Sweeping Reforms to Improve LGBT Older Adult Care in MA

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older_man_mdA report to be released September 17 by the Special Legislative Commission on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Aging will recommend a sweeping set of reforms to improve LGBT older adults‘ care in the Commonwealth.

The report will be released at a briefing in Room 428 at the State House at 10 a.m. on Thursday, September 17. Speakers will include Sen. Pat Jehlen and Rep. James O’Day, co-chairs of the Special Legislative Commission on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Aging.

The report contains data collected during four public hearings held in Boston, Orleans, Worcester, and Holyoke in order to learn about the needs of the Commonwealth’s elderly and aging LGBT population. During the hearings, the Commission heard from LGBT older adults, and the community groups that serve them; the Commission also solicited written comments from the public. [pullquote]The report contains data collected during four public hearings held in Boston, Orleans, Worcester, and Holyoke in order to learn about the needs of the Commonwealth’s elderly and aging LGBT population.[/pullquote]

The report will issue recommendations in five major areas: long-term support services; housing; public health; senior centers and community engagement; and legal considerations. The Commission will also made recommendations regarding data collection; needs assessment; training and service delivery; and outreach.

“We have long known that LGBT older adults face unique challenges as they age. Few of them have the family connections such as partners or spouses; children; and extended family who can provide the care that much of the general population relies on from their families as they age,” said State Sen. Pat Jehlen, Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Elder Affairs. “This first-in-the-nation state commission will provide a roadmap for giving our state’s LGBT older adults the care that they deserve, and it is one that other states can follow.”

The Commission was formed in 2013 when then-Gov. Deval Patrick and the Massachusetts Legislature convened the country’s first statewide LGBT Aging Commission to assess the needs of the state’s elderly and aging LGBT population. In 2015, the legislature voted to make the Commission permanent. The Commission has 26 members, including representatives from the Joint Committee on Elder Affairs; Executive Office of Elder Affairs; Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development; Massachusetts Department for Public Health; LGBT Aging Project; Fenway Health; Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders; New England Association of HIV Over Fifty; MassEquality; Mass Home Care; AARP of Massachusetts; Massachusetts Association of Councils on Aging; Massachusetts Senior Care Association; and Home Care Aide Council.

“Many older LGBT people have faced numerous incidents of discrimination throughout their lives,” added State Rep. James O’Day, co-chair of the Commission. “They have every right to a future of dignity and safety, and the LGBT Aging Commission is working to facilitate that process.”

[From a News Release]

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1 Comment on "Sweeping Reforms to Improve LGBT Older Adult Care in MA"

  1. I’m glad that this commission is making recommendations for the Commonwealth to assist the well being of LGBT older adults. It’s bad enough to have suffered the indignities of societal discrimination both financially and culturally for decades. The thought of ending life without family, strapped to an institutional chair, face down in the mashed potatoes, being scorned once again by those hired to help is not a future anyone should have to face alone.

    Most of us would rather go out dancing and with a little help, we will.

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