When caring for an LGBT older adult, members of SAGE Metro Detroit want caregivers to understand the importance of unique circumstances faced by LGBT people ages 65 and up.
More so, for LGBT people to be aware of the supports available to them when caring for another.
That’s why the organization created the “Caregiving & LGBT Concerns Guide” in collaboration with the ACLU of Michigan and the three Area Agencies on Aging serving Southeastern Michigan – Detroit Area Agency on Aging, AAA1-B, and The Senior Alliance.
To put this in perspective, the guide points to LGBT older adults who came of age during a time when being openly LGBT could result in severe consequences and did for many, including inpatient mental health treatment, imprisonment, family and community exclusion, and physical and verbal violence.
According to SAGE’s National Resource Center on LGBT Aging, LGBT people, when compared to their non-LGBT counterparts, are twice as likely to age as a single person, twice as likely to live alone, and three to four times less likely to have children to support them. LGBT older adults are nearly three times as likely to live in poverty.
“We’re really excited to publish this. We really wanted it to be a guide that was user-friendly and helpful for someone who is caring for an LGBT older adult who may not know some of the key issues that the community faces. They can inform themselves and also find out more information by linking to quite a few national resource centers on LGBT aging,” said Kat LaTosch, board president of SAGE Metro Detroit.
Electronic copies are available online. Watch for the SAGE Metro Detroit Rainbow Resource Guide to be released soon to help LGBT older adults make informed decisions about which specific service providers to use. LaTosch said the organization has added 42 LGBT-inclusive agencies including seven home healthcare providers, five legal and financial service providers, 10 mental health and medical providers, seven senior housing facilities, and 13 additional resource and advocacy groups.
AAA Improves Care to LGBT Older Adults in Michigan
A two-year project, funded by the Michigan Health Endowment Fund from 2017-2018, seeks to reduce isolation and improve care to LGBT older adults in Michigan.
“We’re excited to be in the beginning stages of launching a new initiative to expand this to other regions in the state,” said LaTosch about the project which aims to build relationships between local LGBT service organizations and the Area Agencies on Aging.
SAGE Metro Detroit has been working with three AAA’s in southeast Michigan to strengthen their ability in the following ways to affectively handle members of the LGBT community.
– Upgrade non-discrimination policies within each AAA to include sexual orientation and gender identity.
– Provide training for all call center operators, staff and their vendors.
– Provide on-site, and roll-out of internet-based trainings to increase accessibility and sustainability post-project.
– Adopt procedural changes to allow AAA staff the ability to collect and record sexual orientation and gender identity demographic information more easily from callers.
– Identify LGBT-affirming service providers for older adults in each region.
– Create a marketing campaign to build awareness about the availability of LGBT-affirming referrals for the region’s LGBT older adult population.
– Discover and share lessons about how to adapt an urban pilot for a rural and geographically dispersed population.
– Share a how-to manual for additional AAA regions by 2019.
Area Agencies on Aging in Southeast Michigan
The following agencies provide information and referrals for services such as meals, housing, in-home care, and transportation. They have trained their staff on how to sensitively identify and appropriately serve LGBT callers.
Detroit Area Agency on Aging
The Senior Alliance