31 posts categorized "HIV & Aging"

June 5, 2017

Now Available: SAGE Health Storylines Self-Care App

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The SAGE Health Storylines self-care app makes it easy for older adults living with HIV and AIDS—and their caregivers—to track their health. A variety of tools, including a medication tracker, a mood tracker, and a symptom tracker, allow you to build your health story. The My Storylines feature allows you to learn more about your health, and to share more—safely and securely—with your doctor about what happened between visits.

App ImageThis app was designed in partnership with SAGE and Self Care Catalysts and is powered by the Health Storylines™ platform from Self Care Catalysts Inc.

You can customize your app with several self-care tools such as:

  • Medication Reminders
  • Symptom Tracker
  • Daily Mood Tracker and Journal
  • Vitals Tracker (Weight, Blood Pressure, etc.)
  • Ability to sync with wearable devices (e.g. Fitbit)

By using SAGE Health Storylines, you have the opportunity to anonymously contribute learning from your story to a vital data resource that helps researchers improve care in the future for people like you.

Need help getting started? Send an email to support@healthstorylines.com.

The FREE app is available for iOS and Android devices. You can also use the web version on your desktop computer by clicking here.

DOWNLOAD IT NOW

SAGE App on Apple AppStore SAGE App on Google Play

 

February 7, 2017

Spreading The Word About HIV Prevention For African-American Women

In honor of National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NBHAAD), we are sharing this article from Jose Soto, NPR News. This article originally appeared on Kaiser Health News and the NPR Shots blog and is a repost of our partner, the Diverse Elders Coalition. For more information about communities of color, aging, and HIV, check out the HIV and Aging page on the Diverse Elders Coalition's site.

African-American women are more likely to be infected with HIV than other women, and many don’t know it. So public health officials and advocates are trying to get the word out about PrEP, pre-exposure prophylaxis. It’s a daily medication that helps prevent HIV infection.

“This is all about empowering women, especially black women, by giving them sexual health options and also embarking on a path of research,” says Linda Blout, president of Black Women’s Health Imperative, a nonprofit organization in Washington, D.C. The organization is helping to launch the capital’s first citywide program to promote use of PrEP among women.

The medication, which is sold under the brand name Truvada, was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2012 to prevent HIV infection. Research conducted in Africa, where HIV transmission in heterosexual couples is common, found that it is effective in preventing HIV infection when one partner is HIV positive. If the daily pill is taken consistently, it can reduce the risk of HIV infection by up to 92 percent.

In the U.S., the first priority was to get Truvada to men who have sex with men, who accounted for 83 percent of new HIV diagnoses in 2014, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

But the drug isn’t just for men, says Dr. Eugene McCray, director of the CDC’s Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention. African-American women represent the highest percentage of HIV infections among women, McCray says. “That is alarming, and we at the CDC are working to address the issue by spreading knowledge. But in order for us to do that, we also need to encourage African-American women to get tested.”

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The anti-retroviral drug Truvada, which is a combination of tenofovir and emtricitabine.
Photo by Jeffrey Beall

According to the CDC, African-American women make up 62 percent of women diagnosed with HIV in the U.S. White women account for 18 percent, with Latinas at 14 percent.

McCray says the CDC is planning in the upcoming months to produce campaigns targeted at black women that educate them on their risk and how PrEP can be used as a preventive measure.

Women in the nation’s capital face a higher risk because about 2 percent of residents are already infected with HIV, making exposure more likely. In addition, Blout says, social issues like incarceration and poverty tend to increase the risk of HIV within the black community.

In addition, Blout also says there is a lack of empowerment among black women to ask their partners to either get tested or wear a condom. McCray agrees. “Many women do not know the status of their partners and they are weary of asking them to get tested,” he says.

