Much is written about the aging baby boomer generation. But the challenges unique to the LGBT population are lost in the media coverage.
The national organization SAGE (Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders) reported in an October 2014 report that there are more than three million LGBT people age 55 and older in the United States and that this number will double in the next two decades.
A survey conducted by Harris Poll for SAGE (available at www.sageusa.org/resources) found that:
• Many LGBT older people report that their primary health-care providers do not know about their sexual orientations, and many feel reluctant to discuss their sexual orientations and gender identities with other health-care providers for fear of being judged or receiving inferior care.
• Many LGBT older people are concerned that volunteering and working during their retirement years will be hindered if others know about their sexual orientations and gender identities.
• LGBT older people report fearing and experiencing discrimination in housing and long-term care environments. and many LGBT people are interested in LGBT-friendly affordable housing.
In response to the aging LGBT population, the LGBT Affirmative Therapists Guild, Good Samaritan Project and Truman Medical Center will present a daylong workshop on Saturday, Jan. 24, titled “Aging Successfully in the LGBT Community.” Community members, counselors, social workers and psychologists will come together to share information and ideas on aging with good health and positivity. Maintaining connection and meaning through the aging process will be a particular focus of attention.
The day begins at 8 a.m. with registration and a continental breakfast provided by Walgreens. After opening remarks at 9 a.m., Stuart Hinds of the Gay & Lesbian Archive of Mid-America (GLAMA) will speak about the important work of preserving our community’s history. Crystal Jenkins with Your Wellness Connection will offer tips to enhance one’s health in response to aging. Advocacy is a critical piece in receiving needed treatment. Members of Truman Behavioral Health will discuss strategies for acting as your own health-care advocate. Psychologist David Donovan will offer his humorous take on aging during lunch.
Participants will have the opportunity to share their own experiences and ask questions through facilitated group discussions. Topics include HIV and aging; sex and intimacy; depression; substance abuse; spirituality and meaning; and health and wellness. After a coffee break provided by Starbucks, the Guild and SAGE will close the workshop with ways that participants can stay active and connected to the Kansas City LGBT community. The day will end with a happy hour, featuring complimentary appetizers and cash bar at Bistro 303.
The workshop will be at Truman Medical Center, 2301 Holmes Rd. Tickets are $25 for community members and students and $89 for providers who want to earn continuing education units. Costs include conference materials, breakfast, lunch and refreshments throughout the day. A limited number of community scholarships are available.