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March 14, 2013

New Data Collection Guide Now Available

InclusiveQuestionsforOlder-AdultsThis a guest post by Hilary Meyer, Director of the National Resource Center on LGBT Aging.

Aging services and healthcare providers rely on client data to inform program and service delivery as well as to guide optimal individual service and treatment. However, from the federal to local levels, the identities of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) older adults are rarely included in population-level research studies, service intake forms or client notes. This lack of data collection across the spectrum of aging policy and programs means that providers often lack the information they need to better understand and serve LGBT elders—and if they want this information, they must collect it themselves.

But while many aging services and healthcare providers express interest in asking questions about sexual orientation and gender identity, they often say they are not sure how to ask these questions on forms and in person. To help providers collect the information they need to better serve LGBT older adults, SAGE’s National Resource Center on LGBT Aging has released a new publication: Inclusive Questions for Older Adults: A Practical Guide to Collecting Data on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity.

This guide was created to help service providers ask questions about sexual orientation and gender identity in safe and respectful ways. Relying on research and real-world knowledge and experience, the guide outlines:

  • Why collecting data on LGBT older adults is important for service delivery;
  • How to incorporate sexual orientation and gender identity questions into client forms; and
  • Helpful suggestions for discussing sexual orientation and gender identity with older clients.

This guide is meant to serve as a reference point for administrators, managers and direct service staff to utilize in both daily practice and organizational planning to better engage and serve their LGBT older adult clients. It is currently available free of charge—download the guide online at lgbtagingcenter.org, or request a free print copy today.

“It’s very important that providers know I’m a lesbian. It’s important that questions about sexual orientation, and sexual behavior when relevant to medical providers, are asked so they know what additional questions to ask. It is imperative that it become a conversation. They should be asking heterosexual older adults these questions too.” - Sandy W., age 79

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