“A lot of the issue has to do with misinformation or simply not being informed at all,” says Nancy Mahon, executive director of the MAC AIDS Fund, which is providing financial support for the effort. “When it comes to PrEP, many people still don’t even know it exists, especially heterosexuals. Many black women we’ve spoken to felt puzzled about why we were addressing how this drug is available to them. A component of the issue is that the drug is hard to obtain without a doctor.”

One of the challenges in getting women educated about PrEP is that primary care providers such as OB-GYNs often aren’t aware of it. That problem is compounded with low-income patients who don’t always get regular doctor visits and preventive care.

“The other problem here is that it generally takes five to 10 years for consumers to become socially acquainted with any drug,” McCray says. “That’s why we’re trying to push the information associated with PrEP to the communities in dire need of it.”

The push includes a D.C. Department of Health ad campaign that says: “#PrEPforher: Dominate your sex life.”

“Women simply don’t know the drug exists,” Blout said. “When they eventually do find out about it, they’re angry at their doctors for not telling them about it. It’s really about giving women the agency to protect their health.”

That includes information on using condoms or other methods to ensure safe sex, especially among married couples. “These are all factors that increase the exposure to HIV for black women,” Blout said.

According to Blout and Mahon, much of the program’s effort will concentrate on getting health care providers and public health clinics well-informed about the drug. Continuing education will be provided to health officials and providers in D.C. this year. “That’s the starting point,” Blout says.

The program was officially introduced on Dec. 1 by D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser as part of her 90/90/90/50 plan for combating the HIV epidemic in the capital. The plan’s name entails having 90 percent of D.C. residents being aware of their status, 90 percent of D.C. residents who are diagnosed with HIV seeking treatment, another 90 percent who are already under treatment achieving viral load suppression and a 50 percent overall decrease in new HIV cases.

The program faces its biggest obstacle right as it rolls out, Blout says. “Stigma is our hardest hurdle.”

Mahon agrees. “This is a problem when it comes to PrEP and women, because it’s highly been stigmatized as a ‘gay drug’ or an easy way to promiscuity.” Outreach to women and health care providers will, she hopes, “get the open conversation going with a group of people who don’t even know they need to have this particular conversation.”

January 17, 2017

What LGBT Seniors Stand to Lose in ACA Repeal

This post originally appeared on the Center for Consumer Engagement in Health Innovation website on January 13, 206. Read the original post here.

By Aaron Tax

This blog is part of a series to highlight the dangers of the repealing the Affordable Care Act. Multiple times a week, Community Catalyst will highlight a different constituency to draw attention to the benefits the ACA has afforded them and to outline what a loss of coverage would mean.

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) older adults face many of the same health and aging challenges other older adults face, but more pronounced. As a result, they are arguably more at risk if the incoming administration and Congress repeals the Affordable Care Act (ACA) without a replacement plan and/or makes significant and harmful changes to Medicaid and Medicare.

LGBT older adults face unique risks within the health care system due to the standard issues facing an aging population combined with their sexual orientation or gender identity, such as:

