Cultural Awareness LGBT Aging

Doug Carl Georgia Department of Human Services Division of Aging Services March 22, 2013

Georgia Department of Human Services

Vision, Mission and Core Values
Stronger Families for a Stronger Georgia.

Strengthen Georgia by providing Individuals and Families access to services that promote self-sufficiency, independence, and protect Georgia's vulnerable children and adults.

Core Values

• • •

Provide access to resources that offer support and empower Georgians and their families. Deliver services professionally and treat all clients with dignity and respect. Manage business operations effectively and efficiently by aligning resources across the agency. Promote accountability, transparency and quality in all services we deliver and programs we administer. Develop our employees at all levels of the agency.

What is LGBT?
• Lesbian - a woman whose primary physical, romantic and/or emotional attraction is to other women. • Gay - a word to describe anyone, mainly men, who have primary physical, romantic and/or emotional attraction to someone of the same sex. • Bisexual - a person who is physically, romantically, and/or emotionally attracted to both men and women.

• Transgender - an umbrella term for people whose gender identity and/or gender expression differs from the sex they were assigned at birth.

Creating Safe and Inclusive Services for LGBT Older Adults

Who’s Out There?
An estimated 9 million Americans -- or nearly 4 percent of the total population -- say they identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (Williams Institute) 3.5% of Georgia residents self-identify as LGBT
(Williams Institute)

By 2030, one in five Americans will be 65 or older – roughly 4 million of these will be LGBT

LGBT Elders face unique challenges to successful aging
Cumulative effects of a lifetime of stigma Need to rely upon “families of choice” for care and support Unequal treatment under laws and programs for older adults

A Lifetime of Stigma
• Has lived most of his/her life closeted • Disrupted lives due to coming out • Severed connections to families of origin • Fewer, less secure opportunities to make a living and save for retirement

Early Attitudes about LGBT
• 1940’s – (1940) Courts rule New York State and Liquor Authority can legally close down bars that serve to same-sex couples – (1943) U.S. military bans gays and lesbians from serving in the Armed Forces – It is revealed that Holocaust victims include Gay, Lesbian, and Transgender 1950’s – (1950) U.S. Senate approves a broad sweeping investigation of homosexuals in national government – (1952) Immigrants are banned from U.S. is they are known to be homosexual – (1952) American Psychiatric Association includes homosexuality under “sociopathic personality disturbance” in its first official list of mental disorders – (1953) President Eisenhower orders dismissal of all federal employees found to be homosexual – (1956) Florida Legislature establishes the Johns Committee


Families of Choice
• Families and social networks are critical to successful aging • Social isolation is linked to higher morbidity, mortality, infection, depression, addiction, and cognitive decline • 80% of long-term care in the U.S. is provided by a family member and are the only in-home caregivers for more than two-thirds of adults • LGBT older adults (older gay men particularly) are significantly less likely than their heterosexual counterparts to be in partnered relationships and/or have children
Source: AARP Public Policy Institute, 2002; Family Caregiver Alliance, 2001

Inequalities Under the Law
• Laws and Government programs designed to provide safety nets around marriage, but exclude LGBT couples – DOMA
– Social Security benefits including:
• • • • the spousal retirement benefit; the spousal disability benefit; the lump-sum death benefit; and the survivor benefit.

Inequalities Under the Law
– Medicaid Long-Term Care
• Same-sex couples not eligible for Spousal Impoverishment

– Lack of Employment Protection
• No Federal Protection – Employment Non-Discrimination Act • No State Protection – Fair Employment Practices Act

– Federal Family Medical Leave
• to care for the employee’s spouse, child, or parent who has a serious health condition

Inequalities Under the Law
• Lack of inclusion in Government funded Aging services

• LGBT Elder Americans Act

Other Forms Discrimination
• LGBT and HIV-positive seniors are facing discrimination related to their sexual orientation, gender identity, or HIV status including:
• staff and residents at senior centers • denial of housing • denial of the ability for same-sex couples to share a room in an assisted living facility or nursing home • disrespect of gender identity including while incapacitated

Assumptions that Exclude LGBT Older Adults
Assumption that all older adults (seniors) are heterosexual

Service providers often assume they can identify an LGBT person By not asking, providers believe they’re organization is not discriminating
Our culture desexualizes older people and tends to only think of LGBT in sexual terms

The Need for Cultural Competency

Cultural Awareness
Cultural Humility Cultural Responsiveness

Ready to Serve?

The Aging Network & LGB and T Older Adults

Study Findings
More that 1/3 of agencies had offered or funded some type of LGB aging training to staff – and 4 out of 5 agencies were willing to offer training Trained agencies were more likely to offer targeted LGBT services and outreach Agencies with trained staff were three more likely to have received a request to assist a transgender person and twice as likely to have received and LGB request for help

Study Findings
Staff training was key in building understanding and addressing the unique needs of LGBT older adults

The State’s Role in Promoting Inclusiveness
System’s Integration Grant
1. Provide the LGBT Awareness to State agencies and Aging service providers throughout the State

2. Conducting Training throughout the State’s Aging Network
3. Identify LGBT welcoming/friendly service providers within the State’s Aging Service Network

So that knowledge gets better with age.


Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful