FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 30, 2011
National Resource Center on LGBT Aging Unveils LGBT Caregiving Resources
New caregiving portal addresses the unique challenges facing lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) caregivers and their loved ones.
[NEW YORK, NY] Services & Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE) announced today the launch of a new caregiving portal on the National Resource Center on LGBT Aging website. The site, introduced in October 2010, will evolve over time as a centralized clearinghouse of online resources that span the many issues affecting LGBT older adults nationwide.
The Resource Center's caregiving portal offers tools, tips and multimedia resources that address the challenges unique to LGBT older adults providing care to loved ones. The announcement comes during LGBT Health Awareness Week, which encourages healthcare providers, policy makers, and LGBT people to talk openly about health care access and the challenges that LGBT people encounter in trying to stay healthy.
"Caregiving, and access to caregiver supports, is a major health issue facing the growing numbers of LGBT older adults in this country," said Hilary Meyer, Director of the National Resource Center on LGBT Aging. "Because LGBT older adults often fear discrimination from health care and aging providers, they delay seeking the services they need. This can lead to financially and mentally overextended caregivers, and care recipients who are prematurely institutionalized in nursing homes or long-term care facilities."
Approximately 80 percent of long-term care in the United States is provided by family members. However, many LGBT older adults, who are often estranged from their families of origin, must rely on partners, friends and families of choice. Because these relationships are not recognized under federal and many state laws, LGBT caregivers are often denied the resources, medical decision-making authority, and support extended to their heterosexual counterparts. In addition, a lifetime of social stigma causes many LGBT older adults to fear that they will face hostile or unwelcoming health care providers, or might encounter care workers who are unfamiliar with the needs of the LGBT community—pushing them back in the closet and preventing them from receiving the quality of care they deserve.
The National Resource Center on LGBT Aging provides critical caregiving information and tools to LGBT older adults, and seeks to inform aging services providers and LGBT organizations of LGBT elders' caregiving issues. New resources include:
"Caregiving is an issue that affects all of us—most of us will be caregivers or need care at some point in our lives," said Michael Adams, Executive Director of SAGE. "It is clear that one of the best ways for the Resource Center to support LGBT older adults is to provide an LGBT-affirming space where people going through the difficult time of caring for a loved one can receive essential information and support."
The caregiving portal is the first in a series of interactive, multimedia resources that the National Resource Center on LGBT Aging will unveil over the next year. These online resources will span the many issues affecting LGBT older adults—from legal and financial issues and HIV/AIDS, to housing and health care access, and much, much more.
Established in 2010, the National Resource Center on LGBT Aging is the country's first and only technical assistance resource center aimed at improving the quality of services and supports offered to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) older adults. The Resource Center is a project of Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE) in partnership with 10 LGBT and aging organizations nationwide, including the American Society on Aging; CenterLink (the national association of LGBT community centers); FORGE Transgender Aging Network; GRIOT Circle; Hunter College; The LGBT Aging Project; the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a); the National Institute of Senior Centers (National Council on Aging); Openhouse and PHI (a national training expert). The caregiving section of the Resource Center was made possible in part by a grant from the Harry and Jeannette Weinberg Foundation. Support for the creation of the National Resource Center on LGBT Aging was also provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Gill Foundation, M·A·C AIDS Fund and H. Van Ameringen Foundation.
To learn more about the National Resource Center on LGBT Aging, please visit lgbtagingcenter.org.
Services & Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE) is the country's largest and oldest organization dedicated to improving the lives of LGBT older adults. SAGE has pioneered programs and services for the aging LGBT community, provided technical assistance and training to expand opportunities for LGBT older people across the country, and provided a national voice on LGBT aging issues. In 2005, SAGE became the first official LGBT delegate at the White House Conference on Aging. In 2010, SAGE was awarded a three-year $900,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Administration on Aging to seed the creation of the nation's only National Resource Center on LGBT Aging. Learn more at sageusa.org and lgbtagingcenter.org.
The launch of our National Resource Center on LGBT Aging is an enormous step forward for our aging lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities. It speaks to the necessary attention that service providers of all types must place on supporting diverse older adults around the country.