SAGE: Advocacy & Services for LGBT Elders
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September 19, 2012

Senator Michael Bennet Introduces The LGBT Elder Americans Act Of 2012

Instinct Magazine
By Instinct Staff
The elderly within the LGBT community are uniquely vulnerable as they age, as many do not have children, family, or legal spouses to care for them--not to mention all of the legal hoops those in relationships, or even those that are widowed, have to jump through in order for their basic financial and property rights and wishes to be met. 

That's why Democratic Senator Michael Bennet's (CO) introduction of the LGBT Elder Americans Act of 2012, is so important.

This legislation would increase federal supports to millions of LGBT older people through the Older Americans Act (OAA), the country’s largest vehicle for funding and delivering services to older people in the US. The OAA is currently up for reauthorization and includes no mention of LGBT older adults.

More after the jump.

Senator Bennet explains, “As ‘baby boomers’ continue to age, it is critical that we understand the unique needs of this diverse generation. For our LGBT seniors, questions about health care and financial issues can be especially difficult if they cannot find a trustworthy advocate to help guide them through these difficult life decisions. This bill will provide aging services organizations with more tools to assist older LGBT adults and their caregivers. Most of all, the bill will provide LGBT seniors and their families the peace of mind that their best interests are being considered at this stage in their lives.”

Michael Adams, executive director of Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE), writes:

"SAGE applauds Sen. Michael Bennet for his visionary leadership and for introducing these important amendments to the Older Americans Act. LGBT older adults face profound challenges that require unique services and supports, and this bill is a major step forward for elders in every part of the country."

According to SAGE's press release, If enacted, the bill’s amendments would do the following: 

  • Include LGBT older adults as a vulnerable population with greatest economic and social need as a result of a lifetime of discrimination;
  • Permanently establish the National Resource Center on LGBT Aging, the country's first and only technical assistance resource center aimed at improving the quality of services and supports offered to LGBT older adults;
  • Improve data collection and analysis on the effectiveness of the state units on aging and the AAAs in targeting services to LGBT older adults;
  • Require long-term care ombudsmen to collect and analyze data relating to discrimination against LGBT older adults in long-term care settings; and
  • Prioritize research and development grants for organizations working to improve LGBT health, long-term care needs, and access to culturally responsive services.

These could prove to be invaluable services for older LGBT Americans (and those currently VERY YOUNG LGBT Americans that may ultimately prove to be childless and single. Not that we're projecting our own fears.).

Let's hope this legislation gets pushed through--for all of our sakes. 

Click here to read the original article.

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