October 7, 2016

PBS Takes a Look at the Most Intimate of Transformations

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On Monday, October 10, PBS will premiere From This Day Forward, a moving story by filmmaker Sharon Shattuck that documents her father’s transition from male to female. In the film, Shattuck reflects on her family history and its ability to change, adapt and survive.

Viewers can join in on social media with #FromThisDayForwardPBS following the program for a discussion with the filmmaker and producer. SAGE and Family Equality Council will join the conversation with additional context and resources.

Transgender people face discrimination and uncertainty on a daily basis in housing, healthcare and at work. According to SAGE’s Out and Visible report, 65% of transgender older people surveyed fear they will be denied medical treatment as they age. When searching for housing, 1 in 4 transgender older people reports discrimination on the basis of their gender identity, and 1 in 3 transgender older people fear they will not have the same employment opportunities if they identify openly at work.

This fall, From This Day Forward will be available to communities, organizations and campuses across the nation. For a list of upcoming screenings or to host a screening of your own, visit fromthisdayforwardfilm.com. Check your local listings at pbs.org, and thanks to POV for sharing this important film!

Do you think #TransIsBeautiful? See what happens when trans people of all ages come together.

September 27, 2016

NICOA’s 40th Anniversary and the Resilience of AI/AN Elders

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In September, the National Indian Council on Aging, Inc. (NICOA) held its biennial conference in celebration of its 40th anniversary. At the conference, SAGE’s Michael Adams touched on various aspects of aging, including policies that impact the lives of LGBT AI/AN elders. DEC's Jenna McDavid reports. Image: Cynthia LaCounte (ACL) and Michael Adams.

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 20, 2016

Did you know? The Feds Just Outlawed LGBT Credit Discrimination

 

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This past June, SAGE asked the Consumer Finance Protection Board (CFPB) whether it “views credit discrimination on the bases of gender identity and sexual orientation … as forms of sex discrimination prohibited under the ECOA.” In August, we heard back and the answer (in many words) was "yes."

According to the CFPB, the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA) outlaws “credit discrimination on the bases of gender identity and sexual orientation."   This guidance effectively bars lenders across the country from discriminating against LGBT individuals when they need credit -- whether to buy a house, apply for a credit card, obtain a car loan and any other circumstance relating to credit.  In its letter to SAGE, the CFPB urges people to report “any situations in which creditors treat applicants less favorably” because of their gender identity and/or sexual orientation. You can easily file a complaint on the CFPB's website.

This monumental letter is extremely important to LGBT older people. As SAGE CEO Michael Adams stated in a recent Slate article: “LGBT older people face higher poverty rates than their non-LGBT peers, while facing disproportionate rates of social isolation. This means that they don’t always have a support network in place when facing challenges related to finances. The CFPB’s clarification with respect to the Equal Credit Opportunity Act moves the ball forward in ensuring that LGBT older people have access to credit on an equal playing field.”

We couldn't agree more. In case you're interested, you can read the CFPB's letter to SAGE here.

SAGE Launches LGBT Age-Friendly Housing Website

Home isn't just where we live — home is our safe place. That's why SAGE has created a first-of-its-kind housing website that empowers LGBT elders to find a welcoming place to call home. We know that housing discrimination is on the rise, and dependable resources are needed more than ever. Now, you can access housing policies and protections, and find out where LGBT age-friendly communities are being built via SAGE's new interactive map and resources.

Be sure to sign up for updates as we share new stories and resources over the coming months, and follow on social media with #SAGEHousing.

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. 

