SAGE to Speak at Congressional Briefing on Key Issues Facing Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Older Adults
The briefing, hosted by the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus, will highlight key issues and the latest research on LGBT older Americans, as well as federal efforts to address their needs.
"LGBT older people make up a significant share of people over age 65 living in this country, and their numbers are expected to double in size to more than 3 million by 2030," said Michael Adams, Executive Director of SAGE. "The unique challenges that LGBT elders face, combined with their growing numbers, requires a mandate to ensure that the policies designed to protect our nation's elders take into account the needs of LGBT older people, leading to a healthy and rewarding later life for all older people."
Despite recent policy advances, LGBT older adults still face significant barriers to successful aging, such as poor health outcomes, a lack of economic security, social isolation, and unequal treatment under the law and in programs aimed at aging populations. There are, however, upcoming opportunities to address these issues, such as the reauthorization of the Older Americans Act—the country's leading vehicle for funding and delivering supportive services to older people nationwide. Adams will discuss these issues, what organizations like SAGE are doing to address the challenges and recommendations for ensuring that LGBT older adults are included in OAA.
The briefing will also feature the release of a new report that details important findings from the first national study on LGBT aging and health funded by the National Institutes of Health and the National Institute on Aging. The study was completed in collaboration with 11 organizations nationwide including SAGE. Leading researcher Dr. Karen Fredriksen-Goldsen and colleagues at the University of Washington found that LGBT older adults experience significant aging and health disparities. The Aging and Health Report: Disparities and Resilience among Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Older Adults reveals that gay, lesbian, and bisexual older adults have higher rates of disability than heterosexuals of similar age. Furthermore, LGBT older adults are at elevated risk of physical and mental distress, victimization, discrimination, and lack of access to supportive aging and health services.
Dr. Fredriksen-Goldsen explains, "The higher rates of aging and health disparities among LGBT older adults are a major concern. Prevention and intervention strategies must be developed to address their unique and mounting needs and to effectively respond to the increasing number of older adults in these communities."
In addition to Adams and Fredriksen-Goldsen, featured speakers at the briefing include:
- Kathy Greenlee, Assistant Secretary for Aging, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, on the current administration's past and upcoming initiatives to improve the health of LGBT older adults.
- Jeff Krehely, Director of the LGBT Research and Communications Project, Center for American Progress, on what Congress can do to address the needs of LGBT older adults.
The briefing will take place on Wednesday, November 9, 2011 from 2:00 – 3:00 pm at the Rayburn House Office Building, Room 2168, Washington, DC.
SAGE (Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders) 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 22 local SAGE affiliates in 16 states and the District of Columbia. Learn more at sageusa.org and lgbtagingcenter.org.