LGBT elders represent a generation that lived through years of fear, self-hatred, identity confusion, loneliness, isolation and shame. Social prejudice and institutional discrimination have resulted in LGBT people’s fear of being identified. To the extent that invisibility continues today, it remains a barrier to assessing LGBT older adult needs and providing proper support and services.
Studies have shown that 45 percent of LGBT older adults live alone, and are therefore at greater risk of disability, poor health and mental distress. More than half of the participants feel that they lack companionship, feel isolated from others or feel left out.
Services and Advocacy for LGBT Elders (SAGE), the nation’s largest social service and advocacy group for this population, reports one study suggesting that LGBT seniors may be as much as five times less likely to access needed healthcare and social services. A 2001 study by Funders for Lesbian and Gay issues found that 75 percent of LGBT seniors interviewed reported not being open about their sexual orientation to healthcare workers.
Offering an elite level of short term rehabilitation and skilled nursing care since 1969, Central Island Healthcare in Plainview realized that the LGBT community is extremely underserved when looking for an in-patient healthcare experience. Whether seeking short term in-patient physical rehabilitation or long term skilled nursing care, all LGBT guests will benefit from what the LGBT program has to offer.
Working in close concert with the LGBT Network and SAGE Long Island, Central Island Healthcare has developed a comprehensive program to address the needs of the LGBT community in an in-patient healthcare facility. The intent of this program is for all our guests to enjoy a loving environment. Where each guest can be proud of who they are, and never feel ashamed or afraid of revealing such.
In addition to a standard high level of programming, the LGBT program will have additional social programming specifically designed to encourage socialization among our LGBT guests; to avoid isolation; and to share individual experiences and challenges along the way together.
SAGE-LI has invited the guests of the LGBT program to their weekly Mingle Series at their Woodbury location, which is an excellent opportunity for LGBT older adults to meet in a relaxed environment. SAGE-LI has a Friendly Visitor Program designed to reduce isolation and increase socialization for LGBT adults who are staying at Central Island and unable to attend the SAGE services at their community centers.
LGBT guests will be invited to join Central Island Healthcare LGBT Planning Council, where LGBT guests will have the opportunity to discuss and have input in the program planning, and advise Management regarding the ongoing development of the program to ensure that it addresses everyone’s particular needs.
Once any guest is ready to return home after a short-term stay, social workers and discharge planners will work with SAGE-LI to set up each guest with all the available community based LGBT programs and services to ensure continued success and improvement once returning home.
For more information, call the admissions department at 516-433-0600 ext. 230 to schedule a tour of the newly renovated facility or to answer any questions or concerns.
—Submitted by Central Island Healthcare