March 15, 2017
Let’s Talk LGBT Aging at the 2017 Aging in America Conference!
By: Diverse Elders

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender older adults face a number of challenges when it comes to aging, including harassment and discrimination, increased poverty rates, high un- and underemployment rates, and more. The team at SAGE (Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders) is participating in a number of workshops and panel discussions at this year’s Aging in America Conference, March 20-24 in Chicago, IL. Check out some of the highlights below, and for a complete listing of all of the Diverse Elders Coalition presentations at ASA, click here for our AiA17 flyer.

Members of the SAGE team at last year's Aging in America Conference. (photo: Ben de Guzman)

SAGE staff at last year’s Aging in America Conference. (photo: Ben de Guzman)

Monday, March 20th:

  • 12:30pm – 2pm: Innovative Community Responses to LGBTQ Aging – Despite their increased experiences of discrimination, the voices and faces of LGBT older adults are notably absent from post-marriage public dialogue and awareness-building campaigns to ban discriminatory practices in employment, housing and public accommodations. In this session, attendees will learn about local and national models for centering the voices of LGBTQ older adults to identify service and policy gaps and advocacy opportunities.
  • 12:30pm – 2pm: Replicable Models of Collaboration to Serve the Health Needs of LGBT Older AdultsHow are the health issues and concerns of LGBT older adults similar and different from other aging populations? What are the issues and concerns of older adults infected and affected by HIV? How do we break the research, social service and medical services silos to treat the whole person? These questions and more will be explored in this symposium. Learn about collaborations on cutting-edge, person-centered programs and interventions for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender older adults.
  • 2:30 – 3:30pm: Designing and Evaluating Cultural Competency TrainingsThe mark of cultural competency is comfort with ambiguity, but how do you measure something so subjective? Join us for a discussion of the best practices for designing training programs meant to foster cultural competency, as well as strategies for measuring training effectiveness and outcomes. Participants will leave with sample activities, evaluations and advice for creating effective training materials.
  • 2:30 – 3:30pm: LGBT Senior Housing: Critical Questions and Perspectives Safe and affordable housing for LGBT older adults is a critical aspect of well-being in later life. Over the past 10 years, multiple housing developments geared toward LGBT older adults have been developed around the country. In addition, training programs are aimed at addressing the needs of LGBT older adults living in “mainstream” senior housing. This symposium will present critical questions and perspectives on the current state of LGBT senior housing and future directions in the field.

Tuesday, March 21st:

  • 9am – 10:30am: Alzheimer’s Disease and the LGBT Community: Addressing Challenges and Exploring SolutionsJoin SAGE and the Alzheimer’s Association as they present the findings of a joint project focused on uncovering the compounded challenges faced by members of the LGBT community who are living with, or caring for someone with Alzheimer’s or other dementias. In addition, you are invited to be a part of the conversation by providing feedback on the project and helping to identify solutions.
  • 3pm – 4pm: Job Training Programs for Older Adults: Helping Diverse Elders Find Meaningful Employment – Three member organizations of the Diverse Elders Coalition offer job training programs for the older adults they serve. This discussion will share success stories from the federally funded SCSEP program, as well as privately funded job training programs like SAGEWorks, and will highlight the many ways that job training programs are improving lives for elders of color, LGBT elders and American Indian/Alaska Native elders.

Wednesday, March 22nd:

  • 9am – 10:30am: Caregiving in the LGBTQ Community – LGBT older adults are more likely to be single and less likely to have children than their non-LGBT peers, leaving many without traditional sources of care in their later years. At the same time, LGBT people are more likely to become caregivers themselves. For these reasons and others, caregiving in the LGBTQ community has its own unique challenges and considerations. Learn what the differences are, what resources are available, and how you can best support LGBT caregivers in your community.
  • 9am – 10:30am: Utilizing a Community Network to Leverage Knowledge and Resources to Serve LGBT Older Adults – Learn about how the Chicago Network for LGBT Aging has served as a vital hub for providers and community members concerned about the needs of this underserved and growing population. As a volunteer-led organization, the Network has successfully fostered collaborations and networking among a diverse group of stakeholders by leveraging technology and affiliate resources.
  • 1:30pm – 4:30pm: National Forum on LGBT Aging – Join our panel of experts as they layout the LGBT aging landscape and what professionals across the field of aging need to know to build knowledge, skills, and cultural competency to meet the complex needs of LGBT older adults. Interwoven within the discussion will be the recognition of the spirit, drive and resiliency that has propelled this diverse community forward.

Thursday, March 23rd:

  • 9am – 10:30am: Civic Engagement: Helping Diverse Elders Find Their Political Voices In 2016, the Diverse Elders Coalition launched a partnership with Caring Across Generations to amplify the voices of American Indian/Alaska Native elders, Asian American and Pacific Islander elders, Hispanic elders and LGBT elders across the United States. This panel of leaders from diverse aging organizations will discuss the campaign’s strategy and its results and offer guidance for other organizations and individuals looking to amplify the voices of elders in their communities.
  • 9am – 10:30am: Addressing the Social Care Needs of Older LGBT Veterans – Little attention has been paid to addressing the unique needs of older veterans who are sexual and gender minorities. Many who served prior to the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” experienced conflict between LGBT identities and being in the armed forces. This workshop will explore existing data on older LGBT veterans, provide a personal perspective on being an older LGBT veteran, and describe the SAGEVets program aimed at improving the well-being of this population.
  • 1pm – 4pm: 2017 Diversity Summit: Inequality Matters: Focus on Older Adult Homelessness – Building upon the dialogue generated from the successful 2016 Diversity Summit: Inequality Matters, based on the exemplary paper “Inequality Matters” by Prudence L. Carter and Sean F. Reardon of Stanford University, this year’s summit will continue to utilize the four key domains of inequality (socioeconomic, health, political, and sociocultural) to examine more deeply the growing issue of older adult homelessness.
  • 3pm – 4pm: Addressing Gaps in Inclusion of LGBT Populations in State Plans on Aging – On June 21, the ACL proposed program instruction that encourages state plans on aging to include LGBT older adults as a group with “greatest social need.” This session will discuss how current state plans address and assess the needs of LGBT populations through targeted outreach, data collection and special programs. Tools will be introduced that may assist state units on aging in drafting LGBT-inclusive goals and measurable objectives.
  • 3pm – 4pm: National Honor Our LGBT Elders Day: Bring It to Your Community – The LGBT Health Resource Center of Chase Brexton Health Care launched National Honor Our LGBT Elders Day in May 2016 to draw awareness to and appreciation for the lifetime of contributions made by LGBT elders. Learn how to join this national movement and how bringing this and other programming to your agency/community can positively impact the lives of LGBT older adults.

To register for the Aging in America Conference, visit

See you in Chicago!


The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Diverse Elders Coalition.