Day 4: Great Workshops and Progress at ASA
SAGE staffers at the American Society on Aging’s 2015 Aging in America Conference will be reporting back to us all week with their views on the conference, panels they are participating in, innovative strides in the field of aging, ideas they are taking back to work and more! Check back daily for their insights.
Wednesday afternoon I worked with National Resource Center Certified Trainer Doug Carl to facilitate a conversation titled Improving LGBT Inclusiveness of Aging Service Providers. We talked about different ways to bring LGBT aging training to aging service providers, including providers who may be hesitant to discuss LGBT related information.
After introductions and going over some key terms, Doug explained how he has been able to make inroads and build strong relationships with aging network service providers across the state of Georgia. He highlighted the importance of not only tapping your personal networks but also finding LGBT allies who can help advance the goal of bringing training to service providers. You never know who may identify as LGBT or have an LGBT family member, and support can come from anywhere.
The participants came from all over the country and left the session feeling energized and prepared to advocate for LGBT older adults. Personally, I’m inspired by their commitment and am sure that the resources we share through our websites (www.sageusa.org and www.lgbtagingcenter.org) can help them continue their advocacy!
Last night, the LGBT Aging Issues Network (LAIN) gathered for a great committee meeting. The room was packed and there was standing room only! What a long way LAIN has come since its inception! It was great to hear about our progress from last year and what the future holds for LGBT aging. I also met with Karen Fredricksen-Goldsen, the Principal Investigator behind Caring and Aging with Pride, the largest LGBT health study and the first to be funded by National Institute of Health (NIH). Karen and her team will be coming to SAGE next month to do follow-up interviews with 100-150 LGBT older adults for the next round of her study. We at SAGE are very proud that New York City’s LGBT residents were the largest proportion in the overall sample of 2,450 people, and that our inclusion in the study helped expand the diversity of the overall sample (21% of the LGBT older adults are people of color; over 300 transgender elders were interviewed). Looking forward to what today will bring at Aging in America!
The last few days at ASA have been phenomenal! Not only is it a great networking opportunity (just ran into Katherine Acey from our friends at GRIOT Circle!), but it allows SAGE to bring LGBT aging to the forefront of this massive conference on aging.
Tuesday night, I attended a wonderful reception at the Center on Halsted, Chicago’s LGBT Center, by the Chicago Task Force on LGBT Aging. They conducted tours of the new LGBT housing facility in Chicago, Town Hall, which is a collaborative project between the Center on Halsted and Heartland Housing. It is an amazing facility in a combination new building/restored historic police station, that has about 70 residents, LGBT elder programming and a senior lunch program funded by the city of Chicago – a truly gorgeous space.
Yesterday, I had the pleasure of participating in two successful workshops. One about Innovative Senior Centers with Catherine Thurston & Pattie Cippe Hart from the Center for Living Well in Washington Heights/Inwood, and the other about Storytelling with Serena Worthington and Kathi Boyle from the SAGE affiliate of Western Pennsylvania at Persad Center. Both workshops were very well received and had great attendance. “Helping Elders Tell Their Stories: Best Practices from StoryCorps and SAGE” particularly produced a really happy cohort of people as paired up matches began telling their partners parts of their own stories of their lives. Watch the room buzzing with people sharing their stories and connecting over some surprisingly shared experiences. Can’t wait to see what today brings!