The Senior LGBTQ+ Community
The month of June is Pride month. It celebrates the LGBTQ+ Community and acknowledges the obstacles overcome along the way. That is not to say that there isn’t more room for growth. There is! Sierra Senior Services is proud to support the LGBTQ+ community.
What Defines the LGBTQ+ Community?
What does it mean when people say that they are a part of the LGBTQ+ community? LGBTQ+ is an abbreviation of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer or Questioning. The + includes the later additions of Intersex, Pansexual, Two-Spirit, Asexual, and Ally. These terms are used to describe someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity (Source). The first organization for gay men was founded in 1950 by Harry Hay and Chuck Rowland in Chicago. The first organization for lesbian women was founded in 1955 by Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin in San Francisco (Source). That is key because many Seniors in the LGBTQ+ community may have been well on their way before the organizations were founded. That means they had no community, no term to identify with, and they most likely felt alone and ostracized from society. Or, compelled to go against their inherent instinct to conform to social norms.
The Challenges Senior LGBTQ+’s Face Today
Besides all the typical challenges LGBTQ+ people face, seniors may face more. A study found that seniors in the LGBTQ+ community are at higher risk for mental health issues, disabilities, and are more likely to abuse alcohol and tobacco when compared to their heterosexual peers (Source). Judgment and being at a disadvantage are common themes felt. This could be one of the many reasons why many people don’t “come out of the closet”. Seniors in the LGBTQ community face just as much diversity if not more because of the generational social divides. There are resources to help.
How to Support Our LGBTQ+ Seniors
The best way to support LGBTQ+ Seniors is to understand that no matter what, we can live harmoniously together. We all deserve to have our voices heard, our experiences understood, and our unique needs addressed. We can create deeply-felt inclusion through authentic connections in our personal relationships, workplace culture, and daily interactions with others. Are you ready to take a step forward? The following tips come from GayCenter.org.
Turning our Awareness into Action
- Be Intentional – Make a commitment to understanding what you’re getting right and what you’re getting wrong.
- Give Holistic Attention – Center other people’s perspectives, how they are directly impacted by your decisions, language, and actions, and how it makes them feel.
- Collaborate & Listen – Meet individuals at their intersections and be ready to respond with action.
- Hold Yourself & Others Accountable – Check-in with yourself on how your actions impact others and if you are being an ally, and adjust as needed.
Many people no matter what the age, but specifically later in life feel as though when they are about to come out that they don’t have a good support system. That should never deter anyone from being their authentic selves! Below are some resources that may give you the help and confidence you need when you are coming out or struggling to belong. These are also places that friends and loved ones can go to learn how to help and support others.
- A Guide to Pronouns
- Intersectionality – Framework to understand how we can all live harmoniously together
- Visit The Center – An online resource that offers a welcoming environment where everyone is celebrated for who they are
- Sage National LGBTQ+ Elder Hotline – Specifically for LGBTQ+ Seniors who want to connect with friendly responders who are ready to listen
- Nevada County LGBTQ+ Resources
Access for Nevada Counties Seniors
Did you know that there is a dedicated website for local seniors? Under the umbrella of the California Health and Human Services Agency, the California Department of Aging (CDA) administers programs that serve older adults, adults with disabilities, family caregivers, and residents in long-term care facilities throughout the State. These programs are funded through the federal Older Americans Act, the Older Californians Act, and through the Medi-Cal program. Check it out: www.aging.ca.gov. Also, check out our local connection points. There is help available 24 hours a day, seven days a week by calling the numbers below:
- Placer Country – (833) 342-5211
- Nevada Country – (833) 342-5211
- Washoe Country – (866) 535-5654
Connections for Nevada and Placer County Seniors
Making social connections is important. That is why Sierra Senior Services is happy to announce that our in-person, congregate dining began again at the beginning of May. The Congregate Meals Program serves nutritious meals to older adults in group settings with an opportunity to socialize with others. Our programs are hosted at the North Tahoe Events Center in Kings Beach and the community room of the Truckee Donner Senior Apartments in Truckee Voluntary contributions are welcome, but not required. See our Events sections for details.
Sierra Senior Services is the local Meals on Wheels provider covering the Greater Truckee/Lake Tahoe region. We provide home-delivered meals, and can make referrals for additional support services that empower seniors to continue living independently. Sierra Senior Services is a California 501-(c)-3 Non-profit Corporation · Tax ID 68-0484075 Contribute today!