• Karen McPhail



Our Giving Thanks to LGBT Elders SAGE Table Event was hosted yesterday evening in collaboration with Equality Loudoun, the Area Agency on Aging, and the Cascades Senior Center!

I want to thank all who supported, attended, and made this such a wonderful and beneficial event for everyone. I want to also give a special thank you to Governor Ralph Northam and his staff who kindly attended, truly cared, and listened attentively to all!

I was pleased that we could all come together to make new friendships, enjoy a terrific meal, and engage in meaningful conversation!

I am also happy that we could bring to the surface some issues that many are not aware of such as:

- The importance of supporting diverse classroom libraries! “When children cannot find themselves reflected in the books they read…they learn a powerful lesson about how they are devalued in the society of which they are a part” ( I encourage all to read the recent Washington Post article, All Children Should be Welcome at School, which highlights Charlotte McConnell, a member of Equality Loudoun, one of our SAGE Table co-host, and a vocal LGBTQ advocate, who reached out to the Virginia chapter of the ACLU when she heard about backlash to the “diverse classroom libraries” initiative. I commend Charlotte for her efforts and advocacy!

- Medicare does not cover convalescent care. Convalescent care is private pay for assisted living, memory care, personal care homes, etc. Medicare only covers a short period of time for an episode of care for rehab, etc. Many people cannot afford to be properly cared for resulting in a great deal of self neglect and costly, unnecessary hospitalizations.

- Sadly approximately 65 percent of those in nursing homes are primarily supported by medicaid due to running out of funds for care. Many individuals are relocated from assisted living or personal care homes where they have better quality of life to nursing homes with a shared room and less quality due to running out of funds. They often do not have skilled care needs, which are more costly, but this is their only care option due to the current system. If medicaid was not the only last resort option for these individuals and a more cost effective option was created and made available to cover their needs they could have better quality of life, and be in a MUCH lower cost care situation, thus saving significant government health care dollars. We could cut enormous costs to the system if we restructured considering these aspects.

- Inclusive care is not being supported in long term care communities. Virginia Residents Rights for long term care needs to be re-examined and updated to include inclusive aspects and mandate inclusive, nondiscriminatory care. People should be able to live authentically and on their terms in care communities. Many LGBT residents are in hiding as they do not feel that the care community is inclusive or understands their needs. Inclusive cultures are not being created or valued- individuals are being marginalized. It would be helpful for care communities to be required to include training on supporting inclusive care as a part of orientation and annual training. Aging rainbows will provide free in-services on a variety of topics including inclusive care.

I am educating health providers on the Long Term Care Equality Index (LEI) and encourage others to do the same, so that long term care communities can become better trained in supporting inclusive care aspects. The LEI is a joint project of the Human Rights Campaign Foundation and SAGE- promoting Equitable and Inclusive Care for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Older People in Long-Term Care Communities. Providing inclusive care in long term care communities should be a requirement for all. I encourage all long term care providers to visit:

and take the pledge!

We are planning to have Spring and Fall SAGE table events each year! If your organization would like to collaborate with us please reach out! We can all make a difference and help to combat loneliness one person at a time!

We welcome all like-minded individuals and organizations!

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