Caregivers are invited to improve their skills by attending one of eight, free, LGBT+ Awareness Trainings through November hosted by the IHSS Public Authority, Sonoma County Area Agency on Aging, SAGECare and LGBTQ Connections. The free program will train and certify 180 care providers about the needs of LGBT+ older adults and LGBT+ adults with disabilities.
The first four-hour class will be Thursday, April 11, from 9-11am, at the Adult & Aging Division in Santa Rosa. Pre-registration is required online at ihss041119.eventbrite.com.
The training helps care providers that work for IHSS, private agency homecare, and assisted living or skilled nursing facilities improve services for Sonoma County LGBT+ seniors. Clients of local senior service agencies and facilities will be informed that they can choose a caregiver who completed the training and are credentialed by SAGECare. The only national LGBT aging cultural competency training program, SAGECare is part of the advocacy group SAGE.
Additional dates and online registration links are:
· Thursday, May 2, 1 – 5 p.m., Petaluma Senior Center, 211 Novak Drive, Petaluma. Register: ihss050219.eventbrite.com.
· Thursday, May 16, Noon – 4 p.m., Adult & Aging, 3725 Westwind Blvd., Santa Rosa. Register: ihss051619.eventbrite.com.
· Thursday, June 6, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m., Employment & Training Division, 2227 Capricorn Way, Santa Rosa. Register: ihss060619.eventbrite.com
For more information about the trainings and caregiver certification, visit sonomacounty.ca.gov/Human-Services/Adult-and-Aging/Area-Agency-on-Aging/LGBTQ-Older-Adults, or call the Area Agency on Aging at (707) 565-5700.
The trainings were developed because LGBT+ older adults face different challenges than other caregiver clients. “LGBT seniors are five times less likely to access the mainstream health, housing, and social services that are available to other seniors,” says Adult & Aging Division Director Paul Dunaway of Sonoma County’s Human Services Department. “While most service providers say their services are open to everyone, unless they are intentional about implementing LGBT inclusive practices, they are leaving out this often hidden and underserved population.”
Says LGBTQ Connection Program Director Ian Stanley Posadas, “There are an estimated 47,000 lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender seniors living in Sonoma County. Even if you don’t know us as LGBT, we are your neighbors, your grocery clerks, your teachers, contractors, nurses, counselors, bank tellers, letter carriers. We are your children, your parents, and also your grandparents.”
Both of the County’s partner agencies bring vital skills and expertise to this training. “We are thrilled to be partnering with the Sonoma County Area Agency on Aging to bring this important training to service providers in Northern California” says Tim Johnston, SAGE’s director of National projects. “Training is the foundation of person-directed care, and we hope this program can have a positive impact on LGBT older adults in the county.”
Adds LGBTQ Connection’s Posadas, “Building a vibrant community where we all feel more connected, understood and welcome is at the heart of what we are about. LGBTQ Connection is thrilled to be a partner in this collaboration to bring visibility and awareness to the needs of Sonoma County’s LGBTQI older adults.”
To learn about the many Adult & Aging Division services and programs for older adults, seniors and disabled residents of all ages, visit sonomacounty.ca.gov/Human-Services/Adult-and-Aging-Division.