SAGE and Visiting Nurse Service of New York Launch Survey to Identify Needs of LGBTQ Elders


Media Contact:

Christina Da Costa, SAGE Senior Director of Communications; 917-553-3328

Caren Browning, King + Company, for VNSNY; 917-334-6397


COVID-19 Health Crisis is the Backdrop for the First NYC Health Survey to Measure Concerns of LGBTQ Elders on Health Care, Transportation, Social Relationships and Other Critical Issues

April, 29, 2020 – New York, NY — SAGE, the world’s largest and oldest organization dedicated to improving the lives of LGBTQ elders, and the Visiting Nurse Service of New York (VNSNY) Center for Home Care Policy & Research, launched a new survey as part of a joint initiative to learn more about the health and social needs of LGBTQ elders living in New York City.

With generous funding from The Fan Fox and Leslie R. Samuels Foundation Inc, long-time supporters of both SAGE and VNSNY, The SAGE AdvantAge Initiative Survey of LGBTQ+ Older Adults in NYC is designed to assess the needs and well-being of LGBTQ New Yorkers, age 55 and older, living in all five boroughs of the City. Part of a nationwide effort to help make communities more aging friendly, the Advantage Initiative process was developed by VNSNY Research to capture older adults’ perceptions of and experiences in their communities; identify barriers to aging in place; and plan for action to address these barriers.

Collecting this data during the time of COVID-19 is especially crucial because of the population’s heightened risks due to disparities, co-morbidities, and lack of access to care.

This SAGE/VNSNY initiative marks the first time New York City’s LGBTQ elder community has been surveyed specifically with the intention of paving the way for improvements in healthcare and social programming, and amplifying unrepresented voices within the LGBTQ community. The short, online survey is an opportunity for LGBTQ elders to anonymously share their experiences with the aim of creating a more inclusive and age-friendly community.

“In order to best serve our community, we need to hear directly from the voices that look to SAGE as a space where they can continue to form connections and find opportunities to flourish,” said SAGE Executive Vice President Lynn Faria. “It is our responsibility as a community to learn about and understand the needs of our LGBTQ elders, so we can provide sufficiently comprehensive services and resources that allow the members of our community to thrive.”

“For many LGBTQ elders in New York City, the COVID-19 pandemic awakens deep-seated fears and memories of negative experiences with access to care that began in the 1980s and ‘90s with the plague of HIV/AIDS,” says Arthur Fitting, VNSNY LGBTQ Program Director. “SAGE and VNSNY developed this survey to reveal and more clearly understand critical concerns that older members of the LGBTQ community are struggling with, not only in the midst of this public health crisis, but every day.”

Mia Oberlink, the Director of the AdvantAge Initiative adds, “We have collected and provided valuable data to more than 60 communities around the country and are so pleased to have the opportunity to extend our survey capabilities through SAGE to capture data about the older LGBTQ community in NYC.”

Survey responses will serve as a vehicle for identifying essential needs and barriers to health and social equity throughout New York’s five boroughs, as well as a blueprint for future SAGE programs and services. Participants completing the survey can enter a drawing for the chance to win one of twenty-five $25 gift cards. The survey is anonymous, takes minutes to complete, and is available in English or Spanish at


SAGE is the country’s largest and oldest organization dedicated to improving the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) older people. Founded in 1978 and headquartered in New York City, SAGE is a national organization that offers supportive services and consumer resources to LGBT older people and their caregivers. SAGE also advocates for public policy changes that address the needs of LGBT elders, provides education and technical assistance for aging providers and LGBT community organizations through its National Resource Center on LGBT Aging, and cultural competency training through SAGECare. With staff located across the country, SAGE also coordinates SAGENet, a growing network of affiliates in the United States. Learn more at

For over 125 years, the Visiting Nurse Service of New York (VNSNY) has been at the forefront of health care innovation and coordinated care management in the home. Serving the five boroughs of New York City and Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester Counties, VNSNY is the largest not-for-profit home- and community-based health care organization in the United States. On any given day, VNSNY has approximately 44,300 patients and health plan members in its care, and works proactively to promote their health and well-being by providing high-quality, cost- effective health care to vulnerable individuals in their homes and communities.

In addition to delivering direct health care services in the home, VNSNY also employs sophisticated data analytics and care coordination to manage the full continuum of post-acute care for our patients and plan members. VNSNY’s operations include VNSNY Hospice and Palliative Care, which delivers compassionate care coordination at the end of life, as well as an array of community mental health services and a care management unit, VNSNY Care360°Solutions. VNSNY also delivers private pay care management and home health aide services through its Partners in Care business unit, and operates a selection of health plans through its managed care affiliate, VNSNY CHOICE. The Visiting Nurse Service of New York is proud to be the largest home- and community-based care management organization in the New York metropolitan area credentialed with SAGECare Platinum level LGBT cultural competency. Visit us at:

The AdvantAge Initiative (AI) is a project of the Center for Home Care Policy & Research (CHCPR) of the Visiting Nurse Service of New York (VNSNY) that began in 1999 with support from the Archstone Foundation, Atlantic Philanthropies, The John A. Hartford Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Retirement Research Foundation, and the Fan Fox and Leslie R. Samuels Foundation.