Were you one of the 200 people who were able to join us on Monday March 11th for the 2nd Annual LGBT Elders In An Ever Changing World Conference? Once again North Shore Elder Services and Salem State University School of Social Work co-sponsored this event that offered 20 different workshops ranging from policy to practice and addressing issues like transgenderaging, coming out late in life and spirituality and the LGBTcommunity. Our keynote speaker, Gary Bailey MSW, ACSW inspired us with a global perspective on LGBT and aging issues.
I had an incredible experience - again - at this conference. We work within so many varied networks but this gathering was an amazing day to bring together students,aging service professionals, LGBT older adults and caregivers to talk about LGBTaging and experiences. When I stood on the podium and looked out at all of the conference participants I could see the community we have built together - LGBT and allies alike - and feel our shared commitment to furthering our work toward inclusion for LGBT older adults.
Conference News: National
Issues relating to LGBT older adults and caregivers in Massachusetts were well represented in the annual American Society on Aging (ASA) conference held this year in Chicago. Bob Linscott, Kristen Porter and Sara Keary presented 'Diversity and Inclusion in the Congregate Meal Program' which included the findings from M'LANA's meal site study. Dale Mitchell, Lisa Krinsky and Bob Linscott (at 8am! Pictured left) 'From Inclusion to Invisibility: A Decade of Making Aging Services LGBT Friendly,' which highlighted all the achievements we have accomplished together since the LGBT Aging Project was founded. With such an early slot for the workshop we expected only a couple of people but we were pleased to have a full room with incredible national representation. Some of the states represented were Kentucky, Wisconsin, Texas and Florida; all of whom were eager to bring this work to their states. And finally Lisa Krinsky and Beth Prullage presented a workshop on our LGBT Bereavement groups.
It is not always possible to judge the impact we have on people who attend our workshops. Sometimes we hear back from participants but most likely not. This year's conference was very special for Bob Linscott who got a chance to see some actual results. At ASA In Las Vegas in 2009 Bob and Lisa presented a workshop on how to start an LGBT Friendly congregate meal which was attended by Serena Worthington of SAGE Chicago. She went back and used our model to open an LGBT community meal site at The Center on Halstead, Chicago's LGBT Center. Since the conference was in Chicago this year, Bob had a chance to tour the site and see their meal program in action (pictured left). At ASA In 2011 in San Francisco Bob presented a similar workshop with the leaders from Chicago's new mealsite and that was attended by Chris Kerr from The Montrose Center in Houston Texas. This year Chris was eager to track us down and report that he and his colleagues had opened their own LGBT meal site in Houston and serve 3 meals a week! Our mission is spreading!
Update: Outreach Initiative: Connecting LGBT Older Adults On Cape Cod
On Wednesday March 6 The LGBT Aging Project facilitated two community-wide conversation on LGBTAging and Caregiving on Cape Cod. The meetings, held at Orleans and Yarmouth's Senior Centers were well attended with representation from both LGBT older adults and providers. Both groups were eager to discuss the challenges of reaching home bound or isolated LGBT seniors on the Cape. The meetings also provided an opportunity to brainstorm possible solutions and outcomes as well as build a list of possible people and organizations to involve to make this initiative successful. The LGBTAging Project will now begin to analyze the data from the meetings along with the Needs Assessments from local LGBT older adults and compile a report for the GALE Fund, the organization that sponsored this initiative. The report will highlight the needs and possible solutions to implement an outreach plan to engage LGBT older adults living on the Cape, both socially as well as connecting them to the necessary supports and services.
LGBT Older Adults and Integrated Care Organizations
On Tuesday February 11th Deputy Medicaid Director, Robin Callahan, conducted a presentation on Integrated Care Organizations for representatives from a variety of agencies in the Boston area dealing with older adults, LGBT & HIV communities and those with disabilities. ICOs are new coordinated healthcare delivery systems for adults ages 18-64 who are eligible for both medicaid and medicare. The purpose of this meeting was to learn more about the new ICO program, scheduled to begin in July of this year and to discuss how these changes will impact the LGBT and HIV communities. Organizations represented at the meeting were Ethos, The LGBTAging Project, Mass Transgender Political Coalition, Mass Equality, Boston Center for Independent Living, Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders and the New England Association of HIV over 50. If you want to learn more about the ICO program, please visit, mass.gov/masshealth/duals.
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