Henry Ford Village, a highly rated senior living community in Dearborn, has earned platinum certification in SAGECare cultural competency. HFV is one of only two senior living communities in Michigan to have earned the SAGECare credential, and the only one to achieve the platinum certification, the highest of four levels of credentialing. SAGE, short for Services & Advocacy for GLBT Elders, offers the SAGECare program to provide LGBTQ cultural competency education and training to organizations that specifically serve the senior community.
“I am proud of the work done by management and dedicated staff that resulted in HFV being awarded the platinum certification credential from SAGECare,” said Peter Falzon, a member of HFV’s board of directors. “This important endorsement of our dedication to diversity is a huge welcome mat to LGBTQ seniors placed with pride at our front door.”
HFV Executive Director Bruce Blalock offered similar sentiment.
“To achieve our goals, we committed to further and deeper staff education on LGBTQ aging issues, and knew that it would help Henry Ford Village evolve into an ever better place for seniors to live and employees to work. As SAGE provided education and training, I was pleased by the overwhelming support and engagement from HFV employees on how the training was beneficial for them personally and professionally.”
The training, said HFV officials, helped staff appreciate the lived experience of others, particularly those who are LGBTQ, in order for HFV to better provide a culture of dignity and respect for all persons. In addition, the certification validates HFV’s reputation for celebrating diversity and is the result of HFV’s management team’s commitment to assure cultural competency and inclusivity for LGBTQ older adults.
The initiative was received with overwhelming support from the community’s residents through their Residents Council. Among those residents are Rick Hahn and Ed Ploegar. The couple, who are married, moved into HFV almost two years ago.
“It’s been remarkable, actually,” Hahn said. “The acceptance of our neighbors has been overwhelming. One thing we discovered in being here, is that when other residents have children or grandchildren or nieces and nephews who are gay or lesbian, they feel very free talking to us about it. It’s been very nice that they opened up to us and have been affirming and asked questions. That aspect has been very interesting also.”
Between The Lines’ own longtime columnist Charles Alexander has, himself, been living in Henry Ford village since last year.
“Consensus among my new-found LGBT friends here – a few with parents who are also HFV residents – is that we are fully welcomed and supported without undue comments or discrimination,” Alexander said. “We are treated as resident family. In these times of pandemic fear and troubling political challenge, Henry Ford Village is my safe haven. Truly, a rainbow-welcoming, cared-for, garden-beautiful, senior citizen citadel in the heart of Dearborn.”
HFV has an ongoing partnership with SAGE Metro Detroit to serve as a pilot to further develop trainings for Michigan-based care providers. Find out more about HFV online at henryfordvillage.com.