August 22, 2016

Organizations Join SAGE and Sign-On for Better Services for LGBT Elders Nationwide

August 22, 2016

Via Email Greg Link
Administration for Community Living
U.S. Administration of Aging
Department of Health and Human Services Washington, DC 20201

RE: Request for New Information Collection for a Program Instruction on Guidance for the Development and Submission of State Plans on Aging, State Plan Amendments and Intrastate Funding Formula

Dear Mr. Link:

The undersigned organizations appreciate the efforts the Obama Administration and the Administration for Community Living (ACL) have made, and the leadership they have shown, in addressing the challenges facing lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) older adults.
As a population that is too often invisible and whose needs go unmet, LGBT older adults need the support of our federal government. This draft Program Instruction continues to demonstrate the Administration’s support. From the Midwest to the deep south, from big cities to small towns, it has the potential to make a substantial impact on the lives of LGBT older adults in communities across the country.

In particular, we appreciate the efforts in which ACL has engaged to ensure that the voices of LGBT older adults, as well as those who work with and care for them, are being heard. To that end, we are submitting this letter in response to the Notice published in the Federal Register on June 21, 2016, which seeks comment regarding the inclusion of a provision in ACL’s Program Instruction that would provide guidance regarding the obligation of State Units on Aging to target resources to older adult populations that have the “greatest economic and social need.”

We commend ACL for this very constructive proposal, which expressly recognizes that sexual orientation and gender identity “can limit the degree to which older adults experience full inclusion in society and are able to access available services and supports.” However, while the proposed guidance requires the States to describe approaches for assessing the need of isolated populations, we are concerned that it does not unambiguously require the States to assess the need of LGBT older adults.

LGBT older adults are at heightened risk of greatest social need. The Older Americans Act (“OAA”) defines “greatest social need” as the need caused by “physical and mental disabilities” and by “cultural, social or geographic isolation, including isolation caused by racial or ethnic status.” There is substantial evidence that the LGBT older adult population has poorer physical and mental health outcomes than their heterosexual and cis gender contemporaries.  At the same time, LGBT elders are more likely to be isolated than their peers: they are twice as likely to live alone, half as likely to have close relatives to call for help, and four times less likely to have children to assist them.

LGBT older adults also are at heightened risk of greatest economic need. The OAA defines “greatest economic need” as “the need resulting from an income level at or below the poverty line.” LGBT older adults are more likely to live in poverty than other older adults.
Indeed, 15.9 percent of single gay men over 65 lived in poverty, compared to just 9.7 percent of single heterosexual men their age, while six percent of lesbian couples age 65 and older have incomes below the poverty line, compared to 3.5 percent for heterosexual married couples in the same age group.

Although LGBT older adults are at heightened risk of greatest economic and social need, many are not receiving the services they need to live independently. Indeed, a 2001 Administration on Aging study found that LGBT older adults are 20 percent less likely than other older adults to access government services such as housing assistance, meal programs, food stamps, and senior centers. Yet, despite this evidence, most State Units on Aging are not making any systematic effort to assess and address the needs of LGBT older adults.

We strongly believe that only a Federal mandate requiring State Units on Aging to assess the needs of LGBT older adults will ensure the maximum inclusion of LGBT older adults in programs funded under the OAA. We therefore urge ACL to modify the proposed guidance to expressly require States to describe the actions taken to assess the needs of LGBT older individuals. While each State would retain the right to determine, based on the data collected, whether LGBT older adults have greatest economic and social need, we expect that after engaging in a comprehensive, good-faith, needs assessment, most States will conclude that they do. We further believe that, by targeting this population, States will ultimately save resources by allowing more LGBT older adults to live independently. We stand ready to assist in this effort.

