Gay & Lesbian Elder Housing Takes A Stand on Elders Freedom of Choice
By Mark Supper-As Published in Frontiers Magazine - Feb 9, 2011 - Vol. 29/ No 21
Thursday, February 17, 2011
A lot can be said about aging. Some see it as liberating while others view the process with fear. For many elders, the prospect of living on a small Social Security stipend, coupled with rising costs, decreased mobility, and limited options put our community in peril. Add to that the lack of familial support and isolation that goes hand in hand with also being an LGBT or HIV/AIDS senior and you get an idea of what some “Golden Years” might bring.
Gay & Lesbian Elder Housing, is the non-profit developer of Triangle Square apartment complex offers real solutions to some of the host of issues faced by seniors. Affordable homes, onsite services and a community environment allow seniors to remain in a safe place to call home, with the freedom to choose and remain independent for as long as possible. GLEH is thereby changing and advancing the belief that aging does not automatically mean that a senior’s mental abilities become limited nor that they cannot think, do and live their lives as they choose.
(For so many LGBT seniors) the lack of familial support and isolation…goes hand in hand with also being an LGBT or HIV/AIDS senior…
GLEH allows for this sense of respect and believes this should be guaranteed to both LGBT elders and non-LGBT elders, yet the very notion of freedom, choice and independence are often systematically eliminated. The very residents of Triangle Square and the many LGBT elders throughout the country have lead the fight to attain rights and to pave the way for securing new ones. These soldiers of cause have been at the forefront of our modern day LGBT Movement and have allowed us to enjoy a better life experience for all individuals who are LGBT and/or living with HIV/AIDS.
It is to them who we owe everything yet are being repaid with extremely limited and fixed incomes, disproportionate poverty levels and a lack of affordable housing compared to the larger community of seniors and are often forced back into the closet to maintain their homes or to feel safe to access services that fail to consider and much less meet their unique needs. As the non-profit developer of Triangle Square Apartments, GLEH is taking a stand to remedy this and is bridging this gap in services by offering an independent living environment that is respectful of freedom, choice, privacy and individuality. Together with a rainbow of on-site services, support, care and an opportunity to be connected and a part of their own community.
“Old Age Is No Place For Sissies”…Bette Davis
GLEH will lead the way of this change and offer real and practical solutions to those issues faced by our LGBT seniors. Our goal has always been the inclusive protection of the rights of all our residents to self-determination based in compliance with all fair housing laws, the making of their own decisions, and the freedom to live independently while providing on site LGBT social services with dignity and respect for each individual’s life style and choices. By taking a stand on creating freedom of choice for our seniors, we are also continuing the fight to maintain the future welfare and safety of our own community as we age.
“It is to them (our LGBT elders) who we owe everything…”
GLEH is proud to be the first organization in the country to address the issues faced by elders with affordable housing for low-income seniors. Triangle Square is a place where residents rent a unit of their own free will with 35 units set aside for those living with HIV/AIDS and/or who might have been, or who are at-risk of homelessness.
In addition to housing, GLEH Comprehensive Housing Care Project for both residents and non-residents, LGBT and non-LGBT seniors focuses on three core areas - Housing Retention, Aging in Place, and Health & Wellness along with one on one case management, an on-site nutrition center, long-term care planning, The Buddy System, the Neighbor to Neighbor program and a host of social and recreational activities. In the spirit of offering freedom of choice, participation is optional and is not a requirement of residency. GLEH staff and programs actively encourage residents to engage in programs, counseling and make services available to them that are beneficial to their wellbeing. As an independent living complex, the participation in activities as well as the decision to indulge in solitary pursuits is at the discretion of each resident and we maintain those freedoms for our senior community. To allow all LGBT elders to age in place, live according to personal beliefs and choose their family of choice is paramount to Gay & Lesbian Elder Housing and the concept of Triangle Square. Together we can change the misconception surrounding aging.
Our goal has always been the inclusive protection of the rights of all our residents to self-determination…
Aging is inevitable; in fact many residents tell us that “it beats the alternative.” GLEH remains committed to supporting and caring for our LGBT elders and to reciprocate the gifts they pioneered and gave to so many of us……..The right to be who we are and the freedom to enjoy and live out our lives however we CHOOSE and the way WE DESERVE.
STAY TUNED: GLEH WILL BE HOSTING A PUBLIC FORUM ON LGBT AGING ISSUES
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