More than three million LGBTQ adults over the age of 50 live in the United States, yet many of these elder LGBTQ individuals often feel like an invisible part of society—plus face more significant health challenges than their non-LGBTQ+ senior counterparts.
According to SAGE and the National Resource Center on LGBT Aging, high rates of loneliness, poverty and mental health issues are common in the senior LGBTQ population. LGBTQ individuals often suffer from social isolation because they are more likely to live alone, be single and are less likely to have children. Additionally, LGBTQ individuals often face dual discrimination due to their age and their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Despite all these challenges, information about caring for older LGBTQ adults can be hard to find. A virtual conference on Friday, June 24 is working to fill that gap. “LGBTQ+ Elders in an Ever Changing World” will address issues faced by LGBTQ seniors and will work to demystify some of the questions around supporting these elders.
“LGBTQ folks are much more likely to grow old single because many never married or had children,” Michael Adams, chief executive of SAGE, told the New York Times. “What we have seen historically is that elders have been forgotten and they don’t have the support they need.”
Topics covered at the conference
LGBTQ caregivers will be able to choose from many workshops focusing on the specifics of supporting an LGBTQ+ individual. Virtual workshops include:
- LGBTQIA+ Aging 101: What you need to know about lesbian, gay, bisexual transgender, queer, questioning and intersex older adults – This presentation addresses the unique issues facing LGBTQ older adults and provides programming models and practice skills to serve them and their caregivers.
- Loneliness and connection: LGBTQ older adults’ experiences and ways to respond – What helps LGBTQ older adults move beyond loneliness and create meaningful engagement?
- Landslide: The power of multigenerational queer chaplaincy – Presenter Taylor Buehler will share personal experiences in chaplaincy to look at ways of building multigenerational LGBTQ+ connection points and reduce isolation for these elders.
- HIV stress exchange: Queer men, intergenerational stress and intimacy amidst the time of HIV – This workshop is offered as a theoretical and empirical model to build HIV-informed competence and address the continued intergenerational HIV stress amongst gay/queer men.
- One size does not fit all: Different ways of building community for LGBTQ+ older adults – LGBTQ older adults need multiple avenues for creating supportive communities and safe environments, online and in-person.
- LGBTQIA+ caregivers of living with dementia – This workshop highlights current research addressing the psychosocial and health-related needs of LGBTQ caregivers and persons living with ADRD.
- Discrimination law: Protections for LGBTQ elders accessing long-term care – This workshops addresses legal protections and applications aiming to end discrimination inhibiting access to long-term care for LGBTQ individuals.
- Connecting with transgender/gender diverse older adults: Outreach and engagement – This workshop discusses lessons from engaging transgender and gender-diverse older adults and provides recommendations for transgender community members, allies and professionals.
- Promising practices when creating online community for LGBTQ+ older adults – Caregivers can learn practices to engage LGBTQ older adults online.
Keynote: Social isolation, loneliness and resilience in LGBTQ+ older adults
The keynote speaker at this virtual conference will be Stu Maddux, the award-winning director of “Gen Silent.” Maddux will discuss his latest documentary, “All the Lonely People,” and highlight social engagement strategies that have helped people around the world reach out and connect.
As a gay American freelance writer, editor and cinematographer, Maddux’s film “Gen Silent” followed Boston-area LGBTQ older people who hid their gender or sexuality to survive the long-term care system.
How to register for the LGBTQ conference
Registration for this conference is $95 for individuals eligible to receive continuing education credits, $75 for individuals not receiving credits, and $25 for seniors and students. Register and learn more for this conference online.