5 Things LGBTQ+ Seniors Will Learn at Upcoming Senior Living Seminar

Henry Ford Village seminar to help families find inclusive communities

By |2021-06-28T17:12:30-04:00June 25th, 2021|Michigan, News|

Choosing the right senior living community is challenging, especially when it comes to “fit.” Feeling comfortable at home and within the community is just as important as whether there’s a pool — though a pool is always nice, too. 

For LGBTQ+ seniors, finding a comfortable, welcoming community can be especially challenging. 

That’s why Dearborn’s Henry Ford Village (HFV), an LGBTQ-friendly retirement community, is offering a free seminar on helping seniors find inclusive living communities. HFV Residency Counselor Roger Bushnell will lead the seminar, set for Tuesday, June 29.

Bushnell said the seminar will explore how LGBTQ+ seniors can make confident decisions about retirement. Attendees will learn how to identify diverse, positive, inclusive seniors communities that welcome LGBTQ+ seniors.

Bushnell identified five key questions the seminar will answer.

1. What are some unique challenges and inequities facing the senior LGBTQ+ community? 

Aging can be a challenge for any community. LGBTQ+ seniors often face unique hurdles, Bushnell said. This population has faced “a lifetime of social and cultural prejudices, discrimination, violence, lack of familial support and fear of being accepted for who they are,” he explained.  Attendees will learn how other seniors are overcoming these issues and how to “leverage communities of support,” Bushnell added.  

2. Why is diversity an important aspect of senior living communities? 

Bushnell said that diversity contributes to healthy aging and “fosters a happier and inclusive community environment.” Diverse senior living communities, he adds, give residents the “opportunity to confront their own biases, challenge their preconceptions and, hopefully, embrace and celebrate all people.”

3. How can families choose the right senior living option?

“Senior living” is an umbrella term that covers a lot of ground. With options ranging from independent living to skilled nursing facilities and everything in between, making the best choice can feel overwhelming. Bushnell said attendees can expect to learn about each option, including expected costs.

4. What does an inclusive senior living community look like?

Bushnell urges those seeking inclusive senior living communities to consider how communities approach basic human needs beyond medical care. “It’s important to look for one that supports basic human needs,” he said, “including diversity, equity and inclusion.” The seminar will help attendees ask the right questions when considering a community, including: 

  • Do you feel welcome?
  • Are there opportunities to meet people with diverse interests and backgrounds?
  • Does the community offer LGBTQ+ clubs and activities?

5. What are some local options for inclusive senior living communities?

Bushnell said the seminar will touch on offerings available to southeast Michigan LGBTQ+ seniors, including those at Henry Ford Village. “We’re dedicated to being a warm, welcoming place that offers a culture of dignity and respect and celebrates acceptance for all,” he said. 

Seating is limited. Call Henry Ford Village to pre-register: (313) 584-5200.

About the Author:

Jason A. Michael joined Between The Lines as a contributing writer in 1999. He has received both the Spirit of Detroit Award (presented by the Detroit City Council) and the Media Award from the Community Pride Banquet & Awards Ceremony for his writing and activism. Jason is also an Essence magazine bestselling author for his authorized biography "Strength Of A Woman: The Phyllis Hyman Story," released on his own JAM Books imprint.