Respectfully submitted,

A Better Balance
Action Wellness, (formerly ActionAIDS), Philadelphia, PA
AFFIRM: Psychologists Affirming Their LGBT Family, Stony Brook, NY
AIDS Alabama
AIDS Foundation of Chicago
AIDS Service Association of Pinellas, Pinellas County, Florida
ALISS Aging Lesbians in South Seattle, Seattle, WA
Alzheimer's Association
AMAZULU Collections
American Civil Liberties Union
Any Lab Test Now Wilmington NC
Apicha Community Health Center, New York, NY
At Home Fitness LLC, Pinellas County, FL
Aurora Mental Health Center, Aurora, CO
Austin Prime Timers, Austin, TX
Barton's Angels, Inc., Northhampton, MA
Better Living for Seniors, Pinellas County, Florida
BodyPride
Boulder County Area Agency on Aging
Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center, Allentown, PA
CareLink, Providence, RI
Center in the Park, Philadelphia, PA
Center on Halsted, Chicago, IL
Chicago House and Social Service Agency, Chicago, IL
CJE SeniorLife Chicago, IL
Cleveland LGBT Community Center
Clinton County Office for the Aging, Clinton County, NY
Council on Aging of Volusia County, Volusia County, Florida
County of Santa Clara, Office of LGBTQ Affairs, San Jose, CA
CrescentCare, New Orleans, LA
Equality Federation
Equality Florida Institute
Equality Illinois
Equality Pennsylvania
Ethos, Jamaica Plain, MA
Family Values @ Work
Finger Lakes Health Systems Agency, Rochester, NY
FORGE, Inc., Milwaukee, WI
Friendly House, Inc, Portland, OR
Gay Alliance, Rochester, NY
GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD)
GLMA: Health Professionals Advancing LGBT Equality
Hispanic Health Network
Hiv 55 and over
Hudson Pride Foundation, Hudson, NY
Hudson Valley LGBTQ Community Center, Kingston, NY
Latino Commission on AIDS
Let's Kick ASS
LGBT Elder Initiative, Philadelphia, PA
LGBT Elder Initiative of Pinellas/Pasco Co, Florida
LGBT Elders Now, Miami Beach, FL
LifePath, Turners Falls, MA
Log Cabin Republicans
Martin Law Office LLC, Boulder CO
Mary's House for older Adults, Washington, DC
Mass Home Care Association
Massachusetts Councils on Aging
MassEquality
Metro Wellness & Community Centers, St. Petersburg / Tampa, FL
Metropolitan Community Churches
Milwaukee County Department on Aging
Milwaukee LGBT Community Center
Mushpa + Mensa
National Alliance for Caregiving
National Asso. for Hispanic Elderly
National Association of Nutrition and Aging Services Programs (NANASP)
National Association of Social Workers (NASW)
National Center for Lesbian Rights
National Coalition for LGBT Health
National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare
National Council of Jewish Women
National LGBTQ Task Force
National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund
NCRC
NMAC
Open Door Health Center of IL
OutFront Minnesota
PFLAG National
RAD Remedy
Rainbow Health Initiative, Minneapolis, MN
Resource Center, Dallas, TX
Right at Home Hinsdale/Oak Park/ Chicago
Right at Home St. Petersburg
Rural AIDS Action Network (RAAN), St. Cloud, MN
Rush University Mecial Center - Department of Health & Aging, Chicago, IL
SAGE Maine
SAGE of PROMO Fund, Saint Louis, MO
SAGE Wilmington of the Cape Fear Coast affiliated w/ The Frank Harr Foundation
San Francisco AIDS Foundation
SAVE, Miami, FL
Seniors Helping Seniors West L.A.
Sexuality Information and Education Council of the U.S. (SIECUS)
ShareTheCaregiving, Inc. aka Share The Care™
Southern Jewish Resorce Network for Gender and Sexual Diversity (SOJOURN), Atlanta, GA
SU Aging Studies Institute, Syracuse, NY
The Bland Law Firm, LLC, Clearwater, FL
The Center Project, Columbia, MO
The Global Justice Institute
The Human Rights Campaign
The Jewish Federation of North America
The LGBT Center Orange County, Santa Ana, CA
The LOFT: LGBT Center, White Plains, NY
The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care
The Pride Center at Equality Park, Wilton Manners, FL
The Pride Center of New Jersey
The Virginia Equality Bar Association
Tompkins County Office for the Aging, Ithaca, NY
Touching Hearts at Home, Florida
Training to Serve, St. Paul, MN
TransOhio
United Church Homes, Marion, OH
Utah Sage
Voycetress Media. LLC, Harrisburg, PA
Westminster Presbyterian Church, Washington, DC
WhatAIDSSurvivorsNeed.com
William Way LGBT Community Center, Philadelphia, PA
WLH, LLC dba Front Range Hospice & Palliative Care, Frederick, CO

 

July 13, 2016

SAGE and Partners Launching LGBT Elder Housing in NYC

This post originally appeared on The Huffington Post Blog on July 11, 2016. Read the original post here.