  • Aging Combined with Discrimination: Similar to the older population in general, LGBT older adults face challenges with aging: declining health, diminished income, and the loss of friends and family. LGBT older adults, however, also face the added burden of actual or feared discrimination on the basis of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity. Many choose to go back into the closet for fear that caregivers will discriminate against them. Transgender adults, however, do not even have that option. Despite federal prohibitions on discrimination based on sex stereotyping and gender identity and the prohibition of discriminatory practices toward LGBT individuals based on health status - such as being HIV positive - built into the ACA, the sex stereotyping and gender identity protections are currently under attack in the courts, and LGBT older adults remain one of the most invisible, underserved and at-risk elder populations.
  • Isolation from Society, Services and Supports: Studies show that LGBT older adults are twice as likely to live alone; half as likely to have close relatives to call for help; and more than four times less likely to have children to help them. Nearly one-in-four LGBT older adults has no one to call in case of an emergency. At the same time, studies document that LGBT older adults access essential services – including visiting nurses, food stamps, senior centers and meal programs – much less frequently than the general aging population.
  • Lack of Access to Culturally Competent Health Care: The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has found that LGBT older adults face additional health barriers because of isolation combined with a lack of access to social services and culturally competent providers. These barriers result in increased rates of depression; higher rates of alcohol and tobacco use; and lower rates of preventive screenings. 
  • Higher Rates of Poverty: LGBT older adults reflect the diversity of our nation in terms of gender, race and ethnic identity. But there is one critical statistic where they do not reflect the norm: they have much higher poverty rates and lower average household income than their straight and cis-gender counterparts. In fact, 35 percent of SAGE clients in New York City have annual pre-tax incomes below $10,000 and rely on Medicaid – a program with looming threats of block grants or per capita caps - to provide their medical care. An additional 35 percent subsist on annual pre-tax incomes of $20,000 or less and qualify for coverage under Medicaid expansion or could utilize tax credits to purchase insurance on the Marketplace. The Medicare-eligible segment of this population benefits from the ACA having lowered Medicare Part B premiums, the closing of the “donut hole” for prescription drugs, and payment and delivery reforms aimed at improving quality and the coordination of care for individuals with complex care needs.
  • HIV: As of 2015, the CDC estimates that one in two people who are HIV positive in the United States are now over 50. Yet little attention and money is targeted towards prevention for this population. One of the free preventive services covered by the ACA is HIV screening, though recommended testing in the U.S. cuts off at age 64. As a result, older adults are much more likely to be dually diagnosed with HIV and AIDS if and when they are ultimately tested.

Because of higher rates of health disparities, un-insurance, poverty and a greater reliance on programs like Medicaid and Medicare - two programs that could be facing significant retooling and subsequent funding cuts in the coming years - the protections provided by these programs and enacted in the ACA are critical for improving the quality of life for older LGBT individuals.

As we enter an uncertain time, we believe that we must do more to honor and support the LGBT elders who fought the fight and paved the way for the recent advances we have seen on LGBT rights. The least we can do is ensure that this population still has access to the foundational supports provided by the ACA, Medicaid and Medicare.

Aaron Tax, Director of Federal Government Relations, Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE)

 

December 1, 2016

Where Bigotry is Denied Entrance—Fighting HIV/AIDS Stigma in Housing

By Pat Lin

On this World AIDS Day, it’s important to commemorate how far we’ve come since the HIV/AIDS pandemic started. HIV isn’t the death sentence it used to be, but many long-term survivors of HIV continue to pay an emotional, physical and financial toll. In addition to managing the disease, HIV survivors still face stigma. As they get older and the effects of the disease compound the challenges of aging, they become more vulnerable. As the nation’s largest and oldest organization serving LGBT older adults, SAGE seeks to eradicate the stigma around HIV and to create welcoming spaces for long-term HIV survivors.

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"Peaceful Moment" by Lester Blum and Vladimir Rios from the I Still Remember exhibit on HIV/AIDS

When seeking specialized housing in a supportive and nonjudgmental environment, long-term HIV survivors, LGBT or not, face a huge hurdle. According to a 2014 poll conducted by SAGE, 1 in 8 LGBT adults and 1 in 4 transgender adults report experiencing discrimination in housing and long-term care environments. In an article addressing HIV stigma in housing options, Hilary Meyer, SAGE’s Director of Social Enterprise and Special Projects, said, "We certainly have experiences with hearing stories about caregivers not understanding how to work with HIV, appalling things such as concerns with contact. There's still very much a stigma and misinformation."

