Boulder County, Colo. – Boulder County Area Agency on Aging is hosting a Project Visibility community-based training on Sept. 8, in Longmont. This workshop is designed to educate professional service care providers, community members, and friends and family members about the particular needs and strengths of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) elders.
What: Project Visibility training to develop fitting care for LGBT elders (view flyer)
When: Tuesday, September 8
9:45 a.m. registration and coffee;
10 a.m. – 12 p.m., Part I;
1 p.m.– 3 p.m., Part II
Where: Longmont Senior Center, 910 Longs Peak Ave., Longmont CO
Cost: Free of charge, but please register in by noon, Thursday, Sept. 3.
Project Visibility is an award winning training program developed by Boulder County Area Agency on Aging after extensive focus group efforts with area LGBT older adults.
Despite rights advances, LGBT older adults still worry about feeling forced back into “the closet” in order to receive the care they need. Commonly, living in long term care homes, LGBT elders face a wall of assumptions about who they are and the lives they have led. They do not get to choose the people –caregivers nor peers—who interact with them every day.
Lead trainer, Leslie McCormick particularly encourages providers who assume none of their senior clientele is lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender to take the free, Project Visibility training: “Due to historical prejudice, many LGBT older adults may not readily disclose these important dimensions of themselves. They may have been married. They may have children. They may have come out later in life. Assumptions that everyone is straight and/or cisgender has a lot to do with why LGBT older adults are five times less likely to access senior services, are more isolated, and have higher rates of depression and other health problems than their straight and cisgender peers.”
McCormick emphasizes that, beyond learning how to create inclusive environments, training participants can become well-informed caregivers who have the opportunity to provide some new, poignant experiences for LGBT older adults as they engage in their later years and in life-review.
“It’s important to understand differences in order to provide excellent care for all,” McCormick explains. “LGBT older adults lived in a time during which overt discrimination toward them was commonplace. Far fewer legal protections meant little recourse when their housing, jobs, and basic safety were threatened. Respectful care for LGBT elders involves an appreciation for the strengths and needs that accompany such history.”
Participants will view a short award-winning film in which elders speak about their lives, their strengths, wishes, and concerns about the aging services network. Trainees will gain tools and practice skills for creating welcoming environments, anticipating the questions and concerns of LGBT older adults, and intervening when discrimination or hostility occurs. Each participant will receive a manual with history, background information, terminology, resources, and practical suggestions for providing culturally-competent care and service. In addition, attendees qualify for a listing in the upcoming Silver Lining, a resource directory for LGBT elders in Boulder County.
For more information and to register, contact Leslie McCormick, Project Visibility trainer, at 303-441-4518 or email@example.com. The deadline to register is 12 noon on Thursday, Sept. 3.