The 8th Annual LGBT Elders in an Ever Changing World Conference, held at Salem State University on March 15, brought together social workers, elder care providers, public policy makers, educators, researchers, and community members. The nearly 200 attendees – a record for the conference – gathered to learn and discuss interdisciplinary best practices and policies for working with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender older adults and caregivers.
LGBT Elders in an Ever Changing World is a collaborative effort of the LGBT Aging Project, a program of Fenway Health; North Shore Elder Services and the Over the Rainbow LGBT Coalition; Salem State University School of Social Work; Care Dimensions; and AARP Massachusetts.
The day featured speakers from across health care, research, and social services, including Lisa Krinsky, Director of the LGBT Aging Project, Bob Linscott, Assistant Director of the LGBT Aging Project, and Sean Cahill, Director of Health Policy Research at The Fenway Institute. Karen Fredriksen-Goldsen, Professor and Director of Healthy Generations at the Hartford Center of Excellence at the University of Washington, delivered a spirited keynote on the future of LGBTQ aging.
CEUs were offered during the conference for social workers, certified case managers, and nurses.
“I love watching the growth of this ‘little conference by the sea’ that has attracted presenters from India, Australia, Canada, and Scotland,” Linscott said. “This year we hosted Karen Fredriksen Goldsen, the country’s leading researcher in LGBT aging as our keynote speaker, and everyone was inspired by her work. It just keeps getting better and better. You can really see this sense of community during the meal sessions, when participants really rejoice in the ability to reconnect with friends and colleagues engaged in this important work.”
Conference sessions covered a wide range of topics, including aging wth HIV, LGBTQ-friendly senior housing, transgender older adults, end of life care, creating LGBTQ-themed senior center programming, building LGBTQ elder online communities, sexuality and aging, LGBTQ education for non-LGBTQ seniors, and federal aging policy.
“After offering the same workshop on LGBT programming for many years, I decided to try something new this year,” said Linscott. “I offered a ‘crowd sourcing’ workshop for people to bring their ideas, current programs and questions. It was amazing to facilitate a space where folks can learn from each other instead of just from a workshop presenter. This is what makes our conference so special.”
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