Today, as Senior Services Coordinator for The Pride Center in Wilton Manors, Bruce Williams is fighting for the rights of LGBT seniors. He wants to ensure that those who need help can get it easily and affordably — something not necessarily offered to LGBT seniors right now.
“A big fear of older folks is running out of money,” he said. “I’ve dealt with having real thoughts of going to sleep at night hoping I’ll die in the morning so I don’t have to deal with being poor.”
He’s right. The Indexed Annuity Leadership Council (IALC) says the biggest fear of Americans is that they’ll outlive their income. Twenty-five percent of Americans believe they’ll run out of money before they die, but the same amount of people don’t have anything saved for retirement.
In 2010 when Williams was a volunteer with the Center, he began an assisted living project to find places that were LGBT-friendly for seniors. At the time, he said, there weren’t any. Today, there’s more resources than ever, and the list keeps growing.
“We have a choice at every level of care — providers that are LGBT interested and savvy in their approach,” he said. “That’s really what our seniors want — to keep connecting the needs of the LGBT senior community and made aware of their community resources.”
Williams said that society has a big problem with aging. The best way to deal with it is to be prepared for problems before they happen.
“With aging, when you prepare ahead of time, it’s so much easier,” he said. “When you find yourself in the hospital with a new hip, you’ll be prepared and won’t find yourself facing discharge without a clue of what to do.”
To help prepare LGBT seniors with getting older, Williams and The Pride Center started the Senior Health Expo. On Oct. 22, seniors can visit nearly 60 vendors from across Broward County that assist seniors at various levels of healthcare. Williams said they’ve sold out their vendor spots the last three years. The event is free and open to everyone.
“It’s nice and compact. You don’t have to make multiple stops,” he said. “You’ll go home with a tremendous wealth of resources from health and long-term care, insurance, home health care, and others. It’s a tremendous exchange of all our community resources.”
With a blood pressure booth, flu shots, door prizes, and free coffee and lunch, Williams expects hundreds of LGBT seniors and their families to visit. As seniors are living longer, he expects the needs for these services to keep growing.
“Not long ago, 70 was it. Now, if you’re 70, you could have several decades ahead of you. It pays to prep.”
If You Go:
Senior Health Expo
Oct. 22, 10 a.m. – 2p.m.
The Schubert Building at The Pride Center
2040 North Dixie Highway
Wilton Manors, FL 33305