Aging with PrideNew workshop & online resources announced during Vancouver Pride Week
July 29, 2019 (Burnaby, B.C.): Today, BC Care Providers Association (BCCPA) is launching “Aging with Pride” – an initiative to strengthen and promote LGBTQ2+ inclusiveness and competency within the continuing care sector when it comes to supporting seniors in British Columbia. The announcement is timed to coincide with Vancouver Pride Week.
“As advocates for B.C.’s seniors care sector, our association must use its voice to champion inclusiveness and create learning opportunities that will result in better support for LGBTQ2+ clients,” says BCCPA CEO Daniel Fontaine. “With more education and awareness, we can help people feel that they are supported and safe to be themselves, whether it is in seniors’ housing or in a care setting.”
In B.C., it is estimated between 3 and 10 percent of the population are lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, two-spirited, or transgender (LGBTQ2+). It is clear that seniors’ living and wellness operators are already supporting LGBTQ2+ clients in the work they do. Yet, when it comes to moving to a seniors’ living residence, or entering a care home, many LGBTQ2+ seniors feel that they must mask their sexuality or moderate their gender expression to “fit in”.
“In the past, people worried that they would receive less or worse care as a result of their sexuality or gender expression,” says Dean Malone, Executive Director with Revera Long Term Care at Arbutus Care Centre in Vancouver.
“Today, that is less of a fear for LGBTQ2+ seniors, particularly LGB seniors. What they do continue to fear is social isolation. Many of today’s LGBTQ2+ seniors have lived very ‘out’ lives where they have been part of a strong community. To feel like they must give that up as seniors, feels like they are giving up a huge part of their lives. It can be a tremendous loss.”
This week’s “Aging with Pride” initiative will support stakeholders in the seniors living and wellness sector with a goal of establishing best practices and strengthen LGBTQ2+ competency. Components of the initiative will include:
- The launch of a new LGBTQ2+ seniors online resource at www.bccare.ca/aging-with-pride with information and digital toolkits for developing internal policies and staff training materials;
- The announcement of a LGBTQ2+ seniors competency workshop in collaboration with Vancouver’s Qmunity organization to be hosted at the SafeCare BC training centre in Burnaby in November;
- An LGBTQ2+ Inclusive function to be included on EngAge BC’s new Route65.ca seniors living resource (launching July 31st) to promote inclusiveness within the aged care sector;
- Personal stories of the lives of elder LGB and Trans elders that showcase the need for better policies and education;
- A profile of a LGBTQ2+ program launched by Island Health.
“Creating safety is paramount, but it is also important for those of us who work in the seniors’ living and wellness community and identify as LGBTQ2+ to be brave about who we are. It might be our openness that creates the space for a resident to feel included,” adds Malone, who is hosting the first ever Pride event this week at the long-term care home where he works.
BCCPA’s “Aging with Pride” will run during Vancouver Pride Week (July 29 – August 2) at www.bccare.ca.
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About BC Care Providers Association
Established in 1977, the BC Care Providers Association (BCCPA) is the leading voice for B.C.’s continuing care sector. Our growing membership base includes over 340 long-term care, assisted living, home care, home support, independent living, and commercial members from across British Columbia.
About EngAge BC
Established in 2019, EngAge BC has a mandate to support the distinct needs of private pay independent living, assisted living, long-term and home health care operators. EngAge BC is responsible for developing and operating a suite of unique programs and marketing initiatives that support member sites across the province.