Assistance is on the way for LGBT seniors living in Miami. A new program, called SAGE Miami, is about to launch. The goal of SAGE Miami is to enhance the quality of life of LGBT elders through programs that gather the community, offer counseling and case management services, and provide SAGE-certified training in cultural sensitivity to those in organizations that care for LGBT elders.
On Dec. 6, SAGE Miami is having its launch event at Temple Israel of Greater Miami. A wine and an hors d’oeuvres reception start runs from 5:30-8 p.m. The temple is located at 137 NE 19th St. in Miami.
Former Dade County Commissioner Ruth Shack is the featured speaker. Shack was the sponsor of the 1977 Human Rights Ordinance in Miami-Dade County, Florida. Shack was elected to the Metro-Dade County Commission in 1976, 1978 and 1982. After leaving the Commission she became the President and CEO of one of the largest philanthropic organizations in Florida, the Dade Community Foundation, before retiring in 2009.
“We are fortunate to have Ruth as a speaker,” says Donna Dambrot, Program Manager of Sage Miami. “She was an activist at a time when many of our clients were, of course, much younger and are now facing the challenges of aging, especially given the challenges explicit within the LGBT community. Her presence and remarks will remind us of that journey.”
SAGE Miami is open to all LGBT seniors aged 55 and higher in Miami-Dade County. It plans to offer programs and services to the LGBT elder community throughout Miami-Dade County in a multiplicity of ways:
- • Train those working in fields such as health care and social service organizations serving the elder LGBT community in cultural competency and sensitivity;
- • Offer programming that will allow LGBT elders the opportunity to gather, make friendships, support each other, and learn together; and
- • Provide counseling and assistance where needed, both individually and in groups; on-site in its offices and in-home.
“The need for this program is critical,” Dambrot said. “LGBT seniors find themselves confronting traditional challenges of aging, while at the same time encountering issues particular to the LGBT community. Lacking traditional sources of support and caregiving, a greater likelihood of living alone, higher rates of poverty and pronounced cultural and social isolation are just some of the realities of the LGBT elder community. Loneliness, housing and healthcare issues are particularly acute challenges.”