LGBT Senior Services in New York

LGBT Senior Services in New York

New York City makes a great retirement location for a lot of reasons, including plenty of things to see and do, lots of opportunities for walking, public transportation that eliminates the need to drive, and densely populated neighborhoods that can help keep seniors engaged with the people around them. And while LGBT seniors in New York face the same housing challenge other residents do — finding an affordable, available place in a good neighborhood — connecting with a welcoming and inclusive community is an additional concern.

LGBT housing and aging in place services in the city

SAGE (Services and Advocacy for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Elders) and the Long Island GLBT Network are two high-profile community groups that can help longtime residents and newcomers connect with New York’s “gay and gray” community. SAGE operates five centers across the city, in Chelsea, Midtown, Harlem, Brooklyn, and Staten Island, that offer wellness classes, legal advice, support group meetings, and advice on finding housing in the city.

SAGE also works with naturally occurring retirement communities (NORCs) on the Upper West Side, Harlem, and East Harlem by bringing senior services and programming to LGBT neighborhoods that are graying over time. Social workers, housing advisors, and home health workers are trained to work with ethnically diverse LGBT populations in these neighborhoods. The group also publishes a guide to LGBT issues in caregiving for family members who are helping a senior at home.

Suburban LGBT senior community on Long Island

For seniors who love the city but would rather live in the suburbs, the Long Island GLBT Network plans to break ground in 2015 on the tri-state area’s first LGBT senior housing complex, with units ready for move-in in 2016. The 50-unit property will be located in Bay Shore and will also be home to the network’s new community center. That means residents will have easy access to classes, social events, and holiday celebrations that include the broader Long Island LGBT community.

At the network’s present Bay Shore center, SAGE’s Long Island group meets once a month for co-ed, peer-directed discussions about issues that affect local LGBT seniors, immediately following the center’s Monday lunchtime social hour. The Long Island GLBT Network also offers support groups for transgender people of all ages, a book club that meets in the Hamptons, and Aleph Project holiday observations and social gatherings for Jewish LGBT adults and youth.

More New York LGBT community connections

The Village Voice keeps an up to date list of LGBT nightclubs, social groups, museums, and other points of interest around New York, such as the Leslie & Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art. Leslie & Lohman operates two gallery spaces in SoHo that feature fine art, film screenings, lectures, and other art events. In the West Village, The Stonewall Inn is open daily from 2 p.m. to 4 a.m. for drinks, dancing, and a history lesson on the 1969 Stonewall Riots at the spot “where pride began.”

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Casey Kelly-Barton is an Austin-based freelance writer whose childhood was made awesome by her grandmothers, great-grandmother, great-aunts and -uncles, and their friends.


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