SAGE is working to create comfortable and inclusive environments for long-term HIV survivors. Last summer SAGE announced that two new LGBT age-friendly senior housing developments would be built in New York City. Along with these two developments in Brooklyn and the Bronx, SAGE is spearheading nationwide advocacy efforts against discrimination in housing. "The number one issue for our constituency is affordable housing," said Meyer. "Having a long-term disability just compounds the issue. It limits where they can live." Yet housing construction alone is not enough to solve the problem. As SAGE’s Director of Federal Government Relations Aaron Tax said, "We can’t build our way out of this. The wider housing stock has to be either affordable and/or targeted low-income, and be welcoming…If you're in New York City, perhaps you can get into an LGBT-targeted building, but there are plenty of people who won't be able to get into a building like that."

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Ingersoll Senior Residences in Brooklyn (L) and Crotona Senior Residencies in the Bronx

Who one lives with is just as important as where. Open, compassionate and culturally competent providers and staff who understand the specific needs of LGBT older adults and long-term HIV survivors are crucial to creating supportive environments. This is why SAGE started SAGECare, a training and consulting program on LGBT aging for service providers. SAGECare offers cultural competency training for all levels of employees, personalized consulting on LGBT aging issues, and full audits on LGBT-inclusive policies, procedures and best practices. Providers can earn Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum SAGECare credentials to signal their commitment to the best person-directed care for LGBT older adults.

Said one SAGE constituent, "I want to feel safe, housed in a place where bigotry is denied entrance." Long-term HIV survivors and LGBT elders deserve that safe space, and it’s up to people and organizations like SAGE to make sure that it happens.

November 14, 2016

SAGEMatters Fall 2016: Lives of Boundless Opportunities

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SAGEMatters Fall 2016: Lives of Boundless Opportunities

As we share the latest SAGEMatters with you, we are living through a period of unprecedented change. Perhaps nothing reminds us of this more sharply than this year’s high-stakes elections, which have turned long-standing political and social assumptions on their heads.

This theme of change runs powerfully through the features in this issue of SAGEMatters. Inside, you’ll find George Takei’s take on personal evolution; learn how Jeffrey Erdman has taken the LA leather scene by storm in his 50s; and follow an inspiring conversation with Kate Kendell, Mara Keisling and Carmen Vazquez about the changing landscape of gender identity. You’ll also learn how the federal government (after a lot of pushing by SAGE) is moving to transform publicly-funded aging services to make them more LGBT-friendly. Join us in celebrating the realization of a decades-long dream for our communities in New York City, as SAGE announces the construction of the first two LGBTfriendly elder housing communities in the Big Apple. And so much more.

This time of great change and evolution sets the stage for the launch of SAGE’s new strategic plan. The overriding goal of the plan is to dramatically expand the impact of SAGE’s work so that LGBT people can grow older with boundless opportunities for growth and enrichment. We believe that we can achieve this transformative vision by tapping into our legacy of “taking care of our own,” by building ties across generations, by encouraging communities to become LGBT age-friendly and by convincing partners of all kinds to get involved. This issue of SAGEMatters includes a special feature on our new plan—we hope you’ll be as excited as we are.

For me, all of this has a special personal significance as I celebrate my 10th anniversary at the helm of this amazing organization. I’m so proud of the great progress that we have made together on behalf of our LGBT elder pioneers. And I’m tremendously passionate about the next chapter of SAGE’s work.

I know that as you read through this latest SAGEMatters it will be even clearer to you why SAGE’s efforts matter more than ever. Let’s keep working together so that all LGBT elders have the support they need to live lives of boundless opportunity.

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Michael Adams
Chief Executive Officer

SAGEMatters is the biannual magazine of Services & Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE). View and download the expanded Fall 2016 issue here.

October 21, 2016

Walking on the Backs of Those Who Died

By Pat Lin

Years after the HIV/AIDS epidemic ravaged millions of lives, survivors carry on the stories of their loved ones and search for hope that a cure will be found. Photographer Lester Blum and Creative Director Vladimir Rios talk with SAGE about their works, “Warrior of Hope” and “I Still Remember,” both currently on exhibit at SAGE Center Midtown.

Remembrance 1

SAGE: Can you talk about the process behind creating your exhibits? What are similar themes throughout, and how are they in conversation with each other?

