The first report of its kind documents the unique struggles of LGBT Hispanic seniors and presents key recommendations for policy makers and health care providers
Washington, D.C. – The National Hispanic Council on Aging (NHCOA) – the leading national organization working to improve the lives of Hispanic older adults, their families, and caregivers – released the report of its national study on the status of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Hispanic older adults during a press conference earlier today at the SAGE Senior Center in New York, NY. The study, entitled In Their Own Words: a Needs Assessment of Hispanic LGBT Older Adults, was conducted by NHCOA in collaboration with Services & Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE), with financial support from the Arcus Foundation. NHCOA and SAGE are founding members of the Diverse Elders Coalition, which represents millions of diverse older people across the country.
“The rapid aging of the population presents our country with the opportunity to embrace diversity as it appears at all stages of life,” said Dr. Yanira Cruz, NHCOA President and CEO. “Our hope with the In Their Own Words: A Needs Assessment of Hispanic LGBT Older Adults report is that we can be an active part of the necessary paradigm shift that needs to take place so that we can achieve a stronger, golden America for all, including LGBT Hispanic older adults.”
In Their Own Words: A Needs Assessment of Hispanic LGBT Older Adults is a result of a qualitative needs assessment that was conducted in order to better understand the experiences of aging, and the socio-economic and health challenges facing the LGBT Hispanic older adult community. Specifically, the research focused on understanding LGBT Hispanic older adults’ perceptions of the aging experience; identifying their unique health and socio-economic challenges; exploring the culturally appropriate strategies to better serve this population; and determining gaps in knowledge requiring further research.
“SAGE is proud to collaborate with our fellow Diverse Elders Coalition member, NHCOA, on this research project to better understand the challenges faced by LGBT Hispanic older adults, as well as their personal experiences,” expressed Michael Adams, SAGE Executive Director. “SAGE Harlem is only one of two known programs in the country specifically serving LGBT older Latinos, which represent about 15% of the elders we currently serve. Therefore, we are excited to see how this report will help inform culturally appropriate strategies that better serve LGBT Latino older adults in New York and throughout the country.”
Among the recommendations highlighted in the report is a widespread need for cultural and linguistic competence training that acknowledge patient’s diverse identities; education and benefits counseling; and more research is needed to develop effective programming to meet the needs of this population. Roz Lee, Senior Program Officer for the Arcus Foundation, stressed the need for increased investigation and research: “Research is a tool in the toolbox for social advocacy, and we need to use it in the right way.”
The study and report are particularly important, as they are the first to focus exclusively on LGBT Hispanic older adults and the particular concerns that they face while aging. NHCOA will use the findings of this report to improve the lives of LGBT Hispanic older adults by making key recommendations to legislators and health care providers on their behalf.
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