Summit targets better care, services for LGBTQ elderly

Summit targets better care, services for LGBTQ elderly

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 More than 250 participants are expected to attend the inaugural statewide aging summit for LGBTQ residents in Harrisburg to provide more education and cultural competency for healthcare providers.

The LGBT Elder Initiative is hosting the LGBTQ Aging Summit Oct. 9-10 to address the specific needs of LGBTQ seniors and connect them directly with providers. The event is a large-scale version of the aging summit that the Elder Initiative hosted in Philadelphia in 2016.

LEI’s board chairman Heshie Zinman said he saw a need for a statewide aging conference because “the needs of LGBTQ seniors in Philly look a lot different, or maybe similar, to those in the other parts of the state.”

The summit is about assessing “what our needs are and how best to connect and build bridges within the aging-services world,” Zinman said.

Zinman added that most LGBT older adults live alone, are not married and don’t have children, so the resources for care within families are limited.

David Griffin, LEI’s director of programs and outreach, said the summit will discuss different types of care accessible to seniors who may have experienced discrimination.

“Older adults in the community have, in many cases, experienced a lot of discrimination throughout their lives, so they may be more distrustful of social services system and the healthcare system,” he said.

The event’s keynote speakers include Kathy Greenlee, former assistant secretary of aging at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and Michael Adams, chief executive officer at SAGE, the advocacy group for LGBT elders.

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