New discussion group to address LGBT aging issues in Vancouver

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      Aging can be challenging in itself but LGBT elders can sometimes experience additional or unique issues that non–LGBT individuals may not.

      For instance, some LGBT seniors feel that they need to go back into the closet when entering predominantly heterosexual and cisgender care facilities amongst other seniors or caregivers who may be homophobic, transphobic, or intolerant.

      Others, such as those whose social networks may have been devastated by the onset of the AIDS crisis or who have been rejected by their families and friends, may face social isolation or limited social circles. In addition, many LGBT elders may not have children, or even partners.  

      Still others, who faced discrimination in finding employment throughout their lives, may have had limited incomes, which impacts retirement budgets.

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      According to estimates by the Fraser Health Authority and Vancouver Coastal Health, there were approximately 26,000 LGBT seniors in the Lower Mainland in 2012. That number is expected to grow by about four percent.

      A new weekly discussion and activity group in Vancouver will help participants to learn and talk about these issues.

      Rainbow Roundtable, facilitated by Travis Jones, starts on Friday (September 14) at the Roundhouse Community Arts and Recreation Centre (181 Roundhouse Mews).

      This weekly group, which will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Fridays until December 14, is designed for LGBT adults and elders who are 55 years and above. The cost is $5 per drop-in session.

      The group will allow participants to share stories, experiences, and wisdom about the challenges of aging in LGBT communities.

      Speakers from local organizations and service providers will talk about a variety of topics related to health and wellbeing while aging.

      For more information about Rainbow Roundtable, visit their Facebook webpage or the Roundhouse Community Centre's Older Adult Programs webpage.

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