By Marcy Adelman
After the President-elect takes office, we will need to be prepared for an assault on federal programs that benefit elders and people living with disabilities. We can expect the Republicans will attempt to privatize Social Security and overhaul and reduce Medicare and Medicaid. Medicare, unlike Medicaid is not income limited. It is a federally administered and funded health insurance program for people over 65 and for some people with disabilities. Medicaid funding is the major source of public funding for long-term senior services and for assisting low income elders and people with disabilities to stay in their homes and communities.
While it is important to support the national organizations and politicians that are advocating and fighting to keep these programs intact—National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senators Elizabeth Warren, Chuck Schumar and Bernie Sanders—it is also important this holiday season to remember local LGBT senior serving community non-profits that are on the front lines of senior service delivery.
Openhouse is the only San Francisco non-profit exclusively serving the LGBT senior community. Openhouse provides health and wellness programs, services to reduce isolation, monthly lunches, educational classes, housing, housing counseling, resource and community events and LGBT senior cultural competency training. This year, Openhouse will have completed phase one of creating a hub of affordable LGBT affirming senior housing and services. When completed, there will be 119 apartments, Openhouse service space and 8000 square feet of activity space for LGBT elders citywide.
Lavender Seniors of the East Bay provides support groups, community engagement programs, advocacy, education seminars, and monthly lunches in partnership with Life Eldercare.
The LGBT Center’s Senior Service Department offers a wide range of community building programs and activities, health and wellness services. It just recently developed an intergenerational affordable housing project.
The San Diego LGBT Community Center’s Senior Services offers workshops, classes, monthly community meals and activities. Senior Services provides referrals to health care and social services for LGBT adults over the age of 50.
The Sacramento LGBT Community Center serves a 9-county area with social, arts, and support programs for youth, seniors, veterans, and the community at large. The center provides social opportunities and elder support groups.
With the recent changes in Washington and inevitable attempts at cutting funding, these LGBT senior serving programs will need your help more than ever. Support your local senior serving non-profit with a generous year end gift to ensure that they can continue to advocate, protect and serve their communities.
Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!
Marcy Adelman, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist in private practice, is co-founder of the non-profit organization Openhouse. She is also a leading advocate and educator in LGBT affirming dementia care and a member of the Advisory Council to the Aging and Adult Services Commission.