By Michael Adams

5783cfdd1a00002400dd0aa2Crotona (left) and Ingersoll (right) Senior Residences

Recently, SAGE closed out New York City’s Pride month with the historic announcement that, after many years of effort, we have sealed deals for the Big Apple’s first two LGBT-friendly senior housing developments.  The news, which culminates decades of effort by LGBT elder advocates, was rolled out at a June 30 press conference where SAGE was joined by our partner developers, elected officials and a passionate crowd of elders from Brooklyn and the Bronx, where the two new housing communities will be built.     

The two newly-announced LGBT-welcoming housing developments – Ingersoll Senior Residences in Brooklyn and Crotona Senior Residences in the Bronx ― are a first for New York City.  But they build on similar affordable LGBT elder housing models in Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Chicago and Minneapolis. In each of these projects (and others in development across the country), LGBT communities and our allies are responding to the fact that LGBT older people often face unique challenges in finding welcoming and affordable housing. A 2014 report by the Equal Rights Center, with support from SAGE, found that 48% of LGBT older people applying for senior housing as part of a national test were subjected to discrimination.   This high level of discrimination is outrageous and unacceptable; moreover, it makes it extremely difficult for LGBT older people to find appropriate housing as they age.  

As SAGE pointed out when we rolled out our National LGBT Elder Housing Initiative last year, we can’t just build our way out of this crisis.  Because we will never be able to build enough developments like Ingersoll and Crotona, SAGE is also focused on policy reform and training to ensure that every senior housing community in the country is LGBT-friendly.  Nonetheless, building model LGBT-friendly senior housing can play an important role.  Collectively, the two new housing developments will provide 227 affordable apartments and will offer comprehensive, LGBT-culturally competent services to building residents and elders in the surrounding community.

5783d1ba1b00001a00f6d3a6I stand with NYC Councilmember Ritchie Torres and SAGE participants as we announce the new NYC housing developments. Image courtesy NYCHA.

Located in Ft. Greene, Brooklyn, the 145-unit Ingersoll Senior Residences will be the nation’s largest LGBT-welcoming elder housing community to date. Ingersoll is a collaboration of SAGE and BFC Partners, one of New York City’s leading affordable housing developers. BFC, which has developed affordable and market-rate housing in New York City for more than 30 years, will own and manage the property; SAGE is working with BFC on designing an LGBT-friendly environment and will operate a full-fledged LGBT-welcoming senior center on the ground floor.

Crotona Senior Residences is a collaboration of SAGE and HELP USA, a national leader in developing housing and services for vulnerable populations.  The 82-unit Crotona development, which will be jointly owned by HELP USA and SAGE, will feature a unique array of services and opportunities for residents, including roof-top gardening.  The new development is located directly across the street from Crotona Park, a beautiful 127 acre public park that is a vibrant local gathering spot and is known for its multi-faceted senior programming.   

Onsite SAGE Centers at both locations will be modeled after SAGE’s highly successful Innovative Senior Centers located in Chelsea, Harlem, the Bronx, Staten Island (in partnership with the Pride Center of Staten Island), and Brooklyn (in partnership with GRIOT Circle). The SAGE Centers at Ingersoll and Crotona will feature a cyber-café, hot meals program, and a weekly calendar of arts & culture and health & wellness activities that reflect the interests of building residents and community members. 

