Former Intern Anna Coughlan Researching LGB Women and Long Term Care

Anna Coughlan
Anna Coughlan
Anna Coughlan

You may remember our amazing Intern Anna Coughlin.  While Anna was with us, she wrote this op-ed on LGBTQ Aging for the Washington Blade:  DC Office of Aging Failing our LGBT Elders.

Anna is currently working on her senior thesis which is on “lesbian, gay, bisexual, and same-gender attracted women who live in long term care”

Please read the announcement below, and if you can support Anna in this important work, you can reach her directly at accoughlan42@gwu.edu

Thanks everyone!

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Hello! My name is Anna Coughlan and I am a senior undergraduate student at George Washington University. I am currently completing my senior thesis to research and understand the experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and same-gender attracted women who live in long term care. As a way to expand the diversity of perspectives included in my research, I am currently reaching out to  long term care providers, long term care residents (LGBT and non-LGBT alike), and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and same-gender attracted women over the age of 60 who think they might need long term care in their lifetime. I would like to have an in person interview, about an hour in length, with these participants, and discuss their experiences and/or expectations about long term care.

If you are interested in participating or have any questions, please contact me by email at accoughlan42@gwu.edu, or by phone at 703-624-6983. You may also reach out to my professor and research supervisor Emily Morrison at Emily_M@gwu.edu, or call her office phone at 202-994-6167.

This research project has been approved by George Washington University’s Institutional Review Board (IRB). Confidentially is a top priority for me while conducting this research project. Participants’ identity, and any identifying information about them, will remain confidential in all reports. I will ask to record our interview for my research notes, and the recording will be deleted after the study is concluded.

LGBTQ Aging Town Hall

LGBTQ Aging Town Hall
LGBTQ Aging Town Hall
LGBTQ Aging Town Hall

Thank you to everyone who came out to the LGBTQ Aging Town Hall.   Thanks especially to all the LGBTQ older adults who came out and made their voices heard!

To follow the discussion from the town hall, you can check out the hashtag #LGBTQAgingDC on Twitter.   Click here to see the discussion.  The Washington Blade also wrote a story about the town hall.  Click here to read the Washington Blade Story.

Here are a few quick follow up notes for folks who were at the Town Hall.

We remain steadfast in our requests from the Office of Aging.

  • Capacity building grants to LGBTQ organizations in DC that want to serve LGBTQ Older Adults
  • A congregant meal program for LGBTQ older adults in the District
  • Better data on LGBTQ older adults.

As always we encourage you to follow Center Aging on facebook at facebook.com/centeraging or on twitter at twitter.com/centeraging for updates.   You can also call the DC Center support desk during office hours at 202 682-2245.

LGBTQ older adults are welcome to join us for Coffee & Conversation, which takes place every Monday morning from 10:00 AM to Noon at the DC Center.   We also host a lunch for LGBTQ older adults on the fourth Friday of every month from 12:00 PM to 2:00 PM.  Finally, we hope you will also join us on Thanksgiving Day starting at 1:00 PM (and bring your favorite board game!).

You all gave some great suggestions to the Office of Aging this week, and it remains to be seen what they will do with those suggestions.  Every older adult in the District deserves an equal opportunity to thrive in their senior years, and we know the Office of Aging is just not reaching our community the way they should be.   We will see what happens, but in the meantime, we will keep pushing for equity, I know you will keep pushing as well.  Thanks everyone!

-David Mariner

 

 

 

Strategy Sessions on Homelessness Among LGBTQ+ Adults

Mayors Office of LGBTQ Affairs
Mayors Office of LGBTQ Affairs
Mayors Office of LGBTQ Affairs

The Mayor’s Office of LGBTQ Affairs and the DC Department of Human Services (DHS) will host a series of strategy sessions on homelessness among LGBTQ+ Adults.

Homelessness disproportionately impacts members of the LGBTQ+ community. We’ve made incredible advances for youth in our city but adults experiencing homelessness also have important needs that Mayor Bowser and the government of the District of Columbia is committed to better understanding and serving. To that end, the Department of Human Services (DHS) is partnering with the Mayor’s Office of LGBTQ Affairs to facilitate four community conversations about homeless services for members of the LGBTQ+ population.

