Windy City Media Group Frontpage News Home
CELEBRATING 28+ YEARS OF Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender NEWS

Search Gay News Articles
Advanced Search
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2014-07-23
Download Issue
  News Index       Archives   About WCMG    Publications    Bars & Clubs     Calendar   Videos   Advertisers    OUT! Guide    Classifieds   AIDS @ 32
 Local | National | World | Politics | Obits | Profiles | Views | Entertainment | Theater | Dance | Music | Film | Art | Books | TV/Gossip
 Travel | History | Marriage | Youth | Trans | Lesbian | Celebrations | Food | Nightlife | Sports | Health | Real Estate | Autos | Pets | Crime

ICAH art installation brings beauty, social messages ICAH art installation brings beauty, social messages
Art can please the eye and/or illuminate and educate. Youth from the ...

Browse Gay News Index   Browse Gay News Archives
  Windy City Times

Alzheimer's support group addressing LGBTs' needs
by Stephen Sonneveld
2013-01-22

facebook twitter pin it del.icio.us stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email
Stephanie Herro. Photo from Herro


A first-of-its-kind support group that will address the unique challenges facing LGBT caregivers, and the caregivers to LGBT Alzheimer's patients, will hold its inaugural session Saturday, Jan. 26, at 10 a.m. at the Howard Brown Health Center (HBHC), with subsequent meetings to take place—at the same time and location—on the fourth Saturday of every month.

The Alzheimer's Association Greater Illinois Chapter is hosting the group and providing the trained facilitator, who also serves on the organization's diversity committee. The association had been building bridges to the LGBT community in diversity initiatives. Under Stephanie Herro, manager of support services and an out lesbian, the support group came to fruition.

"There are specific issues facing LGBT seniors in general, but also for those who are caregivers for people with dementia," Herro told Windy City Times. "We wanted to give people a place where they feel comfortable and welcome and able to freely speak about those specific issues that differ from the general population."

"One significant issue," Herro said, "is seeing people having to go back into the closet when they're placed in facilities, either themselves or not feeling like their loved ones can come visit them in an open and honest way, whether it be a partner or other family members and friends."

Herro knew of instances in some faith-based facilities where LGBT patients were badgered to repent, others were read Bible passages, all in an effort "to get them to "convert" in the last phase of their life when they're already suffering from a cognitive disability. These things are happening, unfortunately."

Herro also said, "LGBT seniors are more likely to isolate due to either not having anybody or feeling that they aren't able to be themselves." For the caregivers, such treatment of their loved ones "can add a significant amount of stress. Depression rates are through the roof for caregivers in general, and then to add on these other challenges, I can only imagine would increase all of that."

Another issue, according to Herro, is that "a large portion of the population of LGBT adults don't have other people in their life." Herro stated she has frequently been asked by LGBT seniors, "I'm all alone, I don't have anybody—what happens if I develop dementia? What's gonna happen to me?"

For Herro, being confronted by those questions "was really eye-opening." According to the association's 2012 report, 800,000 of the 5.4 million U.S. residents living with Alzheimer's disease reside alone.

"There's a lot of fear in the [LGBT] community about this happening," Herro said. "It's a big fear for older adults in general, but then you add in some of the challenges of LGBT seniors and it becomes even more frightening for them."

Another detriment to LGBT adults is that marriage inequality frustrates even those who have significant others, which is why Herro urged "that people's advanced directives are in place, so things like the Do Not Resuscitate, a will, having a power of attorney in place—all of those things are even more important for LGBT seniors, because we don't have the same rights as the general population."

Herro added, "I think having a caregiver support group for people who are either LGBT themselves and caring for a partner, or if you're LGBT adult children who are caring for their parents, I think having a place where they're safe to express these extra challenges and extra stresses of caregiving, where they don't feel like they're going to be judged, is really important."

Currently, this LGBT support group at HBHC will be the only such entity, but Herro added she "would love to have LGBT support groups anywhere and everywhere they're needed," whether it's throughout the city or into the suburbs.

Herro said that many of the facilitators are former caregivers themselves, and some are also professionals in the field. She personally trains all of the support group facilitators in every aspect, from "information about the Alzheimer's Association and the services we offer, to group dynamics in group process and how to manage difficult situations in groups, how to manage" their own emotional triggers.

There is no cure, nor even any prevention, for Alzheimer's, a progressive condition caused when protein deposits impair nerve cells in the brain from communicating. The disease has spiked from being the twelfth leading cause of death in 1998 to the sixth-leading cause only a decade later. In that same time, deaths due to breast cancer, prostate cancer, heart disease, stroke and HIV all decreased.

Despite the quantitative evidence, Herro said Alzheimer's "doesn't get the same amount of attention as some of the other leading causes of death might in the country. With that lack of attention, there's a lack of research money, and that's a big thing that the Alzheimer's Association does in terms of public policy changes and in advocacy; trying to get the government to help understand that there needs to be more attention paid to this disease."

Based on current projections, Herro warned, "There needs to be more money from the [National Institutes of Health] going towards Alzheimer's research because it is going to continue to grow and it's going to be an epidemic if there's not an opportunity to find a cure by the year 2050."

To find more information about local support groups or to contact the facilitators directly, people should visit www.alzheimers-illinois.org/support_groups.


facebook twitter pin it del.icio.us stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email




Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily
agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here.
Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you
stay on this page, the more you help us.

Clinical counselor Matthew Dempsey on gay men, body image 2014-07-22
Out former cop speaks at Prime Timers Regional Gathering 2014-07-22
LGBT youth more likely than heterosexual youth to try suicide 2014-07-22
'Havana in Chicago' raises money for impoverished Cubans 2014-07-21
Hundreds gather for Chicago Disability Pride 2014-07-20
LGBTs Connect at Netroots Nation 2014-07-19
GLAAD celebrates leadership with new CEO Sarah Kate Ellis 2014-07-18
CDC educates on dangers of smoking for HIV+ 2014-07-16
Wachowskis to open studio to benefit TransLife 2014-07-16
ASK LAMBDA LEGAL Sex-reassignment surgery and Medicare 2014-07-15
Program to look at fertility options for lesbians 2014-07-15
Howard Brown takes part in gay blood drive 2014-07-14
Laundry Project, Ideas Week offer free Englewood laundry day 2014-07-12
Child with HIV, once thought cured, shows re-infection signs 2014-07-11
Howard Brown to host gay blood drive July 11 2014-07-10
Havana in Chicago July 19 to benefit Cuba charity 2014-07-09
NLGJA to hold national convention, LGBT summit in Chicago 2014-07-08
Study: Children of same-sex parents are healthier 2014-07-07
Activists discuss future of LGBT rights 2014-07-07
Holiday meals delivered to homebound 2014-07-05
Study: Religious counseling associated with suicide tries 2014-07-03
Trans* billboard campaign launches in Chicago 2014-07-02
Bisexual Research Collaborative On Health formed 2014-07-02
HBHC's HEALE program: Educating nurses about LGBTQ elders 2014-07-02
Prime Timers regional event July 17-20 2014-07-02
Sally Field at Lynn Sage fall luncheon Oct. 14 2014-07-02
Upcoming events through July 15 2014-07-02
Art/birdhouse auction benefits Chicago House 2014-07-01
Supreme Court lets stand CA's ban on ex-gay therapy 2014-07-01
Pride & Joy benefits Center, Hall of Fame 2014-06-27
Surgeon General video warns on high LGBT smoking rates 2014-06-27
Hull-House: Chicago's queerest home? 2014-06-24
Upcoming events 2014-06-24
Trust CEO presents 'On the Table' initiatives 2014-06-22
HBHC town hall tackles youth health issues 2014-06-22
AMA adopts new policy on gender-change requirements 2014-06-19
Two Lake View events focus on LBTQ health 2014-06-17
Medicare lifts ban on trans surgical procedures 2014-06-17
Federal employee health plans to include transition-related care 2014-06-14
Howard Brown Health Center establishes advisory board 2014-06-12





Copyright © 2014 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 



 

John D'Emilio: Renowned professor, historian retires
 
Knight at the Movies: And So It Goes; film notes
 
Tony Tripoli tag-teams with The Cabaret Project
 
The Dinner Party holds Taste of Chicago special
 
Chicago Theatre Week expands in 2015
 
Windy City Times Current DownloadNightspots Current DownloadQueercast Current Download
Windy City Media Group BlogsJoin Our Email List!Donate Now



  News Index       Archives   About WCMG    Publications    Bars & Clubs     Calendar   Videos   Advertisers    OUT! Guide    Classifieds   AIDS @ 32
 Local | National | World | Politics | Obits | Profiles | Views | Entertainment | Theater | Dance | Music | Film | Art | Books | TV/Gossip
 Travel | History | Marriage | Youth | Trans | Lesbian | Celebrations | Food | Nightlife | Sports | Health | Real Estate | Autos | Pets | Crime



About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video      News Videos      Nightspots Videos      Entertainment Videos      Queercast Videos      Comedy Videos     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.