The March grand opening of Chelsea’s Services and Advocacy for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Elders, known as SAGE, featured a jazz band and a slew of city politicians. Elderly gay men and lesbians beamed as they took in the view through wall-high windows, and chatted over pieces of cake.
At its new center, SAGE offers creative writing workshops and acting classes. It hosts support groups for gay elders to talk about discrimination and other issues that they still face. Seniors can also access HIV counseling, participate in aging advocacy and receive advice on how to access the benefits they’re entitled to.
“In a very real sense, they saved my life,” said Robert Philipson, a senior who joined one of SAGE’s LGBT bereavement groups. “When my partner died, a part of me was gone. It’s almost four years now, and I am just now beginning to feel the benefit that SAGE was to me in my coming back to life.”
Philipson is one of many seniors who are finding support at a handful of new senior centers that reject the one-size-fits all approach to senior care. Other centers funded under this city Department for the Aging program, known as Innovative Senior Centers, include community gardening programs, vegetarian and locally sourced cuisine, swimming and watercize classes, and training on everything from using Skype to bird-watching.
Find the full article by Justin Chan and Channon Hodge at
Find out more about Sage Center at gaycenter.org/groups/sage
Find out more about the city's Innovative Aging projects at - nyc.gov/html/dfta/html/community/innovative_senior_centers.shtml
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