage LGBT-specific programming.
SAGE, in a statement, added, “ Clearly defined non-discrimination policies also play a role in ensuring that an agency or provider’s environment is inclusive for diverse populations, and this should extend to all staff members, not just supervisors.
Chapters in the guide include: “Knowledge Is Key to Inclusion ,” “Terminology Makes a Difference,” “Good First Impressions Demonstrate Inclusion,” “Set the Tone Through Programming,” “Gender Affirmation Is Vital,” “Lasting Change Starts with Everyone,” and “Inclusion Is an Ongoing Process.”
The guide can be downloaded here.