National Resource Center on LGBT Aging Unveils Essential LGBT Caregiving Resources
New caregiving portal addresses the unique challenges facing lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) caregivers and their loved ones.
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:
- Informative articles on a number of LGBT caregiving issues, from the legal documents LGBT caregivers need, to finding LGBT-friendly home care workers
- Videos that vividly illustrate the issues unique to LGBT caregiving
- Publications for LGBT older adults and service providers, such as financial planning tool kits, tips for working with transgender clients and the latest research on LGBT aging issues
- Links to local resources in communities across the country, from caregiving and health care locators, to LGBT community centers
- Training and continuing education resources for aging services providers and LGBT organizations to help ensure that institutions serving older adults are welcoming to LGBT elders.
"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 and Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE) 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, provides education and technical assistance for aging providers and LGBT organizations through its National Resource Center on LGBT Aging, and cultural competence training through SAGECare. With staff in New York City, Washington, DC and Chicago, SAGE coordinates a growing network of affiliates across the country. Learn more at sageusa.org and lgbtagingcenter.org.