June is Pride month! Pride is a chance to bring visibility to issues facing the LGBTQ+ community, offer support, and celebrate legal victories that allow for increased freedom. Last year on the blog we covered a variety of resources for LGBTQ+ seniors. Today we’re going to look at ways that community members and professionals can support LGBTQ+ seniors.
In the workplace
- Make sure your organization has a have a non‐discrimination policy that includes sexual orientation and gender identity.
- This should also be posted on your agency’s website.
- Include a variety of options for relationship status on forms (e.g., in a domestic partnership, significant other, etc) instead of only asking for marital status.
- In intakes, ask questions such as “tell me about the people who are important to you” or “who will be visiting you?”
- Make sure that company publications (e.g., brochures, flyers) have positive images of LGBT individuals.
- Train staff on topics such as inclusion, sexual orientation, and identity.
- Include the LGBTQ+ community in outreach programs.
- Assume that your agency is already serving members of the LGBTQ+ community (because you very likely are)
As a caregiver
- Ask your loved one who they want to be included in their care (remember that members of the LGBTQ+ community are three times more likely than the general population to not have children to help with their care)
- Make sure all legal and health documents are easily accessible. SAGE Metro Detroit has a great guide to The Legal Documents Every LGBT Older Adult Needs.
- Do due diligence to find LGBT-friendly doctors, therapists, etc. Great resources for this include OutCare and SAGE Metro Detroit’s Rainbow Resource Guide (Note: this guide is based in Metro Detroit)
- Check out SAGE Metro Detroit’s Guide for Caregivers for more resources!
- Treat others with the same respect you’d like to receive.
- Use individuals’ preferred names and pronouns.
- Don’t be afraid to ask if you’re unsure of someone’s pronouns.
- Not all LGBTQ+ couples are married. Follow an individual’s lead and use the term they use for their partner (e.g., wife, roommate, partner, friend, etc.).
- Never “out” a person (e.g., recognizing them as a member of the LGBTQ+ community without their consent).
- Use a person’s preferred name and pronouns- even if they aren’t in the room!
Visit the Ahead of the Curve Resource Directory to view resources that are LGBTQ Affirming