The Six Most Incredible Ways to Assist Aging Queer People Through Small Acts of Kindness

The Six Most Incredible Ways to Assist Aging Queer People Through Small Acts of Kindness

“The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandest intention,”  Oscar Wilde once stated.

Thousands of volunteers have been inspired by the sentiment over the years, however those aware with Wilde’s past as a homosexual aesthete, proponent of a philosophy of pleasure, and author of the narcissist’s how-to The Picture of Dorian Gray may find an epigram about generosity out of character.

After all, he is the same man who said, “To love oneself is the beginning of a life-long relationship,” as well as, “You can never be overdressed or overeducated.”

We may all learn from Wilde’s remark, however, that modest deeds can have a big impact. Taking the initiative to help others may improve a person’s quality of life significantly, and the advantages are mutual: by helping others, we help ourselves.

It is especially essential when younger individuals make a difference in the lives of elderly people. Community is nourished and formed when the wisdom of age meets the vigor of youth (and vice versa). And knowing where they’re going adds importance to where they are for newer generations.

The organizations mentioned below assist in connecting people of all ages to volunteer opportunities that benefit seniors and to the lived experience of conducting little acts of kindness.

SAGE

Older LGBTQ+ Americans are twice as likely as their counterparts to live alone, twice as likely to be unmarried, and three to four times less likely to have children, according to the advocacy group SAGE. This equates to limited weekly interaction with the outside world for the homebound, except from visits with health experts, and practically no contact with members of the LGBTQ+ community.

SAGE offers programs to help both elderly and younger individuals overcome loneliness. SAGEConnect, which launched during the COVID-19 epidemic, pairs volunteers from throughout the country with SAGE members, or “friends at home,” for weekly phone conversations. Calls last around 30 minutes every week for at least six weeks, and may last longer if a connection is developed. It’s a terrific chance to give back to the generation that pioneered the LGBTQ+ equality fight while also meeting new people.

Another tried-and-true method for bridging generations is SAGE’s Friendly Visitor program in New York. This first-of-its-kind initiative in the United States, founded in 1979, links community volunteers with older persons to create mutually beneficial connections.

Friendly visitor volunteers are checked and trained, and they must commit to a one-year commitment. Once a week, they phone and see “friends at home” for an hour or two. They also attend supportive and instructional gatherings every other month. This in-person assistance service will be expanded across the country by SAGE.

Another creative generational bridge is SAGE’s nationwide LGBTQ+ Speed Mentoring program. Like “speed dating,” speed mentoring involves moderated one-on-one sessions as well as opportunity for participants to interact. Music, food, and beverages make things lively, while cue cards inspire talks regarding mentees’ project goals and talents.

State Agencies

Every state has groups that support older folks and provide possibilities for volunteers. You may check for your state’s aging department or utilize the Eldercare Locator, a federal program administered by the United States Administration on Aging that links older persons, families, and carers with resources. Volunteers can express an interest in working with LGBTQ+ persons.

California, for example, has a rich collection of services dedicated to supporting older persons. The California Department of Aging is in charge of overseeing local aging services offered through Area Agencies on Aging (AAA). Each year, around ten million individuals use these services and activities, which are mostly delivered by community volunteers.

Volunteers help in a variety of ways, including assisting at group meal sites and delivering meals to the homebound elderly; accompanying and transporting frail older people to health care services, essential shopping errands, and other needed services; visiting homebound people to ensure their well-being through regular social contacts; and counseling for nutrition, legal, and financial concerns. As a long-term care ombudsman representative, you may help to protect the safety and well-being of people in long-term care institutions.

Volunteer with your local Area Agency on Aging, which may be located on a comprehensive list at USAging or via your state’s department of aging. Check out California Volunteers, which is run by the California governor’s office.

Openhouse

Openhouse is a San Francisco model group committed to aiding senior LGBTQ+ persons. Over 3000 people were served by the group in 2022, including visits, wellness services, resource and housing navigation, an aging “cultural humility” training program and organizational change initiatives, a community-based adult day program, and community involvement activities. Homebound client deliveries, visits, errand runs, and event and technological assistance are all examples of volunteer options at Openhouse.

TurnOut

TurnOut is a California-based volunteer-led community mobilization network that strives to “power queer and trans movements.” TurnOut provides resources, training, and support to volunteers with over 100 queer nonprofits, with a focus on LGBTQ+ elders, homeless queer youth, mental health, and queer history and arts.

Volunteer Match

Volunteer Match is a nonprofit web business that links charities with volunteers. Use a keyword search to find particular volunteer opportunities. Entering “LGBTQ seniors” yields hundreds of results, ranging from a Legacy Letter Liaison with AgePRIDE in Seattle to an LGBTQ+ Community Engagement Volunteer for the Alzheimer’s Association of Northern Nevada.

Community Centers

Volunteers are always needed at LGBTQ+ community centers, and many provide programming for community members 55 and over. CenterLink maintains a complete directory of community centers, or you may look for one near you on the internet. Inquire about volunteer opportunities via phone or visit their website, such as The William Way LGBT Community Center in Philadelphia.
You’ve gone a step closer to carrying out your own “small act of kindness.”

 

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