New Training Programs For Home Care Providers Are Key To Helping LGBT Seniors Age In Place Securely And With Pride
It's absolutely essential that home health care workers receive specialized training designed to ensure they are comfortable -- and knowledgeable -- about caring for LGBT patients, and familiar with the specific needs of this population.
On the one hand, there's a lot of denial going with our emphasis on youth in gay male culture. On the other, there was a whole generation of gay men who perished during the AIDS crisis meaning that today's Boomers and Gen-Xers don't necessarily have a road map to follow from those who came before us.
"I wonder if the feeling of disrespect that many older LGBT people feel is really a feeling of being invisible."
I believe the unifying theme for LGBT aging advocates lies in our ability to respond to loss. We must imagine solutions that catch each other when we experience profound loss, and we need stories that account for our unique histories and commonalities.
Much has been written about the growing number of older people in this country, as well as the incremental shift in favorable policies and attitudes toward certain segments of the LGBT population. However, less public attention has been placed on how LGBT people experience aging, beginning in midlife all the way through later life.
Two residents at my mother's nursing home in northern Colorado began overcrowding her table at dinner time, making it uncomfortable for her to sit or eat. And when she complained informally to a staff member, the couple launched a full-on assault.
As we age, each of us will need to ask for support. But if we're LGBT, the type of institutional support we receive will rely largely on questions that have already been asked about us. If we're denied data to craft relevant health interventions, we will perish off-screen in droves, measured only by the shallowest of statistics.
The inspiration behind Before You Know It came in 2008, when I was invited to screen my last film in upstate New York. There was a good LGBT turnout, and they were almost exclusively LGBT seniors. I realized how little I'd seen or heard of them as a community, and I started to question why.
Regardless of the show's ultimate success, the significance of Golden Gays lies in the fact that it is the first television show in history to focus on the lives of lesbian and gay seniors. By definition, this is groundbreaking television.
The Administration on Aging estimates that there are between 1.75 million and 4 million Americans over 60 who are LGBT. But many LGBT seniors are returning to the closet, if they ever came out, in fear of discrimination by the very people who are supposed to assist them in times of need.