County Partners with Avenidas to Serve LGBTQ Seniors

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                             
December 13, 2019


SAN JOSESanta Clara County’s Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to approve a two-year pilot project with Avenidas, the North County non-profit aging care center, to provide new services for LGBTQ seniors. The partnership, which was proposed by Board President Joe Simitian, will begin expanding services in January to address issues faced by LGBTQ seniors, particularly in the North County of Santa Clara County where LGBTQ services for seniors are limited.

Our goal is to expand current services such as case management, caregiver support, transportation, friendly visiting, health education, and socialization/recreation for LGBTQ seniors," said Amy Andonian, the Executive Director of Avenidas. Avenidas is a non-profit that offers services for older adults throughout the Mid-Peninsula area, including Palo Alto, Mountain View, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Stanford, Atherton, Menlo Park, Portola Valley, and other communities.

“By collaborating with Avenidas, the County has an opportunity to partner with a strong, respected and established leader in the senior care community,” said Simitian about the County’s upcoming partnership. “Their work speaks for itself. And I think Avenidas is the perfect partner; their experience and compassion make for a winning combination. And their desire to do even more for LGBTQ seniors is very good news.”

The lack of specialized services throughout the County for LGBTQ seniors, coupled with hardship in finding reliable transportation, means the aging LGBTQ population faces significant challenges in accessing LGBTQ-competent, quality services. In addition, LGBTQ seniors can face unique economic and health disparities relative to the general senior population: they are twice as likely to live alone, and four times less likely to have children than their heterosexual counterparts. This increases the potential for isolation, and they may be more vulnerable to neglect and mistreatment in aging care facilities.

"Medical and social sector research has clearly demonstrated that LGBTQ older adults experience a variety of social, economic, and health disparities compared to the general population of older adults," said Julie Solomon, Ph.D., a member of Mountain View's Human Relations Commission (HRC) who spoke in support of the partnership at the Board of Supervisors meeting. "Increasing the availability and accessibility of culturally competent programs and services can help to increase equity and improve outcomes," she said.

“The pilot at Avenidas would provide dedicated space and the delivery of specific services needed by our senior LGBTQ community.  At the same time, it exposes seniors to the breadth of programs and services offered by ​Avenidas,” said Valerie Stinger, a member of Palo Alto’s Human Relations Commission (HRC) who also spoke in support of the partnership at the Board of Supervisors meeting.

Simitian said the partnership with Avenidas is, “part of a continuing effort to get County-supported services to the folks who need them in locations that are readily accessible. We can do so much more,” he said, “when we partner with trusted non-profits who are already doing good work in the community.” Simitian noted that services for older members of the LGBTQ community in suburban environments are “regrettably, few and far between.”



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