By Ty Johnson
The American Society on Aging became the first signatory to take the SAGE Commitment to Caring Pledge on April 15 during the opening general session of the 2019 Aging in America Conference in New Orleans.
ASA Board Chair Karyne Jones signed the pledge, which SAGE CEO Michael Adams explained was a formal codification of ASA’s decadeslong dedication to advancing advocacy for all older adults, including those who identify as members of the LGBTQ community.
Adams, ASA Chair-Elect, also announced SAGE’s collaboration with the Human Rights Campaign to create a new assessment tool for determining long-term care conditions of LGBTQ older adults.
The Long-term care Equality Index (LEI) promotes equitable and inclusive care for LGBQT older people in residential long-term care communities by helping residential long-term care communities adopt policies and best practices that provide culturally competent and responsive care to LGBTQ older adults.
According to the website, stigmatization, lack of identity-affirming treatment and experiences of discrimination and violence can lead to avoiding necessary services, chronic stress and increased social isolation among LGBTQ older adults and it’s estimated that 4.7 million LGBTQ older adults may need supportive care and services by the year 2030.
While the LEI tool will launch in 2021, residential long-term care communities can sign on to take the pledge today. Aging, senior services or LGBTQ membership or advocacy organizations can also sign on as an endorsing organization.