SAGE to Testify at New York City Council Committee Hearing on Improving Quality of Care for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Older Adults
Committee on Aging hearing draws important attention to the unique issues facing thousands of LGBT elders in New York City.
"LGBT older adults have faced a lifetime of stigma and discrimination, and too often they fear more of the same from service and care providers who are unaware of LGBT elders' unique needs," said Michael Adams, executive director of SAGE. "SAGE congratulates the New York City Council and its Committee on Aging, led by Councilmember Jessica Lappin, for creating a forum to discuss the City's response to these important issues. We encourage New York City to continue to translate these discussions into practical solutions and support for services that will make a real difference for our community's LGBT older people."
The Committee on Aging's hearing, "Oversight - Culturally Competent Services and Care for LGBT Seniors," will take place Monday, January 24, 2011 at 1:00 pm in the 16th Floor Committee Room, 250 Broadway, New York, NY.
Among the challenges facing LGBT elders that require culturally competent services and programs:
- Health care environments that are inhospitable to LGBT older adults, and professional caregivers that are not accepting of, or trained to work with, LGBT elders. This can lead to incidents of discrimination and cause LGBT older adults to delay seeking necessary health care, sometimes indefinitely, and can lead to premature institutionalization in nursing homes and long-term care facilities.
- The effects of lifelong social stigma and prejudice, including high rates of stress due to systemic harassment and discrimination, and higher risks for cancer, mental illness and other diseases. Programs that reduce isolation and create community can help LGBT elders make informed choices about their health and improve health outcomes.
- Higher rates of isolation and the need for a range of LGBT-sensitive community supports. LGBT older adults are twice as likely to live alone as heterosexual older adults and more than four times as likely to have no children. Further, they are often estranged from their families of origin. Therefore, they lack the informal care structure that sustains many older adults.
Since 1978, SAGE has provided comprehensive social services and community building programs for LGBT older adults in New York City, as well as groundbreaking cultural competency trainings for aging and health care providers. SAGE has created numerous original programs to serve the LGBT community, including the nation's first friendly visiting program for LGBT older adults, the first drop-in center for LGBT elders, the first support group for LGBT older adults living with HIV/AIDS, and the first municipally funded caregiver respite program for LGBT elders. Each year, thousands of LGBT older adults take advantage of SAGE's wide range of community activities, groups, and social services, offered throughout New York City.
SAGE (Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders) is the country's largest and oldest organization dedicated to improving the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) older adults. Founded in 1978 and headquartered in New York City, SAGE is a national organization that offers supportive services and consumer resources to LGBT older adults and their caregivers, advocates for public policy changes that address the needs of LGBT older people, and provides training for aging providers and LGBT organizations through its National Resource Center on LGBT Aging. With offices in New York City, Washington, DC and Chicago, SAGE coordinates a growing network of 26 local SAGE affiliates in 19 states and the District of Columbia. Learn more at sageusa.org and lgbtagingcenter.org.