by Lois A. Bowers. This article originally appeared on McKnight’s Senior Living.
It was mid-April when I first told you about the launch of a new nationwide tool by elder advocacy group SAGE and the Human Rights Campaign Foundation to assess how well independent living, assisted living, memory care and continuing care retirement communities, as well as skilled nursing and hospice facilities, are treating residents who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer.
About eight months later, the voluntary Long-Term Care Equality Index, or LEI, now has 47 national, statewide, regional and local aging, senior services or LGBTQ membership or advocacy organizations that have endorsed the index and are encouraging residential long-term care facilities to take the Commitment to Caring Pledge. Among the endorsing organizations are LeadingAge, the American College of Health Care Administrators, the National Association of Activity Professionals and Leading Age Maine & New Hampshire. (Communities and their owners and operators are invited to take the pledge to show their intention to adopt LGBTQ-inclusive policies and practices, and industry organizations are invited to endorse the effort.)
The HRC and SAGE now have produced a video (watch below) to help kick off the “self-assessment” phase of the LEI, wherein senior living communities and skilled nursing facilities will start examining and proving how well their intentions are translating into action.
The campaign comes as experts predict that as many as 4.7 million LGBTQ elders will be seeking long-term services and supports by 2030.
You may recall that more than 60% of those responding to a 2018 national survey of LGBTQ older adults by AARP said they were concerned about how they would be treated in a long-term care setting. Now is the time to allay those fears and leave no doubt in the minds of current and prospective residents that they will be treated well.
Lois has spent almost her entire career covering healthcare, the business of healthcare and related topics via journalism or public relations. She holds a master’s degree in journalism and mass communication from Kent State University (media management) and is the recipient of the Jesse H. Neal National Business Journalism Award as well as other honors.
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Diverse Elders Coalition.