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6 posts from January 2014

January 30, 2014

SAGE at Creating Change

614px-Texas_flag_map.svgSAGE has landed in Houston! This year's Creating Change in the Lone Star State is proving a welcome change in weather for SAGE staffers from New York, Chicago and D.C. and ready to present on a variety of topics. For a full listing, including descriptions, download our schedule.

One of our major events will be presenting our Advocacy Award for Excellence in Leadership on Aging Issues to Stu Maddux, the award winning producer and director of independent documentaries about LGBTQ and LGBTQ history, including the remarkable and massively influential Gen Silent—which chronicles the lives of six LGBT elders as they navigate aging, caregiving, terminal illness, and loss.

Another highlight is the SAGE National Resource Center on LGBT Aging offering it's premier training on LGBT aging and cultural competency to Creating Change attendees. SAGE will also be conducting workshops on paid leave, the Affordable Care Act, advocacy work and more.

Of course, SAGE (and most of Creating Change goers) loves to participate in the "LGBT Elders 50+ and Allies Dance." Co-sponsored by The Task Force, this dance is a great chance for young and older to mingle, dance and party the night away! DJ Houston Sun will be spinning Saturday night from 9PM to midnight and we can't wait to see you there! Follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the conference and if you're there, use #lgbtaging as a hashtag to connect with us.

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January 29, 2014

NYC LGBT seniors compete in virtual bowling tournaments with Microsoft Xbox

This blog post by Daniel Hubbell, was originally featured on the Microsoft Accessibility Blog. Read the original post here.

Barbara Police, 64, loved bowling since she was a kid. After she lost her sight 14 years ago, she was able to continue playing at a specially constructed bowling alley for people with visual impairments.  But several years ago, a shoulder injury made it too painful for her to lift and throw a bowling ball. Now, thanks to the new Exergamers NYC program for seniors, Barbara is back in the game. Along with her partner of 38 years, Pat Sloane, she bowls every week at The SAGE Center in Chelsea.

Exergaming combines technology with exercise, allowing seniors to improve their physical, mental and social well-being by participating in friendly competition and interactive gaming.  The project is made possible by a public-private partnership between Microsoft, NYC Department for the Aging (DFTA), and NYC Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (DoITT). Exergaming has taken root in many of DFTA’s Innovative Senior Centers, which operates throughout all the boroughs of New York City. 

A few months ago, the SAGE center was given Microsoft Kinect for Xbox, which relies on motion sensors—no heavy lifting involved. "Virtual bowling is terrific for me," Barbara explains, "because there's no weight! I just have to swing and hope for the best." As a person who is blind, she says virtual bowling opens up a new world to her. She's at less of a disadvantage with video games than physical games, since she's able to recreate the two-dimensional backdrop using her imagination—and the help of Pat, 70, who describes to her what's on the screen. It allows me think in my mind what it must look like," Barbara explains. "My mind is virtual!" She lights up when she talks about the game, and says she'd love to learn to play other kinds of games using the Xbox—like baseball.

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January 23, 2014

LGBT Advocates Disappointed Rules for Community Care Fail to Protect LGBT Older Adults

The undersigned LGBT organizations are deeply disappointed that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has announced it will not add explicit nondiscrimination protections for LGBT and other consumers to Medicaid’s Home- and Community-Based Services (HCBS) program. Our organizations along with the National Senior Citizens Law Center, have urged HHS over the past three years to adopt these protections to ensure low-income older adults and people with disabilities can receive needed services and supports without fear of refusal, harassment, or other discrimination because of who they are. The protections were not included in a final rule issued on Thursday to strengthen standards for the long-running program.

HHS seemingly based its decision to reject these LGBT protections, which have been included in other HHS programs, on the notion that general nondiscrimination protections already exist. Despite being made aware of the critical need for explicit LGBT consumer protections, as well as protections on the basis of religion, marital status, and source of payment, HHS simply stated in a new HCBS regulation that these protections were "not necessary."

HHS's surprising statement that protections for LGBT older adults are "not necessary" is contradicted by reports from the Institute of Medicine and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, which have found that discrimination against LGBT people in health settings is widespread. A survey of providers, LGBT consumers, and family members conducted with the National Senior Citizens Law Center found that most believed anti-LGBT discrimination was a problem in long-term care settings and many had witnessed discrimination. Failure to include explicit protections undermines efforts prevent anti-LGBT discrimination in home- and community-based care.

We call on HHS to take immediate action to ensure the health and safety of LGBT older adults and people with disabilities by addressing discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in amended rule or guidance. We also strongly urge HHS to take action to address anti-LGBT discrimination in other health care settings, particularly hospitals and nursing homes. While we urge LGBT consumers who face discrimination in any health setting, including home- and community-based services, to file complaints with HHS on the ground of sex discrimination, explicit LGBT protections are needed to prevent mistreatment and denials of care.

  • Human Rights Campaign
  • FORGE
  • Lambda Legal
  • National Center for Transgender Equality
  • National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
  • Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE)
January 22, 2014

Stu Maddux to Receive the SAGE Advocacy Award at Creating Change 2014

StuSAGE is pleased to announce that the 2014 recipient of our annual SAGE Advocacy Award for Excellence in Leadership on Aging Issues is Stu Maddux, the award winning producer and director of independent documentaries about LGBTQ and LGBTQ history, including the remarkable and massively influential Gen Silent—which chronicles the lives of six LGBT elders as they navigate aging, caregiving, terminal illness, and loss.

