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For Immediate Release


August 22, 2016

SAGE Delivers Powerful Message to Federal Government on Behalf of LGBT Elders

LGBT older adults respond by the thousands to request for feedback

[New York, NY] Today, Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE) delivered more than 2,800 comments to the Administration for Community Living (ACL), regarding a plan that would guide state aging offices in allocating resources for diverse elders as they age – including, for the very first time, LGBT older people.

The comments from SAGE’s members and allies were collected as part of a collaborative effort led by the Diverse Elders Coalition (DEC), which advocates for policies and programs that improve aging in our communities as American Indian/Alaska Native elders, Asian American/Pacific Islander elders, Black elders, Hispanic elders and LGBT elders. SAGE is one of the five national organizations in the DEC.

SAGE research demonstrates that LGBT older adults often face pronounced cultural and social isolation that can threaten their ability to live independently. LGBT older people are, for instance, twice as likely to live alone, twice as likely to be single and far less likely to have children. Additional research documents the fact that LGBT older people face high levels of discrimination in senior housing and face serious barriers to accessing culturally competent services.

"When the ACL asked for feedback on a plan that expressly acknowledges the need for more resources for diverse elders as they age, they included LGBT older people for the first time," said Lynn Faria, SAGE’s Chief Officer for External Affairs. "SAGE has been overwhelmed by forceful and poignant responses from LGBT elders and their allies asking our federal government to respond to the unique needs of our older adults to improve LGBT people’s aging experience. Now is the time to ensure that their voices are heard and that these efforts lead to more and better support for those who came before us."

The comments submitted varied in length and subject matter, but a single theme carried throughout: a growing fear of isolation and uncertainty. SR, a transgender elder in Pennsylvania, said, "I am older, I have serious medical issues, and have no support system. I know there are many others like me." Peter in Florida said, "My only sibling and I are estranged because I am gay. I worry about who will help us if one or both of us become physically or mentally incapacitated; who will advocate for us when we are hospitalized? We desperately need government help to provide us with the services we cannot provide to ourselves."

Members of the Diverse Elders Coalition submitted more than 4,500 comments to the ACL today; a meeting request to discuss these comments in greater depth will be submitted to the ACL this week.

Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE) is the country's largest and oldest organization dedicated to improving the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) older adults. Founded in 1978 and headquartered in New York City, SAGE is a national organization that offers supportive services and consumer resources to LGBT older adults and their caregivers, advocates for public policy changes that address the needs of LGBT older people, and provides training for aging providers and LGBT organizations through its National Resource Center on LGBT Aging. With offices in New York City, Washington, DC and Chicago, SAGE coordinates a growing network of 30 local SAGE affiliates in 20 states and the District of Columbia. Learn more at sageusa.org and lgbtagingcenter.org.

Media Inquiries

Christina DaCosta
Director of Communications
917-553-3328
cdacosta@sageusa.org

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