The Ingersoll and Crotona Senior Residences are being built at a time of growing recognition that the acute housing needs of LGBT elders must be addressed.  In his Pride Month Proclamation last month, President Obama declared that “my Administration is striving to better understand the needs of LGBT adults and to provide affordable, welcoming, and supportive housing to aging LGBT Americans.”  In New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio’s 10-Year Housing Plan specifically calls on developers to work with service providers to build LGBT-friendly senior housing.

The Ingersoll and Crotona developments are reflective of SAGE’s broader commitment to advance our work on behalf of LGBT elders through intersectional strategies that recognize that social justice problems are interconnected and that build solutions by connecting the dots.  Thus, we are excited that Ingersoll and Crotona isn’t just providing LGBT-friendly elder housing, but also is intentionally integrated into efforts to address New York City’s larger affordable housing crisis.  The Ingersoll and Crotona residences are part and parcel of Mayor de Blasio’s ambitious initiative to create and preserve 200,000 affordable housing units.  The Ingersoll development is making an additional contribution – proceeds from the project will be used to upgrade existing public housing managed by the New York City Housing Authority.

Projects like these – which simultaneously address the acute housing needs of LGBT older people while helping to advance equity for all city residents struggling to find decent housing – can only come about through strong community partnerships.  As New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) Chair and CEO Shola Olatoye has pointed out, “The partnership between the City, BFC, and SAGE to expand affordable housing opportunities and services at Ingersoll is a powerful example of how we’re creating more connected communities through NextGeneration NYCHA.” In a similar vein, GRIOT Circle Executive Director Jose Albino has declared that “[w]e stand shoulder to shoulder with [SAGE] in ensuring that these groundbreaking LGBTQ affirmative housing opportunities are inclusive and representative of the individuals who live in the communities where they will be located.”

At a time when the social ills plaguing our country are so vividly on display, local community change and development efforts like Ingersoll and Crotona – through their emphasis on collaboration, connected communities, and cross-cutting strategies – offer powerful rays of hope for social progress.  Recognizing that our LGBT elder pioneers have paved the way for so much progress toward justice and equality in recent decades, it seems only appropriate that pioneering LGBT-friendly senior housing might offer some lessons on how to re-connect the dots.

Note: If you’re interested in learning more about these developments and SAGE’s National LGBT Elder Housing Initiative, we invite you to subscribe for regular updates at sageusa.org/nychousing.

July 7, 2016

Why We Fight

This article originally appeared in the Fall 2015 issue of SAGEMatters.

The Supreme Court validated the relationships of LGBT people across the nation in 2015 when it handed down its decision in Obergefell v. Hodges. Plaintiff Jim Obergefell took the time to speak with us about his experience in this history-making moment.

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Image: Emma Parker Photography


SAGE: How did you feel at the moment the Supreme Court decision came down? Can you describe it?

Jim Obergefell: When Justice Kennedy read our case number, I grabbed the hands of friends sitting on either side of me and listened intently. The first few sentences were a roller coaster of emotions, as I thought “we won”—followed closely by doubt. When it became clear that we had indeed won, I burst into tears and cried throughout the rest of his decision. I felt a mixture of sadness, joy, and satisfaction. Sadness, of course, because John wasn’t there to experience the win with me. It was impossible not to feel joy at that moment! Here was the highest court in the land saying that John and I—and couples like us—exist and are just as valid as any other couple. I also had a sense of satisfaction because I’d lived up to my promises to love, honor and protect John. It was a bittersweet day, but definitely more sweet than bitter.

SAGE: Caring for a terminally-ill partner requires profound physical and emotional strength. You’ve said that John gave you “the strength to do this.” How did family, friends and community reinforce that strength?

JO: I know I had moments when I was completely exhausted, emotionally and physically, but I always thought back to John and the fact that I was fighting for him, our marriage, and people across the country. I found that no matter how busy I was, I was energized by meeting people, talking about John, and speaking out for equality. My family and friends worried about me, but they understood how important it was, and they could also see how passionate I was about what I was doing. They also kept me grounded and sane by checking in with me and, more importantly, making time for me whenever I was home in Cincinnati. It’s impossible not to be energized when strangers stop me to say thank you, tell me stories, or share why my fight mattered to them.

