WHITMAN-WALKER, MAUTNER PROJECT TEAM TOGETHER TO PROVIDE SERVICES TO LGBT ELDERLY
Whitman-Walker Health and Mautner Project: The National Lesbian Health Organization Introduce New, Joint Program to DC Metropolitan Area – People Advocating for LGBT Seniors (PALS)
WASHINGTON – Whitman-Walker Health and Mautner Project: The National Lesbian Health Organization are introducing a new program for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) seniors – People Advocating for LGBT Seniors (PALS) – to the Washington area. PALS is a free program that connects compassionate, trained volunteer visitors with LGBT elders, 55 and older, who are living at home or in assisted living and nursing facilities. The program also provides companionship and help, when needed, to access community, health, and government services.
“There are currently few culturally-competent, targeted services in the metro DC area for the needs of LGBT seniors,” said Leslie Calman, Executive Director of Mautner Project. “It makes sense to expand our long-established, professionally-led volunteer services for lesbian and bisexual women with cancer to embrace these members of our community. Working with Whitman-Walker hugely expands the reach of this new program, and provides resources well beyond what Mautner Project can offer alone.”
“Creating a partnership between Whitman-Walker Health and Mautner Project makes so much sense,” says Don Blanchon, Executive Director of Whitman-Walker Health. “Both of us have a long-established base of volunteers of all ages who want to serve the LGBT community. The mental and physical health needs of seniors are often magnified when people are isolated. We hope that PALS will alleviate that isolation, and help LGBT seniors access many available resources.”
The PALS program:
- minimizes the social isolation experienced by many elder LGBT people;
- increases individuals’ ability to age in place in their own homes and communities;
- helps elders become aware of and access culturally competent services, including health care; and
- improves the overall health, safety and quality of life of LGBT seniors.
Additionally, PALS fosters connections between LGBT people across generations to strengthen the LGBT community ties while honoring and validating its history.
All Whitman-Walker and Mautner volunteers are trained and supervised by professional staff. PALS welcomes adults of all ages as volunteers, so long as they commit to professional training and are willing to serve at least six months in the program.
The PALS program welcomes LGBT-identified adults aged 55 and over who would benefit from home visitor services.