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May 17, 2013

National Nursing Home Week: Caring for LGBT Elders

This is a guest post by Hilary Meyer, Director of the National Resource Center on LGBT Aging.

Did you know? This week (May 12-May 18) is National Nursing Home Week! The theme for this year is team care. At SAGE, we believe it takes a team to deliver culturally competent services to LGBT elders, including those in nursing homes.

For this reason, SAGE’s National Resource Center on LGBT Aging trains thousands of providers across the country on cultural awareness of the particular difficulties that LGBT people face. These certified trainers are then able to provide trainings in their community to policy makers, services providers (including to nursing home staff) and other leaders.

LGBT older adults came of age in a time when there was tremendous discrimination and hostility toward LGBT people.  As a result, many LGBT older adults have concerns about whether they will be treated with dignity and respect in congregate residential settings, such as nursing homes.

A 2011 survey, Stories from the Field, published by the National Senior Citizens Law Center in collaboration with Lambda Legal, National Center for Lesbian Rights, National Center for Transgender Equality, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and SAGE, reported some key findings of LGBT seniors’ fears of mistreatment in nursing homes.

Hostility and harassment by staff and other residents topped the lists of concerns and it is partly for these reasons that SAGE’s National Resource Center on LGBT Aging offers a comprehensive training program for aging services providers, including nursing home staff.

Like all older adults, LGBT people need residential settings that are safe, comfortable and allow a person to age with dignity and respect. If you are interested in a training for your agency, please go to the National Resource Center’s training page to submit a request.

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