In surveys, up to 80% of LGBT older adults express fear of discrimination and possible abuse in the Long-Term Care (LTC) system. Care providers are not always aware of the unique health and social issues facing LGBT people. In some cases, LGBT older adults are not aware of specific rights and protections to which consumers of long-term care are entitled.

“Staying Out in Long-Term Care” was presented on Saturday, March 22, 2014, at the United Way Building on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia, PA. At “Staying Out,” which drew an audience of 24 consumers and service providers, an attorney/LTC ombudsman discussed the rights that all people have in LTC environments. A panel discussion followed, focusing on the best practices and standards of care that people should expect in LTC. The panel included a nursing home administrator, a social worker and two community members who have had experience as residents in LTC settings.

 Mark Davis discussed an individual's rights in long-term care settings

Mark Davis discussed an individual’s
rights in long-term care settings

About the program, one attendee wrote, “This has given me great hope for the future. I was prepared to commit suicide at the critical point. Now I shall reconsider.” Another attendee voice-mailed the following message: “I attended the Elder Initiative’s program at the United Way on Saturday and just wanted to call and say that it was outstanding and so well organized, informative and engaging. I have spoken with a friend of mine who also attended and . . . we both agreed that it was an outstanding program. So I just wanted to call and compliment you on your efforts.”

Presenters

Mark Davis is a long-term care ombudsman with CARIE and an attorney with the Law Office of Michael S. Connor, Esq. L.L.C., a Lafayette Hill, PA firm that provides elder law, estate planning and administration services to seniors.

April Murdock was an Airbrush artist for 33 years and also did crisis intervention / suicide prevention during the 80s & 90s. April has been active with many community events and organizations including the Philadelphia Trans Health Conference, William Way Community Center and the Philadelphia police commissioner’s LGBT Liaison Committee. April is a stroke survivor and the survivor of physical violence.

Jamie Powers is a social worker for the University of Pennsylvania’s Living Independently for Elders (LIFE) program in West Philadelphia. She has focused her work on gerontology, working with older adults who suffer from complex physical and mental health disorders.

Joel Sartorius was once facilitator for MorningsOUT, a social and information sharing group for gay men over 50. He and his partner, Bob, have been together thirty-six years. In his professional career Joel was a children’s and then a rare book librarian at the Free Library of Philadelphia.

Doug Venzie most recently served as Executive Director and Administrator for Lutheran Care at Moorestown, NJ, a 265 resident, long-term care and assisted living community. Doug’s professional experiences include over 25 years as an administrator in senior and long-term care communities.

Collaborators and Sponsors

This program was part of a collaborative effort of the LGBTEI; Center for Advocacy for the Rights and Interests of the Elderly (CARIE); Philadelphia Long-Term Ombudsman Program; and the United Way of Greater Philadelphia & Southern New Jersey.

The program was made possible through the support of Delaware Valley Legacy Fund and Philadelphia Gay News.

Technical support courtesy of Peter Lien.

RESOURCES