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LGBTQ seniors: epidemic challenges

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LGBTQ seniors: epidemic challenges

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Almost every American has experienced dramatic changes in lifestyle since the coronavirus started spreading nationwide and shelter-at-home orders have been put in effect. Seniors are generally considered as the most vulnerable social group with LGBTQ seniors experiencing even more problems compared to others.  Top problems seniors face are food insecurity and an increased feeling of loneliness. Those become paramount for seniors locked in their apartments to reduce chances to be infected and somewhat limited options for socializing. On top of that, HIV positive or immunocompromised queer seniors are at even higher risks with the question of getting appropriate treatment remaining open. 

Luckily, several senior organizations have stepped up with a coordinated effort intended to protect seniors in general and LGBTQ seniors in particular and provide them with necessary supplies.  One of them, Advocacy & Services for LGBT Elders (SAGE) is working hard to restore the life of (LGBTQ) seniors to some normalcy. According to Steven Wilkinson, one of its senior directors, SAGE started preparing early March to transfer its employees to remote operations while providing high quality services to all seniors they used to serve without any interruption. Food insecurity problem arose first as a stay-at-home order was signed. At NYC seniors had to initially grab food packages twice a week at the allocated spots. However, as the situation with COVID-19 worsened the policy was found to be unsafe and seniors were switched to everyday delivery. To get it a sign up is required with some seniors unable to complete. SAGE has been working around the clock to get a job done. 

Resolving socialization problems appeared to be a little bit more complex. For LGBTQ seniors experiencing somewhat maranalization in normal life, self-isolation resulted in breaking connections with their mates at least temporarily. At this point, setting up online activities appeared to be a partial remedy. Those include online classes, social groups chats and even remote yoga classes with your favorite coach. With all these options available seniors have a chance to keep their schedule busy during the day and fulfil an increased demand of communication.  At the same time, electronic communications can limit the abilities for the people of arts who used to observe society, be engaged in conversation to reveal interlocutor personality and to deeply understand the problems the society as a whole face. With all these regular tools missing it has become for artists, writers, painters and many more to reflect the reality. 

Finally, the question of whether to isolate alone or with a partner appeared to be contraversal for LGBTQ seniors. On the one hand, staying with a partner could be beneficial in terms of both physical and spiritual support as well as for socializing. On the other hand, for people being locked in an apartment for a long time conflicts may arise easily without a chance of being suppressed by the means available when living a normal life.  What is even worse, domestic violence may take place. The recent surveys clearly indicate it being on rise since lockdown. With this being said an ultimate goal of senior care organizations is not only to supply them with all the necessities but also to bring a dose of optimism.  

2020-07-30