As we celebrate Pride month we put a spotlight on equality, protecting human rights, understanding, acceptance and increased visibility for LGBTQ+ individuals. As with all celebrations, Pride month has a history – one that older adults may not be aware of. Before we ask for understanding and acceptance from our mom, dad, grandparent, or any senior in your life, we need to create the space for discussion, learning and growth.
Here are 6 tips for facilitating the LGBTQ+ conversation:
- Make it relatable: People are more likely to understand a topic if it is made relatable to them. One topic that may make the LGBTQ+ community relatable for residents is Ageism. Ask if your loved one has ever been denied opportunity because of their age? Ever been forced to retire or leave a job either for early retirement or a lack of skills? Invite them to share their personal experiences before drawing similarities to discrimination faced by members of the LGBTQ+ community.
- Focus on Love: Make sure the conversation stays positive. Focus on equality and the importance of protecting all human rights, talk about the importance of being able to love who you chose.
- Time: Realize that understanding will take time and most likely multiple conversations. Start with acknowledgement but remember there is a difference between acknowledgement and understanding. It will take more than one discussion for understanding to take place.
- Personal Experience: once you’ve created a safe space for discussion, talk about real life, personal experiences. Does your loved one have friends, family, children or grandchildren that belong to the LGBTQ+ community? Allow them to share their journeys, maybe invite some of them to be part of the discussion.
- Growth: Remember that for everyone understanding of the topic will vary so growth will look different. This could be a very new concept to one person while someone else has already been involved in the community. No matter where your loved one starts, celebrate the growth and understanding that you help them achieve.
- Respect: This is a very personal subject so make sure to set ground rules around the conversation. All opinions and stories shared must be respected. You want to create a safe and open space where questions are welcomed but remain respectful in nature.
If you don’t feel comfortable leading a discussion like this, ask if there is someone in your family or friend group who is. Involving others with personal experience will allow for more authentic storytelling and may lead to better understanding. If you know someone who is willing to share their story, let them. Sometimes the best way to explain the power of love and being able to love who you chose is to hear it firsthand as a love story, another thing your loved one can relate to!
At all Northbridge Communities throughout New England we’re working to create inclusive residences where all residents, families, associates and visitors can feel welcome to be themselves. We hope this post will be helpful.
If you’re considering senior living for yourself or a family member, we hope you’ll visit one of our communities. You’ll find a maintenance-free, activity-filled and engaging lifestyle to help support your wellness goals.
You’ll also discover many benefits in a Northbridge Senior Living community, including our Signature Program S.T.A.R. Club (Sharp Thinking, Active Residents) – which offers our residents several activities to participate in with others, including:
- Daily exercise group
- Walking club
- Nutritional classes
- Library and book club
- Museum outings
- Artists in residence program
- Multi-generational music
- Current events
If you are considering senior living as the right choice for yourself or a loved one, we invite you to download our Family Decision Toolkit. Or, contact us to schedule a personalized tour.