Blum: The similar theme is that they are both works of social implication. “Warrior” and “I Still Remember” are both about HIV and AIDs from slightly different perspectives. They both honor people who have passed. They are really designed as educational tools to increase awareness, to tell the younger generation what actually transpired.

Rios: Not only social implications but something everyone can relate to, not just the LGBT community. We happen to be gay, but every single aspect of our work has been tailored to society in general, not just gay society. Throughout all the work you see straight and gay people, you see people of color, minorities—a wide variety of people. We try to create something universal that everyone can relate to, either immediately or maybe with a little push. HIV is a hard subject for people to deal with even today. 

Blum: The themes are really universal. For example, “Warrior of Hope”—everybody needs hope, no matter what issues they have. The Warrior offers this hope. “I Still Remember”—if you really break down the story behind the exhibit, it’s about love, devastation and remembrance. The two main characters just happen to be male. The loss could be anything—cancer, age, or a car accident. It’s a universal story.

Rios and Lester

SAGE: In both of your works you two portray nude, older bodies. What does it mean to represent a body type not often seen in the mainstream?

Rios: We presented the nakedness in different shapes and sizes because naked is naked. Everyone is beautiful in different ways. We don’t all have “Chelsea boy” bodies. There’s a lot more to our society than being a “Chelsea boy.” We are all different—ages, color, body shapes; it doesn’t matter.

Blum: In “Warrior,” there was one man who was 82, and then a couple in their 70s. That whole 28-year-old “Chelsea boy” body perfection takes away the seriousness of the projects. It becomes a pretty calendar but it’s not reality. You do a scene like those presented in “Warrior of Hope” and “I Still Remember” with only “Chelsea boys,” and there would be no message presented.

Rios When it came to “I Still Remember,” the explicit nudity in some of the photographs was necessary to convey a message. We went to a sex club and filmed a sex scene. It’s just like the needles in the drug segment. Everything was real. We photographed it on the streets. When I did the doctor’s office scene, the doctor actually drew blood. I did everything as real as possible. It was done in this manner because I wanted to keep my integrity as an artist.

Conversation Moment

SAGE: This is an intergenerational collaboration. Can you speak to the ways your differences contributed to your work?

Rios: It’s weird to explain. Lester just turned 70. I just turned 46. It’s funny because every time we do a project we are in tune with the vision. Because we are best friends, we do a lot of things together. We have a similar thought process while often approaching projects from different perspectives.

Blum: I just think we bring different elements from our backgrounds together. It enriches the experience and the projects. Besides age, we come from two completely different backgrounds and heritages. Rios was born and raised in Puerto Rico. He worked for many years as a social worker, which gave him insight into the thinking of many individuals from all walks of life. Therefore he brings a different cultural and social heritage to the table. I was born in New York, raised in Texas, returned to New York over 40 years ago. My background was in the fashion industry, which gave me an artistic understanding and the ability to comprehend the corporate environment. This diversity of culture, upbringing, and work experiences mesh together, allowing us to create the strongest projects we can. If two people are actually listening to each other, which we consciously try to do, it widens the perspective. That is often a problem, particularly in my generation. They don’t want to listen. They are too set in their ways and thinking.

Scanning The World

SAGE: What do you think a commemorative piece that goes back into history tells us about moving forward?

Blum: I’m not so sure whether it tells us much about moving forward as much as it tells us what transpired. “I Still Remember” is a capsule of life during the pandemic of AIDS. It shows how an entire generation was lost. It teaches those 25 and younger that they’re basically walking on the backs of those who died. What happened during that ten-year span of time enabled those who followed to be the people they are today, even with all of today’s struggles. The younger generation can’t be complacent. They can’t just sit back. They can’t just pop PrEP and say that everything is fine. It’s still not. The disease is still here. People are still sick.

Rios: The exhibits are something for people to move forward with. We want people who are moving forward to stop for a moment and rethink their choices. We want people to witness the past so that they will think about their choices for the future.