In the last few decades, documentaries have had a profound impact on shifting public opinion, on raising awareness about important-though-neglected social issues, and on propelling forward a justice movement for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights. But in the context of LGBT aging, no film has had a more profound impact on bringing to light the struggles of LGBT older people in the long-term care system than the documentary, Gen Silent. The award-winning documentary follows the lives of six LGBT elders in Boston—a beautiful though heart-wrenching film journey—yet its broader gift has been to animate a grassroots movement in support of LGBT elders, inspiring activists of all ages, all along the way.

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Continue reading "Stu Maddux to Receive the SAGE Advocacy Award at Creating Change 2014" »

January 15, 2014

New Year, New Look, New Resources!

HilaryToday's blog post is written by SAGE's Director of National Programs, Hilary Meyer.

SAGE’s National Resource Center on LGBT Aging is the country's first and only technical assistance resource center aimed at improving the quality of services and supports offered to lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender older adults. Established in 2010 through a federal grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the National Resource Center on LGBT Aging provides trainingtechnical assistance and educational resources to aging providers, LGBT organizations and LGBT older adults. The center is led by SAGE, in collaboration with 18 leading organizations from around the country.

Today, SAGE’s National Resource Center on LGBT Aging proudly announces our newly redesigned website! Take some time to look around at these brand new features and programs!

ScreenshotHere are some examples:

  • Volunteer Education Ambassador program - a chance for YOU to become directly involved! The pogram provides volunteers with a set of resources to educate your own communities about LGBT aging issues. Learn more about our new program! 
  • Many brand new training offers – we have developed a suite of in-person and online trainings appropriate for all levels of staff and volunteers, to assist you in learning the best ways to create an inclusive, safe, and welcoming environment for your LGBT older adult population. Check out all of our training options today!
  • A Trained Agencies index – this provides you with a searchable database of agencies who have received National Resource Center certified training. Take a look here!
  • A fully revamped website – we listened to your suggestions on ways to make the website more user-friendly and ways to find information easier. We have also added many new sections including:

Alzheimer's/dementia
-end of life decisions
-racial equity and
-more!

Finally, come visit us on Facebook and Twitter and share your thoughts and comments!

January 8, 2014

A Healthier YOU: Chair Yoga

According to a 2011 national study on LGBT older adults, high percentages of LGBT older people struggle with health conditions such as obesity, high blood pressure, cholesterol, arthritis, cataracts, asthma, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and more. That's why SAGE is dedicated to providing programs and services designed to help and educate our LGBT elders on a variety of fitness, health and wellness issues. Starting this month, we are highlighting a few of our programs held at The SAGE Center. This post introduces "Chair Yoga" from The SAGE Center's instructor, Ria Cooper.

ChairYoga
Photo Credit: Katie Orlinsky for Al Jazeera America

What is Chair Yoga?

“Chair yoga” refers to the form of gentle yoga practiced while sitting in a chair (or while standing and using the chair for support or balance). Traditional yoga poses are modified to be accessible for students in chairs. In a regular 45-minute chair yoga class at SAGE, we focus on the breath and on the body by doing simple poses that allow us to stretch, breathe, reach, twist, lengthen, strengthen, balance, and relax. The relaxation and meditation practices at the end of class can help us to release stress and can give us an opportunity to check in with ourselves and relax.

What Are the Benefits of Practicing Chair Yoga?

Benefits of chair yoga can include but are not limited to: lower stress levels, lower blood pressure, improved balance, increased flexibility, increased bone density, improved cognitive function, chronic back pain relief, improved lung capacity, anxiety relief, lower risk of heart disease, etc...

Who Can Do Chair Yoga?

Everyone and anyone! Chair yoga can be especially useful for and accessible to older adults who may be dealing with physical limitations from injuries or aging-related stresses to the body. The measured pacing of the class allows for easeful transitions from one pose to the next, and there is always time for questions and individual modifications if a particular pose doesn’t feel right. Chair yoga can also be a good introduction to yoga if you’re brand new and are interested but have never tried it.

What Should I Wear?

You should wear loose-fitting clothing that you feel comfortable moving in and that doesn’t restrict your movement. Some people like to take off their socks and shoes; some don’t. It’s entirely up to you.

When Can I Come Practice Chair Yoga at SAGE?

Tuesdays, 6:15-7pm, at the SAGE Center (305 Seventh Avenue, 15th floor, NY NY) and/or Thursdays, 1-1:45pm, at the The SAGE Center Brooklyn at the YWCA (30 Third Avenue, Brooklyn NY).

Who Are You?

I’m a freelance yoga teacher for the nonprofit Compass Yoga, and I teach chair yoga classes for SAGE twice a week.  I travel all over Brooklyn and Manhattan to teach at various senior centers, preschools and yoga studios, and the chair yoga classes at SAGE are my favorite. If you’re interested, you can learn more about me on my website.