The Alzheimer’s Association’s Pride logo. (Photo via Facebook)
The Alzheimer’s Association’s Florida chapters and Lambda Living have partnered to offer a statewide support group for LGBTQ+ Floridians facing Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, creating a virtual “space for both caregivers and those facing Alzheimer’s to connect.”
The AA is the nation’s leading voluntary health organization dedicated to Alzheimer’s support and research. Lambda Living is a program of the Jewish Community Services of South Florida and was designed to serve members of the LGBTQ+ community who are 55 and older.
According to the AA, age is the greatest risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease. They advise that an estimated 2.7 million LGBTQ+ people are over 50 years old and 7.4% of the population is living with dementia. Read more here.
“The LGBTQ+ community may face particular challenges related to Alzheimer’s and dementia,” the organization’s website reads. “These include finding inclusive and welcoming health care providers, less ability to call upon adult children for assistance, concerns about stigma and higher rates of poverty and social isolation.”
The virtual support group was designed to combat this. Lambda Living Programing Manager Cindy Brown serves as the group’s facilitator and says it is “important for several reasons.”
“Older LGBTQ+ folks have access to fewer services than their heterosexual counterparts,” she explains. “In addition, many older folks are not comfortable sharing personal information in a group that may have members who aren’t as supportive of them.”
“Isolation is a common challenge for many facing Alzheimer’s, especially in the LGBTQ+ community,” adds Keith Gibson, Florida director of diversity, equity and inclusion for the AA. “This support group provides both caregivers and those living with the disease space to be themselves while addressing the issues that matter to them.”
Gibson oversees Florida’s three chapters and notes the AA has a strong commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. He works to ensure marginalized groups throughout the state are able to receive the organization’s support.
The AA’s LGBTQ+ support group meets via Zoom on the third Tuesday of each month from 2-3:30 p.m. Confidential and secure registration is required and accessible by calling the association’s 24/7 Helpline at 800-272-3900.
“The Alzheimer’s Association is committed to being a true partner to the LGBTQ+ community because we really understand the challenges that they face,” Gibson says. “In this current climate, particularly here in Florida where we have so much political rhetoric, just know that the Alzheimer’s Association is not retreating, we are actually leaning in.”