By Nicole Long, CEO of OCES
As we grow older “change is the only constant,” and we all have a common goal of maintaining our independence and dignity. According to the American Psychological Association, more than 39 million Americans are 65 or older and 2.4 million of them identify as lesbian, homosexual, bisexual, or transgender (LGBTQ+). In the LGBTQ+ community, they confront several changes along with the complexity of aging.
Aging impacts all individuals regardless of gender, race, or sexual orientation. The LGBTQ+ population is no exception and may face changes in their health care needs, or financial and housing circumstances. As the needs of the LGBTQ+ older adult population become more complex, many may find it difficult to navigate change on their own and wonder where to turn for help. The SAGE LGBTQ+ Elder Hotline is a great resource that pairs LGBTQ+ older adults with callers. Private counseling and emergency responses are available 24/7. They may be reached at 1-877-360-LGBT (5428) or visit https://www.sageusa.org/what-we-do/sage-national-lgbt-elder-hotline/.
Old Colony Elder Services (OCES) is a private, non-profit organization that supports the independence and dignity of older adults and individuals with disabilities by providing essential information and services that promote healthy and safe living. OCES is designated as one of the Aging Services Access Points in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and is also one of six member agencies of the Aging & Disability Resource Consortium of Southeastern & Southern Massachusetts (ADRC SE SM).
OCES supports everyone (regardless of gender, identity, race, or sexual orientation) without exception and welcomes all. There is no “Wrong Door” when an older adult (age 60+), or an individual living with a disability, contacts any of the member agencies of the Aging & Disability Resource Consortium of Southeastern & Southern Massachusetts for assistance or information about services. OCES works in collaboration with Bristol Elder Services, Coastline Elderly Services, South Shore Elder Services, Independence Associates, and Southeast Center for Independent Living to offer counseling assistance, advocacy, and supportive services.
All it takes is one contact to OCES, or any of the member agencies, and an individual can be connected to all the resources of all the organizations. The resources include Information and Referral Services and Options Counseling, as well as Transition Assistance when an individual transitions from a nursing or acute care facility back to the community. These services are offered to support and streamline access to in-home and community-based long-term services and support for people, regardless of age, disability, or income.
Many older adults do not realize the full range of in-home services and care management that may be available to assist them. From comprehensive home-based care services and various housing options that support an individual’s needs, to money management assistance, home-delivered meals through Meals on Wheels, and more. Need information to help manage or prevent chronic health conditions such as diabetes, arthritis, and hypertension? Or perhaps you would like assistance understanding your health insurance or other benefits? OCES can assist in these areas as well.
A Place to Turn To
OCES’ programs offer significant life-supporting care contributing to an individual’s ability to live within the community as independently as possible for as long as possible while preserving dignity and quality of life.
Have questions or need assistance? Get started by visiting OCES’ website at www.ocesma.org and click on “Get Started” or call 508-584-1561.