From the Philadelphia Gay News

October 26th, 2016

By Paige Cooperstein

It’s been six years since the first LGBT Elder Summit. In that time, a lot has changed in the aging-services landscape, particularly as it relates to increased awareness about LGBT older adults, said David Griffith, director of programs and outreach for the LGBT Elder Initiative.

Griffith said the Elder Summit that comes to Philadelphia from noon-5 p.m. Nov. 3 will reconvene the stakeholders from the 2010 meeting, in addition to others, and discuss what progress has been made and where more training can help.

The summit takes place in the Dorrance H. Hamilton Building at Thomas Jefferson University, 1001 Locust St. It costs $10 to attend, but interested attendees can make other arrangements with the Elder Initiative if the price is a barrier.

Speaking about improvements since the beginning of the decade, Griffith said, “National groups like AARP and the Alzheimer’s Association do more targeted work with LGBT people.

“A lot of agencies recognize the fact that LGBT people have unique needs,” he added.

Griffith said many agency administrators have added LGBT people to their nondiscrimination policies and outreach plans. He would like to see more frontline staff and direct-care workers receive training on LGBT cultural competency because they have the most interaction with clients.

“We do still hear a lot of horror stories of people feeling like they need to go back into the closet when accessing aging services,” Griffith said. “On the community side, there is still a lot of fear: ‘What’s going to happen to me when I have to rely on longterm care?’”

The summit includes lunch and starts with opening remarks from Elder Initiative co-founder Heshie Zinman and board chair Sandra Thompson. State Secretary of Aging Teresa Osborne will deliver the keynote address at 12:45 p.m. A plenary on preparing Pennsylvania providers to deliver culturally competent services runs from 1:15-2:45 p.m.

The event concludes with three breakout workshops starting at 3:15 p.m.: Building LGBT Culturally Competent Aging Services, Inclusive Health-Care Services for LGBT Elders, and Navigating Health Care and Aging Services.

A social celebration runs from 5-7 p.m. in the same location as the summit. Louis Colbert, vice president of operations at the Philadelphia Corporation for Aging, will receive the inaugural Edwin J. Bomba Memorial Award for Advocacy.

Bomba, a founding member of the Elder Initiative, died unexpectedly in February from complications of surgery. He worked on LGBT, HIV/AIDS, senior and disability causes. Bomba also conceived the “Gettin’ On” column that runs monthly in PGN.

For more information or to register for the Elder Summit, visit

Skip to content