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Greater Springfield Senior Services, Inc.

We connect older adults, caregivers, and professionals with the resources and services needed to help address issues of well-being and independence in the community. From case management & home care services to home-delivered meals and more, our expert staff is ready to offer help tailored to an individual's needs.

June is

 

 

AAA Director, Anna Randall helped GSSSI kick off Pride Month with an educational and inspirational letter to staff: 

Good Afternoon,
As you may be aware, June is national Pride month. It is dedicated to the uplifting of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Intersex (LGBTQI) voices, celebrations of LGBTQI culture, and the support of LGBTQI rights. The month of June was chosen for Pride Month to commemorate the riots held by members of the LGBTQI community against a police raid that took place at the Stonewall Inn in New York City on June 28, 1969. The “Stonewall” riots are considered the tipping point for the gay rights movement and paved the way for the modern fight for LGBTQI rights. The rainbow flag is prominently displayed throughout the month and was created by Gilbert Baker, an American artist, gay rights activist, and U.S. Army veteran, in 1978 as a new symbol for the gay and lesbian political movement. In 2018, artist and activist Gilbert Baker redesigned the flag to include support for people of color and transgender people in the design.
 
While many now associate Pride with parades and celebrations, for countless people, especially older adults in the LGBTQI community, Pride is a reminder of how hard they had to fight to obtain equal rights and other protections. Unfortunately, it is also a reminder of how far we, as a society, have yet to go to ensure that LGBTQI people have equal access to compassionate, quality care.
 
By the year 2030, it is expected that there will be more than 7 million LGBTQI adults over the age of 50 in the U.S. alone, and LGBTQI people face unique challenges as they age. Studies show that LGBTQI older adults are significantly less likely to reach out to senior centers, meal programs, and other vital services. After years of discrimination and harassment, even more so for older LGBTQI adults of color, many assume they will not be welcome in these environments. In a study conducted by AARP in 2018,  34 % of LGBTQI older adults worry about hiding their identity to access senior housing. That statistic soars to 70% when asked about accessing long-term care. Many have reported delaying or avoiding in-home supports because they fear discrimination or mistreatment by staff. In 2016, in a national study of transgender older adults, 25% reported avoiding going to the doctor when they had a serious illness because they feared being mistreated. 39% of older LGBTQI adults report having had suicidal thoughts in the last year, and 2 out of every 5 transgender people have actually attempted suicide in their lifetime.
 
The good news? When the same group was surveyed, 88% stated that they would feel more comfortable with support services if they knew the staff had explicitly been trained to be more sensitive to the needs of LGBTQI older adults. GSSSI is off to a great start with our upcoming mandatory cultural humility training, which will help us consider and address any cultural bias we may hold. Additionally, we encourage staff participating in dress-down days this month to wear their best Pride gear to help us celebrate and support our community.  I have also placed some fun Pride stickers in each of your mailboxes. By wearing a Pride flag, you let the LGBTQI community know that you support them and are ready to advocate on their behalf. A simple sticker on your clipboard may make your client more comfortable having you in their space and advocating for their needs. 

 
SAGE June Calendar of Events
This Pride season, SAGE Advocacy and Services for LGBT Elders is celebrating the strength of LGBT Pioneers and community. Join them in their SAGEStrong campaign by showing your support and the reason you are proud to be  #SAGEStrong.

Visit the SAGE June Pride Month Calendar of events for the many and varied ways you can show support, attend virtual events, and celebrate the strength of LGBT Older Adults.

Watch the JULIA SCOTTI: FUNNY THAT WAY, a  documentary that takes you back to when Rick Scotti was a headlining comedian appearing on bills with Jerry Seinfeld, Chris Rock and others and then takes you through his journey of finding truth within herself and has to deal with the reaction from his family, including his two children. You can watch as the comedian returns to the stage as "the crazy old lady of comedy" in this tender, funny, and triumphant comeback story. 

 
LGBT Aging Project with Fenway Health
Fenway Health is hosting several Zoom drop in groups with topics ranging from wellness, celebrating stories of pride, aging in the LGBT community and more. 