Blum: You can’t just discount the past, like it didn’t exist. As long as someone can tell the story, the people aren’t really gone. They’re remembered.

Both exhibitions will move on to the LGBTQ Center of Durham, North Carolina, and to The Loft in White Plains, New York, for World AIDS Day 2016. See more of Lester Blum’s photography at http://www.lesterblumphotography.com.

September 23, 2016

SAGE and ASA Co-Host #LGBTGenerations Panel

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When the American Society on Aging (ASA) decided to focus the Summer 2016 issue of Generations on LGBT aging, it marked a milestone in the march toward visibility and respect for LGBT elders.

On September 21, SAGE CEO Michael Adams joined other authors in the issue for a special panel discussion co-hosted by SAGE and ASA in New York. Adams' article "An Intersectional Approach to Services and Care for LGBT Elders" considers the unique strengths and challenges of LGBT elders.

Connect with Michael Adams on Twitter and see the event recap on Storify to learn more about why he believes practitioners and policymakers must bring an intersectional analysis to their work. Do you have thoughts on the subject? Join the conversation on social media with #LGBTGenerations!

September 18, 2016

National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day 2016

In March, SAGE commemorated National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, and for HIV Long-Term Survivors Awareness Day in June, we paid tribute to our LGBT elders living with HIV. Today, we commemorate National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day to recognize the profound effect that HIV/AIDS has on all ages, including LGBT elders.

Currently, more than half of the 1.2 million people living with HIV in the U.S. are over the age of 50. By the year 2020, more than 70% of Americans living with HIV will be age 50 or older, and 18% of new HIV diagnoses occur among people over 50. While HIV has become more like managing a chronic disease, many long-term survivors are facing new crises that affect their physical, mental and financial well-being. It’s important that we recognize and appreciate the trials and triumphs of our brothers and sisters living with HIV.

The Diverse Elders Coalition has a number of resources available about HIV and aging, including the infographic, "Facts and Factors: Diverse Elders and HIV." This year’s theme for HIV Long-Term Survivors Day was "Moving Forward Together." Let’s take this unifying message to heart as we celebrate the lives of those we have lost, and those who live and continue to inspire us today. 

June 9, 2016

Celebrating LGBT Heroes of Pride

It’s the first full week of Pride Month 2016 and the LGBT community is off to an exciting start. On May 31st, President Obama proclaimed June as LGBT Pride Month, calling upon the country to "eliminate prejudice everywhere it exists, and to celebrate the great diversity of the American people." SAGE is grateful for this special recognition of a longtime tradition that's brought the LGBT community together.

During Pride Month with celebrations nationwide, the LGBT community and its allies remember the historic Stonewall Riots that happened in New York City in 1969. This year is particularly special, as we mark the first anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court's landmark Obergefell marriage decision.

Join SAGE as we recognize the Heroes of Pride — LGBT trailblazers who have fought long and hard to make a better life for all of us — and reaffirm our love for friends, family and each other. If you’re in the New York area, please join us for these upcoming Pride events, and visit our SAGENet Affiliate websites to find out how you can celebrate in a city near you.

Brooklyn Pride: Saturday, June 11
Harlem Pride: Saturday, June 25
Manhattan Pride: Sunday, June 26
Bronx Pride: Saturday, July 16

If you missed our booth at Queens Pride on June 5, here's a photo of SAGE staff spreading the love:

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Visit our Pride 2016! photo album on Facebook

Other important tributes in June:

On Saturday, June 4, to kick off the summer season, SAGE held its 24th Annual Celebration in the Pines, honoring Eric Sawyer, Linda Gottlieb, Marc Cote & Jay Henry. See photos on Facebook.

