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9 posts from September 2013

September 27, 2013

Senate Special Committee on Aging Marks National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day

Aaron_taxIn recognition of National Gay Men's HIV Awareness Day, SAGE's Director of Federal Relations, Aaron Tax, gives his recap of SAGE's involvment in National HIV/AIDS & Aging Awareness Day in Washington, D.C.

On September 18, 2013, the Senate Special Committee on Aging—along with SAGE and our partners ACRIA, GMHC, HRC, and NHCOA—helped bring a series of events to Capitol Hill to mark National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day.  From a morning briefing, to a hearing in the afternoon, there were a number of strong and compelling voices who spoke of the challenges the aging network, medical field, and research community face with the graying of AIDS. 

At the briefing, Lisa Fitzpatrick, MD, Medical Director, Infectious Diseases Care Center, United Medical Center, spoke of the importance of making HIV testing as routine as testing for diabetes, high cholesterol, and other issues that disproportionately impact older adults; her view was echoed by other experts attending the briefing. Including HIV in the normal battery of tests would be an important step toward lessening the stigma surrounding HIV (and HIV testing), and it would increase the likelihood that individuals would be tested regardless of actual or perceived risk category.  (Currently, HIV testing is recommended for people only up to age 64.

Dr. Henry Pacheco, Director of Medicine and Public Health for NHCOA, added the voice of one of our Diverse Elders Coalition partners.  Dr. Pacheco explained that the HIV/AIDS rate for those Latinos who are 50-plus in the United States is five times higher than their non-Hispanic white counterparts.  He talked about how the population that NHCOA serves has not been reached or targeted in outreach efforts for a variety of reasons, including the usual misconception that older adults don’t use drugs and don’t have sex, but also, cultural, linguistic, and generational barriers.  These barriers can be overcome, he said, by efforts tailored to the Hispanic community, including the use of of “pase la voz,” word-of-mouth, to spread awareness, and “charlas,” informal educational sessions, specifically designed to reach Hispanic older adults.

1senateLater in the day, at the hearing, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) challenged the administration on whether it is properly focusing its HIV resources on prevention, treatment, and research on older adults.  And Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) focused on the more human impacts of the HIV/AIDS crisis, recalling her days as a young public official in Wisconsin, when men, she said, became afflicted with AIDS in the big cities, but were coming home to Wisconsin to die, often at young ages. Given the fact that by 2015, half of the people who are HIV positive will be over 50, we’ve certainly made progress since that time.  The day’s briefing and hearing, however, showed there is still much to be done as we face new challenges brought on by the intersection of HIV and aging.

You can view the hearing at the Special Committee on Aging’s site. (Please scroll to the 22:00 minute mark, the start of the hearing.)

For more information on HIV & Aging, download this fact sheet, handed out at the briefing and hearing.

September 26, 2013

SAGE and Pfizer’s 2013 LGBT Aging Discussion Series

Hhsbadge As part of our Affordable Care Act (ACA) knowledge series, we will be providing information throughout the month of September on the ACA. Stay tuned weekly for videos, fact sheets and informational blog posts that will get you ready for the October 1 enrollment! 

In 2013, SAGE and Pfizer cohosted a series of three panel discussions on aging issues and LGBT older adults. The second panel on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is available to view now. SAGE and Pfizer were joined by representatives from the Medicare Rights Center and Callen-Lorde Community Health Center for an overview of the ACA, what its intended goals are, and what that means for LGBT older people. The accompanying guide, which you can preview below in Issuu reader or download as a PowerPoint presentation here, is designed to encourage group discussion, and contains embedded videos of the panel, discussion questions, and suggested procedures for organizing a viewing. To view the videos only, see our YouTube playlist.

You can find the first panel on age-friendly communities in SAGE’s Resources section. The third panel on HIV and aging will be released later this fall.  

September 23, 2013

SAGE Celebrates National Employ Older Workers Week

Today's blog post was written by SAGEWorks  Program Manager, Michele D'Amato. To learn more about SAGEWorks and sign-up for information, click here.

This week the U. S. Department of Labor recognizes the contributions of workers 55 years and older through National Employ Older Workers WeekSAGEWorks, a national employment support program for LGBT people 40 and over, has been providing such recognition for years in New York City and in five affiliates across the country. 

Sageworks1The new economy has brought new challenges for older workers.  The length of time to find a job for people 55-64 years old is 46 weeks, compared to 20 weeks for 16-24 year olds.  There is also a lower re-employment rate for the mature worker (47%) compared to younger workers (62%).  This can be attributed partly to the unfounded belief that older workers do not embrace technology, are overqualified and demand higher salaries.  LGBT people have fought discrimination all their lives.  We cannot allow ageism to hold us back from succeeding in the workplace. 

Last year we found out through a telephone survey conducted by Adecco, a large human resources consulting firm, that hiring managers are three times more likely to hire a mature worker.  This is what the report identified as common characteristics of older workers: reliable, professional, superior writing skills, good listeners, positive work ethic, problem solvers, strong leaders and great time managers.  These are the great qualities we focus on in SAGEWorks, along with providing hands-on workshops, technology training and job-hunting skills that take place in an LGBT age-friendly environment. 

Most of all, we let the participants know they are not alone and that there is a place where LGBT people 40 and over can find a peer network that can help them navigate today’s tough employment market.  We will be celebrating older workers long past this week and invite anyone who is struggling to find employment to join our program.  

September 19, 2013

The Road Ahead: SAGE’s New Strategic Plan

Michael-AdamsToday's blog post is written by SAGE Executive Director, Michael Adams.

I am proud to introduce SAGE’s new strategic plan, The Road Ahead.

As our prior 5-year plan wound down, SAGE celebrated many accomplishments, such as the successful opening of The SAGE Center, the first publicly-funded LGBT senior center; raising the profile of LGBT aging issues at the federal policy level; vastly expanding our nationwide network of affiliates; and launching the country’s first and only LGBT aging resource center. We also explored what still needs to be done, and came to the inescapable conclusion that while we have accomplished a great deal in recent years to improve the quality of life for LGBT older people, much remains to be done.

SAGE_STRATEGIC-PLAN_Final2-1To build on the exciting advances made over the past 5 years and address the vast challenges that remain, this spring SAGE’s Board of Directors adopted a visionary Strategic Framework to guide the next phase of the organization’s work.  Over the next 3 years, SAGE intends to deepen its federal policy work and its affiliate reach to achieve true national impact for the LGBT aging field.  SAGE’s efforts will continually emphasize inclusion of all LGBT older adults—regardless of where they live, and especially for those LGBT elders who have been most marginalized and are most in need of support. We will deepen our commitment to model service provision for LGBT older adults by adapting our services so that they are responsive to health and long-term care trends, evaluating and pinpointing which services are most effective, and using the resulting data to help replicate those services through our affiliate network. As the country’s largest repository of expertise on LGBT aging, SAGE will focus on knowledge-sharing by bolstering our one-of-a-kind National Resource Center on LGBT Aging to continue training aging providers around the country and by providing LGBT older people with the information they need to plan for the future. And having catalyzed a fast-growing LGBT aging field in recent years, SAGE will now focus on sustaining that growth by encouraging and supporting the work of our partners, leveraging strategic alliances, harnessing trends in health care and other sectors to build self-supporting LGBT aging work, and strengthening SAGE’s own infrastructure and support. 

It’s 2013 and we at SAGE are determined to once again change the game for LGBT older adults across the country.  Thank you for your ongoing support as we ramp up our work to turn our Plan into reality.

To read The Road Ahead in your browser, use the Issuu Reader below.

September 18, 2013

Affordable Care Act: A Big Help to HIV+ Older Adults

HhsbadgeIn honor of National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day, SAGE is highlighting the importance of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and HIV+ older adults. We will be providing information throughout the month of September on the ACA. Stay tuned weekly for videos, fact sheets and informational blog posts that will get you ready for the October 1 enrollment! 