SAGE: In winning a battle for you and John, you won something for all of us. Have you met any older—“SAGE age”—couples who’ve tied the knot since this summer’s Supreme Court victory? How have they inspired you?

JO: I have, and quite a few! I remember how frequently people were surprised by how long John and I were together, so I’ve loved meeting couples who have been together as long or longer. There’s been such a look of joy and contentment on their faces, and I can’t imagine a better thank you. I know how meaningful getting married was for John and me after twenty years together, so I understand a bit of how they feel. Every time a couple tells me they’ve finally married after being together for so long—or that their marriage is now recognized in all 50 states—I’m humbled to be part of that.

SAGE: In remarks following the decision, you shared your hope that the ruling would decrease LGBT stigma and discrimination. You also acknowledged the crisis in Charleston, saying we must continue to fight as “progress for some is not progress for all.” What issues do you hope to address in the coming year?

JO: Our country still hasn’t lived up to the promise of equality that’s part of our shared American identity, and my experience fighting for marriage equality has inspired me to continue being involved until we do. I’ll be working toward passage of the Equality Act to include sexual orientation and gender identity in federal non-discrimination protections. I’ll continue to speak out on behalf of our transgender brothers and sisters and lend my time and energy toward gaining much-needed protections for them. I also plan to become more involved with fighting homelessness among LGBTQ youth.

Read about Jim Obergefell and other LGBT trailblazers in the Fall 2015 issue of SAGEMatters. Download our Talk Before You Walk toolkit and infographics to learn how marriage equality affects your finances. Sign up for monthly email updates at sageusa.org/subscribe.

July 1, 2016

What Affordable/Accessible Housing Options Exist for Diverse Elders?

Did you miss SAGE's June 30 Housing Press Conference? Watch the Facebook Live Stream recording and see photos from the event on Flickr.

This post originally appeared on the Diverse Elders Coalition blog on June 1, 2016. Read the original post here.

By Angie Boddie

America’s older population is in the midst of unprecedented growth. As the baby boomer generation continues to experience increased longevity, the 50 and over population is projected to increase about 20 percent by 2030 or to about 132 million people. In just 15 years, one in five people will be at least age 65. Ensuring that this demographic continues to experience affordable and accessible housing that offers a sense of community as well as other services and supports that enables them to remain active and productive members of society has taken on a new urgency not only for individuals and their families, but also for the nation as a whole.

For some people, staying in their current homes works. For others, there may come a time when everyone agrees that a different housing option is needed. For those individuals living with chronic conditions and/or disabilities, the availability of housing with supports and services they need determines the quality and cost of long-term care—particularly the portion paid with public funds. Every day, seniors and their caregivers ask questions such as “What if mom or dad can’t go home?” or “What are my housing options?”

Thankfully, today society offers seniors a host of choices and options with regard to alternative housing.  Options include: Age-Restricted Communities; Active-Adult Communities; Senior Apartments; Cohousing; Home with Help (HWH); Assisted-Living Facilities (ALF); Continuing-Care Retirement Communities (CCRC); Board and Care Homes; and Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNF).

