You're standing in front of your Family and Friends prepared to make your dreams of a lifetime come true. It's at that moment that you are grateful that you have a professional guiding your ceremony. The Supreme Court has finally ruled upon this issue. Now is the time to plan your perfect LGBT Wedding. I have been performing Commitment Ceremonies since the beginning, and I am so pleased this has opened up for everyone to marry the one they Love. Contact Reverend Jacqui Weiks, Your LGBT Wedding Officiant
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5 Important Resources for Gay Seniors
Navigating life changes related to aging isn’t easy for anyone: you have your health to look out for, retirement and financial planning to take care of, and the possibility of relocating if you or your partner need long-term care as you get older. For gay seniors, there’s even more to think about: studies have shown that gay seniors tend to face significant barriers when it comes to locating fair housing, receiving adequate health care, and overcoming social isolation.
Until recently, many organizations ignored LGBT elders, or assumed that aging was the same for people of every sexuality. As more members of the LGBT community approach retirement age, organizations and agencies have started to realize that gay seniors have specific needs and issues to contend with, and the number of resources for gay seniors is constantly growing. Here are a few organizations and resources leading the way for lesbian, bisexual, transgender and gay seniors:
1 AARP Pride
The AARP is one of the country’s largest senior citizen groups, and they’ve introduced the “AARP Pride” section on their website to collect news and information for gay seniors. Their articles cover practical information, such as information on estate planning and Medicare eligibility for same-sex couples, as well as articles on arts and leisure, public policy, and LGBT history. From the AARP Pride website, gay seniors can also find direct links to AARP resources like retirement calculators and the Caregiving Resource Center, making the site a great place to start searching for resources.
Based in New York City but expanding to the rest of the country, Services & Advocacy for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgender Elders (SAGE) is an advocacy group that works to improve the lives of transgender, bisexual, and gay seniors by influencing public policy, training care providers on the needs of LGBT seniors, and sharing important information for members of the community. With affiliates in every region of the country and several national programs for gay seniors, SAGE is a major resource when it comes to ensuring that all gay seniors are able to “age successfully,” which SAGE defines as “financially secure, free from discrimination and surrounded by the people they love and the supports they need.”
3 The National Resource Center on LGBT Aging
In 2010, SAGE and 10 other organizations were awarded a federal grant to create the National Resource Center on LGBT Aging. The center provides both online and in-person training for aging providers and LGBT organizations, and also maintains a comprehensive multimedia resource center featuring videos, webinars, and reading materials for gay seniors and their providers. Focusing on education and cultural competency is an important part of making sure gay seniors receive equal care, access to benefits, and education to make important long-term decisions when it comes to successful aging, and the National Resource Center on LGBT Aging ensures that providers across a wide range of social and health services are prepared to address issues that matter to gay seniors.
4 LGBT Aging Issues Network
The LGBT Aging Issues Network (LAIN) is part of the American Society on Aging, which sponsors the annual Aging in America Conference. With regular webinars, links to articles on LGBT aging, and a searchable database of resources, LAIN’s LGBT Aging Resources Clearinghouse is a valuable tool for gay seniors, their families, and their caregivers. Whether you’re looking to learn more about gay retirement communities, find a social group to stay active, or find healthcare providers that focus on the LGBT community, the clearinghouse can be a valuable resource to locate the services that matter to you.
5 Local Resources
In addition to national advocacy groups and membership organizations, there may be resources right outside your door. The Northwest LGBT Senior Care Providers network is just one local organization that seeks to connect gay seniors with other community members and providers. In addition to providing local directories of providers, the network also supports events like the Aging Your Way LGBT Gathering. Openhouse in San Francisco is another local organization that provides LGBT seniors with resources for anything from housing to community services, ensuring that gay seniors have the support they need at any stage of life.
Gay Seniors: No Longer On Their Own
With growing acceptance and awareness, more local and national groups are finally paying attention to the demands of LGBT seniors and ensuring that they don’t remain an underserved segment of the population. Hopefully the advocacy efforts and educational resources provided by these and other groups will soon mean that all gay seniors have the freedom to age financially secure, healthy, and cared for wherever they live.
Are you an LGBT senior looking toward retirement? What are your biggest concerns, and do you think you’ll have access to the social and health services you need? Let us know!