Harrisburg, PA – Today, the Pennsylvania Department of Aging (PDA) leadership team, along with leaders from the Office of Long-Term Living (OLTL), and board members of the Pennsylvania Association of Area Agencies on Aging (P4A) participated in a training session to improve cultural competency inside aging services for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) older adults. The training was provided by Services and Advocacy for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Elders (SAGE).
“During the crafting of the 2016-2020 State Plan on Aging, we repeatedly heard calls for increased cultural competency and our need to better serve and support diverse communities,” Secretary of Aging Teresa Osborne said. “Through that effort, we made positive connections with SAGE and others who are willing to partner with us, so leaders of aging services in Pennsylvania can achieve the cultural competence necessary to better respond to the needs of LGBT older adults and seniors living with HIV/AIDS.”
The fourth goal of the 2016-2020 State Plan on Aging is empower the workforce. The session served as a catalyst for this effort as it brought aging services leaders together to focus on the culture, needs, and concerns of LGBT older adults. It also highlighted best practices for ensuring that LGBT older adults and seniors living with HIV/AIDS are welcomed and included in the spectrum of aging services.
“The Wolf Administration is committed to developing strategies to ensure that every aspect of our long-term services and supports system are accessible, inclusive, welcoming and culturally sensitive to matters of sexual orientation and gender identity,” said Secretary Osborne. “This training is an important step that is intended to serve as a springboard for connecting vulnerable LGBT seniors with the resources and services needed to age in place with the dignity and respect they deserve.”
During 2017, the Department of Aging will continue its efforts to collaborate with multiple LGBT stakeholder groups in order to ensure that Pennsylvania’s LGBT seniors and older adults living with HIV/AIDS are well represented. These efforts will include the department’s on-going participation on the Governor’s LGBT Workgroup and evaluating ways to address data collection on gender identity.