  • Age-Restricted Communities. Age-Restricted Communities also known as “active adult” or “[age] 55+” communities cater to older adults who have a common preference to live among their peers. Age-Restricted Communities usually offer a mix of this housing type—single-family homes, townhomes, or apartments that are often connected by sidewalks or paths. Age Restricted Communities tend to focus on an active lifestyle, and many communities have well-equipped clubhouses and other amenities, such as tennis courts, gardening, and other community-based activities.
  • Active-Adult Communities. Active-Adult Communities tend to be more suitable for older adults who are healthy, independent, and interested in the social benefits of living among peers. It should be noted that many age-restricted communities don’t allow multigenerational living arrangements, including children and grandchildren.
  • Senior Apartments. Senior Apartments are age-restricted apartments that are typically available to people age 55 and older. While senior apartments are luxury apartments with high price tags, a lot of senior apartments are priced at market rates or below. Some are even built specifically for low-income people. Because the units are constructed for older adults, they are often designed to be accessible and include transportation services. 
  • Cohousing. “Cohousing” designates “a type of ‘intentional neighborhood’ in which residents actively participate in the design and operation of the community.” Residents privately own their homes and do not pool their incomes, but there are common facilities for daily use. Decisions are made cooperatively, rather than by top-down hierarchy or majority-rules voting. Cohousing communities are vibrant places where there are many opportunities for multigenerational interactions and social connections. In elder or senior cohousing communities, the “intentional community” is only for older people. Homes and facilities are designed for aging in place, and residents often share the cost of health aides or an on-site health-care provider.
  • Home with Help (HWH). Home with Help assistance is available to an individual when it has been deemed that it is unsafe for that person to live at home alone.  HWH services are geared towards providing care in the home.  This may include individuals continuing to live in their home environment with 24 hour care.  It also may include in the form of family caregivers, private paid caregivers, transportation services, and meal options such as meals on wheels.  Hiring private caregivers is an out-of pocket expense; therefore one must consider the financial aspect associated with in-home care.
  • Assisted-Living Facility. Assisted-living facilities (ALFs) are housing communities for those individuals who may require minimal assistance with their activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing, eating, housekeeping, shopping, and medication management, but they want to live as independently as possible.  Residents living in this facility keep the sense of “home”, by having their own apartment.  Medicare does not cover the cost of assisted-living facilities, but in some states, Medicaid may assist with funding.  
  • Continuing-Care retirement Communities (CCRC). Continuing-Care Retirement Communities are a combination of an assisted-living facility that is connected with an independent living residence and a nursing.  Residents in this setting are able to take advantage of a variety of services, including meals, transportation, housekeeping, laundry, health monitoring, and social activities.  Another advantage about living in a CCRC is that residents will not have to relocate to a new community as their level of care may increase.  Fees often increase as services increase. A CCRC offers many different contract options including, extensive, modified, and fee-for-service. The contracts differ in the amount according to the services offered. To determine which option is best for your loved ones, visit the Continuing Care Accreditation Commission.
  • Board and Care Homes. Board and Care Homes are also known as a residential care facility or group home for older adults.  They are often very small and provide assistance with meals and basic Activities of Daily living (ADL’s).   A board and care home offers seniors a “home” atmosphere.  Often board and care homes are located in single-family homes.  Government funding as well as SSI can sometimes cover the costs of such facilities.
  • Skilled Nursing Facilities. Skilled Nursing Facilities provide care to those who need 24 hour care after suffering from an illness, injury, or functional disability; some nursing homes offer specialty services geared towards specific medical conditions.  Nursing homes provide many skilled services including occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech therapy, and respiratory therapy.  Typically, individuals stay for a short period of time to receive services to increase independence to return home.  Skilled nursing facilities are often covered by Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurance carries.

Finding the appropriate senior housing can be a difficult and tedious process for everyone. Whenever possible, involving the whole family can help everyone maintain dignity and power of choice. For additional information on senior housing, visit:

The National Caucus and Center on Black Aging, Inc., Housing Management Corporation: www.ncbahmc.com

SeniorResource.com: http://www.seniorresource.com/house.htm

National Clearinghouse for Long-Term Care Information: http://www.longtermcare.gov/LTC/main_Site/index.aspx

Housing and Urban Development: http://www.hud.gov/groups/seniors.cfm

AARP: http://www.aarp.org/families/housing_choices

Continuing Care Accreditation Commission: http://www.carf.org

Medicare: www.medicare.gov

Angie Boddie is the Director of Health Programs at theNational Caucus and Center on Black Aging, Inc. Angie joined NCBA in 2004. She directs all health promotions, advocacy and education programs for NCBA.