In September, the first conversation will focus on the needs of single women experiencing homelessness in the LGBTQ+ community. Our goal is to create separate time and space to focus solely on key LGBTQ+ constituencies and engage expert stakeholders in identifying gaps in the existing service provision for those experiencing homelessness. Other sessions will focus on single men, LGBTQ couples and families and each session will look at addressing the needs of LGBTQ seniors.

With feedback from key stakeholders, service providers and other government agencies we can create a more informed vision and strategy for improving support to the LGBTQ community by January 1, 2018.

For more information please contact Deputy Director Terrance Laney at terrance.laney@dc.gov

The DC Center Testifies at DC Office on Aging Hearing

Center Aging
Center Aging
Center Aging

Adam Heller presented testimony on April 25th at the council hearing on the DC Office on Aging.  Adam volunteers with Center Aging, a program of the DC Center, by hosting the weekly Center Aging Coffee Drop in.   Adam is pictured in the far left on the photo above.   The testimony is included below:

My name is Adam Heller. I’m here as a concerned DC resident and as a representative of The DC Center for the LGBT Community to help elaborate on the need to have DC City-sponsored affinity programming for LGBT older adults.

It’s been a privilege and incredible education to volunteer at The DC Center where, for the past three years, I have helped run the community center’s program for older adults – the vast majority of whom are in their 70s and 80s. In that time I’ve gotten to know women and men who have brought laughter and joy to each other, create meaningful friendships, and been able to safely and comfortably share their rich lives including past experiences and traumas, current troubles, as well as their hopes for the future. It’s at these weekly coffee klatches and monthly potluck get-togethers at The DC Center where lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender older adults have not only felt a sense of comradery, but an added source of strength in their weekly routine. Currently, we are the only ongoing public event for LGBT seniors in the city. The DC Center’s older adult program is meant to combat the social isolation experienced by a disproportionate number of LGBT senior residents relative to the rest of the older adult population. As a DC Center intern noted at a Budget Oversight Hearing one year ago, “one study found that 65% of gay and lesbian seniors surveyed reported living alone — nearly twice the rate of all seniors.”

When I initially found out LGBT older adult DC residents did not have their own city-sponsored affinity program like a congregate/group meal program for their community I was a bit sad. I was also unaware of the disproportionate social isolation of LGBT older adults relative to their non-LGBT neighbors who often have spouses, and children, and other family who can help them as they become septuagenarians. Today, LGBT families of all types are growing, however, the research still shows that 90 percent of gay and lesbian seniors don’t have children, which stands out when compared to the 20 percent of all seniors who don’t.

Later on, I was surprised to learn that city-funded affinity programming does exist for low-income older adults of other minority groups who greatly benefit socially and financially from congregate meal programs. As you probably know, there are congregate meal programs each for older adult DC residents who are Asian & Pacific Islander, Latino, or Deaf/HOH, but there isn’t one for specifically for LGBT seniors. I thought this was merely an accidental omission for a large city with a record 10% out of the closet LGBT population to not offer programming that would match those of other groups. It gave me the chutzpah to come here today to share with you that there are other passionate DC residents like me who are motivated to help create such a program, but we need your help to do so.

Upon inquiry with the city as to why LGBT older adults don’t have their own programming, they have been encouraged to partake in one of the other offered congregate meals, which are unfortunately neither specifically for LGBT seniors nor ensure an LGBT cultural competent environment. As our LGBT citizens further age and join senior living facilities and communities, often times they are forced back into the closet for fear of the same archaic prejudices from their peers they faced throughout their lives. This is why they need their own program.

And if I may tug on your heartstrings for a moment longer: I am speaking specifically of the current generation of LGBT older adults, the same ones who were part of the first generation of Americans who came out of the closet en mass fifty years ago. For a generation of women and men whose LGBT friends dropped dead weekly in the 80s and 90s whilst largely having felt the cold shun from family, I hope we can do our part to provide a space where those who need community can find it without worry of prejudice or cost. The DC Center is happy to do its part to make this happen!