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LGBT Elder Care Addressed in New Policy Brief

November 30, 2010
by root
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A policy brief published by the Direct Care Alliance explains how direct-care workers can help lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) elders live with dignity and independence.

Nancy F. McKenzie, PhD, author of the policy brief titled “Supporting Direct Care Workers in Caring for Aging Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Individuals” (pdf), notes that LGBT elders face numerous difficulties in obtaining quality long-term care: inequitable laws, social stigma, and institutional and personal prejudice.

Because of those obstacles, LGBT elders are more likely to face unnecessary complications related to aging. They are also more likely to die alone.

McKenzie recommends several steps that policymakers and administrators of long-term care facilities can take to promote high-quality long-term care to their LGBT clients.

One recommendation is for administrators to develop LGBT programs and training for direct-care workers, aimed at eliminating any prejudices that those workers might have in dealing with LGBT elders.

McKenzie also suggests that administrators should ensure that their facilities are in compliance with state anti-discrimination laws, and that policymakers should advocate for LGBT-friendly legislation.

In a guest blog post at the Direct Care Alliance Web site, Michael Adams, executive director of Services & Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE), praises the policy brief for “tackling these issues head-on and making a commitment to improving the lives of LGBT older adults.”

In October, SAGE, in partnership with 10 other LGBT-oriented organizations, launched the first-ever National Resource Center on LGBT Aging, funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’s Administration on Aging.

PHI is collaborating with SAGE and the other organizations involved with the resource center to create training curricula for LGBT and aging service providers.

Throughout the paper, McKenzie argues that the direct-care workers and LGBT elders share an “inherent solidarity.”

She says that both groups are under-valued, under-resourced, and under-represented in mainstream society, and both are fighting to improve the conditions in which they work and live.

“As direct-care workers advocate for their own acknowledgment and legal and monetary protections, they can be stronger advocates for [LGBT] clients that are burdened with the same ‘invisibility,’” McKenzie writes.

Source: Matthew Ozga, PHI Blog

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Policy brief “Supporting Direct Care Workers in Caring for Aging Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Individuals” (PDF format)

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