On Sunday, June 5, for HIV Long-Term Survivors Awareness Day, we paid tribute on social to LGBT elders living with HIV. Today more than half of the 1.2 million people living with HIV in the U.S. are over the age of 50. While HIV has become more like managing a chronic disease, many long-term survivors are facing new crises that affect their physical, mental and financial well-being. Follow the conversation and show your support on social media with #‎LongTermSurvivors.

On Friday, June 10, the Chicago-based National Board Members of SAGE will host its annual SAGE & Friends reception, where SAGE will honor U.S. Congressman Mike Quigley, co-chair of the Congressional LGBT Caucus, for his advocacy on behalf of LGBT rights and his support of issues impacting older individuals. SAGE will also recognize Phyllis Johnson and Torlene "Toi" Williams for their pioneering Affinity Community Services' Trailblazers, and for their grassroots advocacy on behalf of LGBT older adults in Chicago.

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'Legends' gather for the exhibition reception at Leslie-Lohman.

Also this month, SAGE is celebrating our LGBT elders of color with a series of powerful yet understated photographs of unsung Black LGBTQ 'legends,' now on display through August 12 at the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art in New York. Read more and see images from the project here.

In the words of President Obama:

This journey, led by forward-thinking individuals who have set their sights on reaching for a brighter tomorrow, has never been easy or smooth.  The fight for dignity and equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people is reflected in the tireless dedication of advocates and allies who strive to forge a more inclusive society.  They have spurred sweeping progress by changing hearts and minds and by demanding equal treatment -- under our laws, from our courts, and in our politics.  This month, we recognize all they have done to bring us to this point, and we recommit to bending the arc of our Nation toward justice.

Stay tuned this month for Pride 2016 updates and follow the SAGE blog as we celebrate LGBT Heroes Of Pride in June and beyond. Follow and share on social with hash tag #HeroesOfPride.

 

April 28, 2016

Budgeting for Housing, Healthcare and Marriage Shouldn’t Be Scary

By Vera Lukacs

LGBT older adults have unique financial concerns. Not only are they faced with economic uncertainty, but they face discrimination in housing and healthcare, and the prospect of marriage is still new for many. How can LGBT older adults budget better for basic necessities? This question is important, considering that over 25 million older adults (60+) are living in poverty. Contrary to popular belief, planning and budgeting can be a positive experience! It can be tough to think about, but it’s worth doing when you have the chance to prepare and get a step ahead. Not sure where to start? Check out this LGBT Financial Planning Guide.

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Budgeting for healthcare in later years is incredibly important. LGBT older adults have a vast amount of needs that their heterosexual counterparts don’t even think about. But first, a significant factor in this process is LGBT elders need to feel comfortable sharing who they are with their healthcare providers. For transgender people seeking hormone treatments and surgeries or those with HIV, finding a provider can be a scary process. GLMA has a provider directory to help people find LGBT-competent healthcare providers.

LGBT older adults often struggle to find affordable and safe housing. Many don’t have the economic security to invest in long term care facilities, and many are denied housing simply for being who they are. Nearly half of older same-sex couples experienced at least one form of differential treatment when inquiring about housing in a long-term care facility. SAGE launched the National LGBT Elder Housing Initiative to address these issues.

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What does marriage equality mean for LGBT couples? See our new toolkit, Talk Before You Walk: Considerations for LGBT Older Couples Before Getting Married. Getting married is about more than bringing two individuals together. Marriage provides a number of benefits, rights, and protections. With these rights comes the sharing of financial liabilities. To ensure a secured household, talk with your partner before you walk!

Appointing a power of attorney can come in handy in an emergency. In the event that an LGBT older adult is incapacitated or otherwise unable to make sound decisions, a power of attorney can allow a trusted loved one to step in and decide on their behalf. For more information on planning your last wishes, see our blog Financial Literacy: Tips and Tricks for LGBT Elders!

Vera Lukacs is a digital media assistant at SAGE. April is Financial Literacy Month. What do you need to know as an LGBT older adult? Follow the SAGE blog this month for more!