On Friday June 25th, join the 10th Annual Conference: LGBT Elders in an Ever Changing World. This is a one-day conference focusing on interdisciplinary practice and community engagement for people working with lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender older adults and caregivers. 

For more information and registration for the conference visit: https://www.lgbteldersconference.org
Congratulations to Amber Haywood!
 
Amber Haywood has been promoted to a new position at GSSSI as the Assisted Living Ombudsman Program Supervisor.

Amber has worked at GSSSI since 2015 and has worked in various departments, including Nutrition, Protective Services, and most recently, the ACO program.

The Executive Office of Elder Affairs chose GSSSI to host the Regional Assisted Living Ombudsman Program for the Western part of the state.

As the Assisted Living Ombudsman Program Supervisor, Amber will oversee and administer the Regional ALF Ombudsman Program's services and promote its philosophy of advocating and maintaining assisted living residents' rights. She will be working hard to establish and maintain relationships within assisted living facilities and the  Aging Services Access Points in the region. Though her home base will be here at GSSSI, as one of only four ALF Ombudsmen in the Commonwealth, Amber will be traveling around to sixty-five different assisted living facilities across seven counties! 

Amber will be recruiting and training a large cadre of volunteers to be certified as ALF Ombudsman. They will be assigned to assisted living facilities to visit with residents and resolve complaints to increase the quality of care. 

 
If you or anyone you know would like to train to be an Assisted Living Facility Ombudsman, please email Amber at  ALFOmbudsman@gsssi.org  for more information! 
 
       
           Join Us for the Alzheimer's Springfield Community Forum
 
 The Springfield Dementia Friendly Coalition and the Alzheimer's Association are organizing a Springfield Alzheimer's Community Forum on the evening of June 24 at 5:30 pm (on Zoom). The goal of this Community Forum is to provide families an opportunity to share their experience with Alzheimer's & dementia and share input on how we can better meet the needs of the community. We also want to take this opportunity to discuss the racial health disparities related to Alzheimer's and how we can work to address this. 
 
 You can register for this free forum by calling 1-800-272-3900 or email mlemay@alz.org
Healthy Living in Western Mass
 
Check out our list of Healthy Living workshops and take time to do something to increase your health and wellness!

June 21, 2021 Walk with Ease
Free six wee walking program to ease arthritis symptoms. Meets MWF 9a.m.
Presented by: Franklin County YMCA 
Contact: Jayne Trosin jtrosin@your-y.org

June 22, 2021 Living Well with Long-Term Health Conditions for LGBTQIA+ Video Workshop
This workshop provides information and practical skills to build self-confidence and help participants assume an active role in managing one or more chronic conditions. Topics include nutrition, relaxation, communication, goal setting, and problem solving. Taught by two LGBTQIA leaders to provide a safe environment to explore how these topics specifically affect this community.
Contact: Andi Waisman awaisman@lifepathma.org 413-773-5555

June 23, 2021 Healthy Eating for Successful Aging Video Workshop
Healthy Eating teaches nutrition basics including label reading, meal planning, and management of dietary patterns; while encouraging self-assessment, goal setting, and problem solving.
Presented by: LifePath
Contact: Andi Waisman awaisman@lifepathma.org 413-773-5555

June 23, 2021 Living Well with Long-Term Health Conditions Phone Workshop
This workshop provides information and practical skills to build self-confidence and help participants assume an active role in managing one or more chronic conditions. Topics include nutrition, relaxation, communication, goal setting, and problem solving.
Presented by: LifePath
Contact: Andi Waisman awaisman@lifepathma.org 413-773-5555

Coming this Fall! My Life, My Health, Chronic Disease Self Managment
Free 6 week workshop to help you take back the reins of your own health care. This workshop provides helpful tools to manage your chronic disease. Topics include nutrition, relaxation, communication, goal setting, and problem solving.
Presented by: WestMass Elder Care & Greater Springfield Senior Services
Contact: Ginger Cruickshank vcruickshank@wmeldercare.org
 

Click here to visit GSSSI.ORG for a complete list of services and programs
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