Stay at Home Care for LGBT Seniors
Are you or a loved one afraid to spend your senior years alone?
Many older adults deal with social isolation and lack of community support, especially in the LGBT community. LGBT seniors have often faced rejection from their families, the loss of a spouse, or the pain of their children moving away. That’s why LGBT older adults need sensitive, welcoming, and affirming long-term care.
Whom to Trust for LGBT Aging Assistance
Statewide there is a long-term care option available for all older adults, including LGBT seniors. Known as PACE (Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly), non-profit programs across North Carolina provide comprehensive medical services to keep frail loved ones living at home.
Jane Venick, MSW, LCSW with Senior CommUnity Care
“Seniors who come to us already suffer from discrimination just for being older. It’s even more so if they’re LGBT,” says Jane Venick, social services manager at Senior CommUnity Care, a PACE center in Durham, NC. She works with LGBT older clients and is herself gay. “We serve many diverse populations, including the LGBT community.”
PACE allows frail seniors to continue living at home and provides transportation to the PACE center. The center provides medical services, therapy, meals, nutrition assistance, and social activities. Clients feel a sense of camaraderie since they’ve lived through the difficult times of being gay, bi, lesbian, or trans. Seniors enrolled in PACE are empathetic and look out for one another.
The All-Inclusivity of PACE
How do you know that PACE is welcoming to LGBT individuals and their families? Here are a few things PACE does to ensure inclusivity:
- PACE recognizes the rights of all individuals in the community including lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender persons in all statewide programs.
- Every person enrolled in PACE receives a Participant Bill of Rights that outlines non-discrimination based on gender, race, religion, or sexual orientation.
- There are Inclusive Space signs posted in English and Spanish at entrances to Senior CommUnity Care to let visitors know PACE is LGBT welcoming.
- Staff members use such terms as “partner,” “significant other,” and “recognize same-sex spouse” as well as a person’s preferred pronouns.
- PACE defines family in the broadest sense, including non-married partnerships, friends, and neighbors or any persons who choose to live together to provide mutual help and support.
- Staff members participate in cultural competency training to ensure our services meet the needs of LGBT seniors.
How Can I Find Out More?
You can learn more about PACE at the Triangle Expo for LGBT Aging Adults this coming Saturday, June 23 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Hosted by SAGE (Services & Advocacy for GLBT Elders), staff from Senior CommUnity Care will be on-site to answer any questions.
For more information about the Expo, visit the LGBT Center of Raleigh website here.