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HRC Applauds Creation of LGBT Elders Resource Center at Department of Health and Human Services

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced yesterday plans to establish a national resource center to help communities support and serve their lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) elders. Through its Administration on Aging, HHS will award a single resource grant in the amount of $250,000 annually, depending on the availability of funds. According to HHS, the center will provide resources to LGBT organizations, as well assisting mainstream aging services providers in developing cultural competence in serving LGBT elders.

Experts estimate that as many as 1.5 to 4 million LGBT individuals are age 60 and older. Agencies that provide services to older individuals may be unfamiliar or uncomfortable with the needs of this group of individuals. The Resource Center for LGBT Elders will provide information, assistance and resources for both LGBT organizations and mainstream aging services providers at the state and community level to assist them in the development and provision of culturally sensitive supports and services. The LGBT Center will also be available to educate the LGBT community about the importance of planning ahead for future long term care needs.

The LBGT Resource Center will help community-based organizations understand the unique needs and concerns of older LGBT individuals and assist them in implementing programs for local service providers, including providing help to LGBT caregivers who are providing care for an older partner with health or other challenges.

“Despite the many advances our community has seen, LGBT elders face significant discrimination from senior care providers, including in places where we are most vulnerable, such as assisted living facilities and end-of-life care,” said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. “As more and more openly LGBT people reach their later years, it is incredibly important to ensure that we are treated with dignity, respect and fairness. We applaud HHS for taking this important step on behalf of older LGBT Americans.”