It’s been a long time coming, but a new resource guide for LGBT older adults in New Orleans has just been published on the NOAGE website (www.noagenola.org/resource-guide). We will soon have printed copies available as well.
As part of their service-learning requirements with the Tulane University Center for Public Service, students in Dr. Krystal Cleary’s class volunteered hours of their time to help NOAGE build this resource guide. One of our interns, Eric Strain, also spent a great deal of time working on it.
So why did we spend so much time on this? Many of our elders have experienced a long history of mistreatment by healthcare and other service providers. For that reason, they are more likely to hide their sexual orientation or gender identity than their younger counterparts. By identifying providers who are LGBT-friendly, NOAGE is better equipped to provide referrals for older adults who are afraid of being turned away or treated poorly.
As part of the preparation for this resource guide, student volunteers called dozens of local organizations, healthcare professionals, and other service providers, and asked them if a) they are LGBT-friendly, b) they have had training in LGBT cultural competence, and c) they are interested in getting such a training for their staff.
While most people gave positive and welcoming responses, there were some exceptions. One particular phone receptionist at a local hospital who answered the phone gave a resounding “NO!” when asked if the facility was LGBT-friendly. A student volunteer wrote of their experience: “In class we read about the intersection of sexuality and age and how healthcare services are a huge problem for the older LGBT community. Calling healthcare centers…that had no idea if they were LGBT-friendly, or worse, just hung up on me, allowed me to witness what we read about.” Obviously, businesses and organizations who gave negative responses are not included in our resource guide.
Student volunteers heard those negative responses from providers so that local LGBT older adults won’t have to. It was a powerful experience for many of the students. One of them wrote: “Making these phone calls gave me a glimpse at the discrimination faced by LGBT people, and I am pleased that I could make a small contribution to help them feel safe.”
Many of the healthcare and service providers contacted by students expressed interest in getting LGBT cultural competence training, which was provided to them by NOAGE staff and volunteers. To date, we have trained several hundred local professionals in healthcare and related fields. If you know of any local healthcare organizations, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, etc. that would benefit from such a training, please have them contact us.
I’m also a certified SAGECare Trainer. Healthcare providers and other businesses or organizations who receive SAGECare training qualify for national credentialing through SAGE. To learn more about SAGECare, visit https://sageusa.care.
Speaking of our trainings, NOAGE and AARP will be co-presenting one entitled “Improving Care for LGBT Older Adults” at Touro Infirmary on Saturday, September 7. It is intended for healthcare professionals. This program was approved for 4.0 general contact hours of continuing education credit (CEUs) by the National Association of Social Workers – Louisiana Chapter, as authorized by the Louisiana State Board of Social Work Examiners. If you are a healthcare professional, and would like to register for this training, visit https://lgbtcaretraining.eventbrite.com.
Contents of the NOAGE Resource Guide include: Adult Day Programs, Alzheimer’s/Dementia Resources, Caregiver Resources, Churches/Places of Worship, Companions/Sitters, Dental Resources, Disability Resources, Elder Abuse Resources, Emergency Preparedness, Energy Assistance, Food Resources, HIV/AIDS Resources, Hearing Services, Hospitals, Insurance/Medicare/Medicaid, LGBT-Specific Resources, Long-term Care Facilities (Nursing Homes and Assisted Living), Mental Health Clinics, Programs, and Therapists, Physical and Occupational Therapy, Resources for Other Specific Illnesses, Senior Living and Housing Resources, Transportation, Veterans Resources, and more.
Take a moment to check it out at www.noagenola.org/resource-guide. If you notice anything missing, or have any suggestions for the resource guide, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
NOAGE Potluck at St. Anna’s
NOAGE’s Potlucks at St. Anna’s Episcopal Church (1313 Esplanade Ave.) have proven to be our most popular recurring event. The next one will be on Tuesday, August 27, from 6:30-8:30PM. It’s a great opportunity to eat, network, & make new friends, and adults of all ages are welcome. If you are able, please bring a dish (main dishes, meats, sides, soups, salads or vegan/vegetarian dishes, desserts, and beverages). Please also consider bringing non-perishable food items for St. Anna’s Food Pantry.
The potluck is in the back of the Parish House (the building to the right of the church itself, located at the corner of Esplanade Ave. and Marais St.) There is limited parking and an accessible ramp on the Marais Street side of the building. Be sure to enter from the back door, right by the parking lot, since the front door stays locked at all times. I hope to see you there!