There are only 13 days left until open enrollment begins under the Affordable Care Act’s (“ACA’s”) Health Insurance Marketplace. Starting October 1st individuals can enroll in insurance plans for coverage beginning on January 1, 2014. The Marketplace brings a range of options to HIV+ people for high quality insurance at lower costs.

How the Healthcare Marketplace Works


Continue reading "Affordable Care Act: A Big Help to HIV+ Older Adults" »

September 17, 2013

SAGE Mourns Ever Orozco, 69-Year-Old Man Killed in Anti-LGBT Attack in Jackson Heights, NY

Sage_logo_eblastServices and Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE) expressed sadness and outrage that Ever Orozco, a 69-year-old man, has died following an alleged anti-LGBT attack in Jackson Heights, NY. (Read the news report here.) The attacker, 22-year-old Steven Torres, reportedly told police that he attacked Orozco because he believed the older man was gay. This is the third reported instance of an anti-LGBT homicide in New York City this year, and the first of an older person. Torres has been charged with murder as a hate crime, and is also being charged in another anti-LGBT attack against a 47-year-old man that occurred last week.

Michael Adams, Executive Director of SAGE, said, “I am outraged and heartbroken about the murder of Ever Orozco. Any instance of violence motivated by hatred against LGBT people is shameful, and even more so when directed at the most vulnerable members of our community. No one who is LGBT, including our elders, should live in fear of being attacked or losing their life simply for being who they are.”

SAGE offers community, support and safe spaces for LGBT older New Yorkers through The SAGE Center; call 212-741-2247 for more information. SAGE is a proud community partner of the New York City Anti-Violence Project (AVP), which is organizing a Community Safety Night on Friday, September 20, 2013 in Jackson Heights, NY.  Visit facebook.com/sageusa for more information.

In addition, AVP offers a free and confidential 24-hour bilingual (English/Spanish) hotline at 212-714-1141, where callers can report any instances of violence they have witnessed, and speak with a trained counselor for support. Violence can also be reported anonymously online at avp.org/get-help/report-violence.


September 10, 2013

Five Reasons October 1 Matters to Older People of Color

HhsbadgeSAGE will be providing information throughout the month of September on the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Stay tuned weekly for videos, fact sheets and informational blog posts that will get you ready for the October 1 enrollment! 

Beginning January 1, 2014, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires everyone to have health insurance or pay a financial penalty. To help individuals and their families find plans that fit their needs and budgets, states will run Health Insurance Marketplaces. The new Health Insurance Marketplace (“the Marketplace”) open enrollment period begins Oct. 1, 2013 and ends March 31, 2014.

1837119 (1)The Diverse Elders Coalition (DEC) understands that enrolling older people and their families in health coverage plans is a key part of improving the health of our nation. The DEC represents some of our most vulnerable older adults: older people of color and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) older people, many of whom begin dealing with the challenges of aging as early as their 50s. The Marketplace will impact uninsured or underinsured older people who are in the 50-64 age range differently than those who are 65 or older, many of whom are already covered by Medicare. Moreover, many elders age 65+ are confused on how the Marketplace and broader ACA implementation will affect them. Thus, there exists a need to educate them about new ACA benefits, such as expansion of Medicare benefits, lower-cost prescription drugs and free preventive services. And for uninsured older people 50-64 years old, they will need to actively interact with their Marketplace to find a health insurance plan that fits their needs.

This week, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is highlighting how the Marketplace affects communities of color and, as part of these efforts, asked that the DEC describe how the marketplace will impact older people of color, a percentage of whom are LGBT. Here are five reasons:

  1. The Health Insurance Marketplace offers affordable insurance to older people of color who face high poverty rates and are more likely to be uninsured than their peers—conditions that worsen with age. People of color are more likely to be poor and without health insurance coverage—they make up more than half of America’s uninsured. This demographic includes African Americans, Hispanics, African Americans, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, and American Indians and Alaska Natives. In addition, the number of uninsured older adults age 50-64 continues to rise—from 3.7 million in 2000 to 8.9 million in 2010. These high rates of uninsured people are due in part to a history of low earnings, discrimination in health care practices and high or unaffordable premiums for health insurance for many people of color. The Marketplace will address these challenges by offering affordable coverage and financial assistance to those with lower incomes.
  2. The Health Insurance Marketplace will help to ensure that older people of color no longer feel the need to postpone critical health care services. According to the Center for American Progress, being uninsured often means postponing necessary care—and chronically ill, uninsured patients are four to six times more likely than sick patients with insurance to have problems accessing care. That’s why people of color in the U.S. are diagnosed at more advanced disease stages, and once diagnosed, they receive poorer care. The Marketplace will allow older people of color to manage their health more proactively, and it will also cut high out-of-pocket costs associated with emergency room visits when a crisis hits.
  3. The Health Insurance Marketplace can address the health disparities widely affecting older people of color, many of whom are LGBT. Research shows that people of color, across the age span, face significant disparities in physical and mental health. Additionally, many people of color delay care because of potential medical costs and out of fear of discrimination or cultural incompetence from medical providers. These issues are especially true for LGBT people of color who face challenges on multiple aspects of their identities. A recent research report highlighted the many ways in which policy makers and professionals can better support LGBT older people of color across areas related to health equity and health care access. It can start with making insurance more affordable and health care more prevalent.
  4. The Health Insurance Marketplace ensures that no application for health insurance is rejected due to preexisting medical conditions, such as HIV, which disproportionately affects communities of color and older people. For example, research project that within the next few years, one in two people with HIV in this country will be age 50 or older. The HIV/AIDS epidemic that has also adversely impacted LGBT people, many of whom are people of color. Prior to the ACA most states allowed health insurers to charge higher premiums because of these conditions. Insurers who sell coverage in the Marketplace will be required to accept all applicants, including those with preexisting medical conditions.
  5. The Health Insurance Marketplace supports the entire family unit, including families of choice, while honoring the role that elders play in our communities. The DEC knows well that older adults play an important role in our communities and in our families, broadly defined to include blood relatives, spouses and partners, caregivers and friends. The 2000 U.S. Census shows that 4.5 million children are living in grandparent-headed homes, many of whom are between 55 and 64. Thus, when the Marketplace supports the health and health care options of an older person of color, it also supports the lives of the many people in his/her family unit and broader ecosystem.
This entry was previously posted on August 22, 2013 on the Diverse Elders Coalition blog. Read the original here.
September 5, 2013

Health Insurance Marketplace Opens October 1


SAGE will be providing information throughout the month of September on the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Stay tuned weekly for videos, fact sheets and informational blog posts that will get you ready for the October 1 enrollment!

The Affordable Care Act, which will go into full effect on January 1, 2014, will greatly expand the health care benefits available to Americans who have no health coverage, as well as those who are underinsured. This is a boon to the millions of older Americans who are currently uninsured—in 2010, 8.9 million Americans age 50-64 had no health coverage, and this number continues to rise.

Beginning October 1, if you are under 65 and need insurance, you can shop for a plan that meets your needs in the new Health Insurance Marketplace. This video shows you how easy it is to get started.

The open enrollment period is from October 1, 2013 to March 31, 2014—but coverage will start as early as January 1, 2014, so sign up early! In the coming weeks, SAGE will post more information on the Health Insurance Marketplace, what benefits are available, and how to enroll. In addition, there are a number of ways you can get help or more information on the Marketplace and whether you are eligible for lower health premiums. Visit healthcare.gov to get quick answers, chat live online with a representative, or find local in-person assistance. Or call 1-800-318-2596—help is available 24/7 in 150 languages.


September 3, 2013

Congrats to Diana Nyad on Her Epic Swim

SAGE congratulates Diana Nyad on completing her historic swim from Cuba to Florida! Not only is she role model for the LGBT community, but her positive attitude on aging is a joy to watch.

Listen to Diana talk about how at 64 she is at "the prime of her life." A great message to us all!