2017 Fall News & Views - page 11

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11
Michelle Alcedo:
In our training, we offer opportunities for
participants to learn about best practices for working with
LGBT seniors, their families, and caregivers, including the
following:
Barriers that exist for LGBT elders in accessing housing,
health, and social services
Unequal treatment and discrimination over the course of
their lifetimes as contributing to health disparities
Culture, strengths, needs, and concerns as
contextualized by LGBT history
Better practices for creating greater safety and inclusion
for LGBT older adults in housing, health, and social
programs
CAN
you share a success story that highlights
the positive impact you have seen as a result of the
training you provide?
Tim Johnston:
A man moved into a residential community and
was not thriving. He was listless, not very communicative, and
the staff were concerned for his well-being. The staff would
occasionally find nail polish in his room, and without thinking
anything of it, they threw it away, not realizing that he loved
having his fingernails painted. After the SAGECare training, the
staff realized the importance of his ability to express his gender
in whatever way he felt was most affirming. They helped him
paint his nails and made it clear that he was welcome to be
who he is! The resident immediately improved, became more
active, made friends, and even participated in a pride parade.
All residents deserve person-directed care like this.
Michelle Alcedo:
During a post-training follow-up interview, a
care management supervisor reported that, after the training,
staff immediately began implementing the best practices for
creating safer, inclusive services for LGBT seniors. One practice
recommends asking clients how they self-identify in terms of
their sexual orientation and gender identity in order to gain
a fuller picture of their service needs. When asked by a social
worker, one client in their early seventies responded by saying,
“I’ve never been asked those questions before…” and paused.
The social worker expected the client to have a negative
response. But he continued by saying, “Yes, I
am
gay. And I’m
glad you asked, so that I don’t have to hide an important part
of who I am.”The client was more at ease with the provider and
the provider was able to initiate trust as a result of learning how
to ask inclusive questions in the training.
The LGBT residents living in your communities, their friends and
family, and even your staff, can be afraid to be who they are.
SAGE and Openhouse are two organizations that can help with
training as you seek to fulfill the requirement of the state while
also providing the best care possible to the residents you serve,
with the most caring and supportive staff. You can provide an
environment where everyone feels welcome.
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