It’s hard to believe we’re already six months into the COVID-19 crisis. The events of this year have placed an enormous burden on all of us, but one of the hardest-hit groups of people have been LGBT older people. SAGE New Orleans – NOAGE and SAGE National have been working to help people adapt to these circumstances by offering a broad range of services and programming tailored to this era of social distancing.
New Book Club
The all-new SAGE New Orleans Book Club is led by Tony Leggio. Each month, we read and discuss an LGBT-related book, and members are encouraged to give suggestions for future reads. Our September 2020 selection is Who Killed Buster Sparkle? by John W. Bateman. Christopher Bram, author of Gods and Monsters, wrote that this “fine first novel is not only a smart exploration of race, sexuality, class, and community in the New South, it’s an ingenious murder mystery.” The book was nominated by the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters for their 2020 Fiction Award.
Dr. Catherine Roland leads our weekly Coffee Talk on Zoom. Recent topics have included: “Valuing Friendship,” “Practicing Self-Care,” and “Finding Our Hope.” We definitely miss meeting in person at CrescentCare for this group, but it still remains a great way to meet new friends, share experience and wisdom, and stay connected during the COVID-19 crisis. I hope you will join us soon.
HIV Support Group
Our weekly HIV Support Group is for adults aged 50 and older, and is led by Dr. Andrew Watley. As with Coffee Talk, this group met at CrescentCare’s main campus before COVID-19, but is now being hosted on Zoom. People who are aging with HIV – especially long-term survivors – are at an especially high risk for experiencing social isolation. This weekly group is another great resource for helping people stay connected.
Our Walking Group, led by Kenn Mitchell, meets at 6:30pm each Monday at Audubon Park. We meet by the oval-shaped parking area right off the Magazine Street entrance to the park. This group is for all fitness levels, and you can go at your own pace as we walk along the 1.8-mile paved jogging path. Please note wearing a mask or face covering is required to participate with this group. (If you don’t have one, we have plenty of extras on hand!)
Summit on HIV and Aging
Last November, we presented New Orleans’ first-ever Summit on HIV and Aging at CrescentCare. This year, the summit will be hosted online on the first three Fridays of November. Speakers will address a range of topics, and we will welcome healthcare/service providers, people living and aging with HIV, and activists & advocates.
Diversity and Inclusion Committee
SAGE New Orleans recently created a new committee focused on increasing diversity, equity, and inclusion, both for our clients/constituents and our Board of Directors. Members of the committee include Alexis De Bram (chairperson), Kenn Mitchell, Brenda Laura, Laurie Richmond, Michael Hickerson, Teryl Lynn Foxx, and Catherine Roland. The committee is open to new members, and to suggestions from the LGBT community on how SAGE New Orleans can improve our services and advocacy in the most equitable and effective way.
SAGEConnect is a new initiative from SAGE National that pairs LGBT older people with phone buddies who will call for weekly check-ins. “For SAGE and LGBT pioneers across the country, the pandemic eliminated in-person group interaction. SAGEConnect links LGBT elders with their broader community, reducing isolation and promoting well-being.” If you or someone you know would benefit from SAGEConnect (or if you’d like to volunteer), sign up at sageusa.org/sageconnect, or call the registration line at (929) 484-4160.
SAGECents, another brand-new initiative from SAGE National, is a digital wellness platform created specifically to help LGBT older people increase their financial literacy and resiliency. Check it out at sageusa.org/sagecents.
Cultural Competency Trainings
We continue to offer LGBT cultural competency trainings for healthcare and other service providers. Our most recent training was presented to members of the Louisiana Assisted Living Association (LALA) via Zoom. If you know of a clinic, long-term care facility, or other service provider that would benefit from LGBT cultural competency training, please let us know.
Get in Touch
For more information, or to give feedback about the services and resources mentioned above, email SAGE New Orleans at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call us at (504) 517-2345.