The first Ohio conference focusing on issues facing lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) older adults will be held Feb. 11 and 12, 2019, at the Sinclair College Conference Center in Dayton. The Miami Valley LGBT Horizons of Aging Summit has been planned by a coalition of community organizations, led by Public Health — Dayton & Montgomery County, United Church Homes’ Ruth Frost Parker Center for Abundant Aging, and Rainbow Elder Care of Greater Dayton.
The event will explore issues LGBT older adults face and their journey for equality and dignity. Through keynote addresses and 18 breakouts sessions, participants will learn to recognize and remove barriers to quality healthcare and other services. These are critical services for older adults and sometimes out of reach for the underserved LGBT community. The Summit will offer two days of education, affirmation and celebration of LGBT people, primarily age 50 and older.
Public Health’s LGBTQ Health Initiatives Project Manager, Jerry Mallicoat, explains why the conference is so important, “For the first time in America we have a growing population of older LGBT people who have lived quite openly when they were younger. As they age and need support services, these individuals often face bias, stigma, and discrimination from healthcare and other service providers that might not care for older LGBT adults in a way that is both culturally-competent and sensitive to their needs. Sometimes, older LGBT people feel the need to go back in the closet to get necessary services, and we need to avoid that happening so they can live affirmed lives as they age.”
The conference will feature a screening of the film Gen Silent and discussions with its producer Stu Maddux. The film chronicles the challenges of older LGBT individuals seeking help and support as they age. Other prominent speakers include Dr. Nii-Quartelai Quartey, national leader of LGBT initiatives for AARP, and Dr. Jason Flatt, from University of California San Francisco, who recently released the first major research on dementia in the LGBT community.
“This event is really about building community,” said Rev. Beth Long-Higgins, executive director of United Church Homes’ Ruth Frost Parker Center for Abundant Aging. “United Church Homes wants to open peoples’ eyes and hearts to the challenges older LGBT adults face, and drive collaborative solutions that nurture their personal and spiritual needs as they age.”
In addition to Public Health, United Church Homes and Rainbow Elder Care, the planning committee includes:
- Local United Church Homes’ Patriot Ridge and Trinity senior living communities
- Area Agency on Aging PSA2
- Wright State University Department of Professional Psychology
- Miami University Dennis L. Carlson Sexuality Education Studies Center, College of Education, Health and Society, and College of Family Science and Social Work.
Local academic professionals and LGBT aging specialists will offer 18 different breakout sessions covering healthcare and social justice issues for LGBT older adults on topics including: culturally competent LGBT care/service, affordable senior living, transgender aging, Social Security issues you need to know, the latest state and national legal landscape, hospice care for LGBT individuals, intergenerational panel discussions and more. Dayton’s own Rubi Girls social justice drag troupe and the Dayton Gay Men’s Chorus also will make appearances at the Summit.
The conference is open to professionals such as social workers and nurses, and also to the LGBT community and college students. People can attend both days for as little as $20 per day including breakfast and lunch. For professionals who want continuing education credits (CEUs), admission price to attend both days is $150, which includes breakfast and lunch, but those who register before January 1, 2019 will receive $25 off full admission price. Single-day registration is $75 per day. Aetna Better Health of Ohio, Equitas Health, PRIZM News and True Media are major sponsors of the event.
About United Church Homes: United Church Homes is one of the nation’s largest providers of senior living services, with more than 74 senior living communities in 14 states and two Native American nations. Its Ruth Frost Parker Center for Abundant Aging brings together experts of various disciplines to collaborate on improving the quality of life for older adults. Trinity Community of Beavercreek, and Patriot Ridge Community of Fairborn, are United Church Homes communities.
About Rainbow Elder Care of Greater Dayton: Rainbow Elder Care of Greater Dayton provides advocacy, educational resources, social support and referral services to the elder LGBT community and allies in the Greater Dayton area in ways that affirmatively address their unique needs and enhance their quality of life. Rainbow Elder Care works collaboratively with other community organizations and business people to ensure older adults receive the services and care they require.