Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2016-04-27
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


  WINDY CITY TIMES

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

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


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 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.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Foundations join forces to launch Chicago social investment tool 2016-04-29
'Your Voice! Your Health!' researches, recruits for better healthcare 2016-04-27
Engendering Change workshops challenge through shared info 2016-04-27
Upcoming: Tegan and Sara, Children's museum, Garden of Eve, Personal PAC panel 2016-04-27
Engendering Change keynote focuses on intersectional activism 2016-04-26
NU student group presents 'Queertopia,''Queergasim' 2016-04-26
Communication is key to minority LGBT health, research says 2016-04-20
HIV-to-HIV organ transplants performed 2016-04-20
News notes: Emanuel, CDPH unveil health plan, Rutherford in travel 2016-04-19
Archivist talks documenting leather, S&M and fetishism history 2016-04-19
Upcoming: Chicago House spring brunch. Garden of Eve, Engendering Change, Personal PAC panel 2016-04-19
Summit focuses on Tiny Home designs to combat homelessness 2016-04-13
CatalystCon holds first-ever Midwest conference 2016-04-12
Two more Chicago meningitis cases reported 2016-04-12
Pediatricians, health professionals speak against legislation targeting trans youth 2016-04-12
Personal PAC to hold "Reproductive Rights: Politics of Race, Class, Gender" panel 2016-04-07
Senators bring bipartisan bill for strategic planning, representation in NIH research 2016-04-07
LGBT fund announces transformational grants 2016-04-06
Webinar addresses stigmatization of health issues 2016-04-05
Activist diagnosed with brain cancer, seeks assistance 2016-04-03
Center announces broadened mission at gala 2016-04-03
Research: Communication is key to minority LGBT health 2016-04-01
LGBT Community Fund grants support collaborations in health, housing services 2016-03-31
HRC releases healthcare index 2016-03-30
Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center named LGBT Healthcare Equality leader 2016-03-23
Lurie Hospital becomes first in U.S. to adopt trans-inclusive policy 2016-03-23
World's largest psychiatric association condemns conversion therapy 2016-03-23
Map shows movements of demographic groups 2016-03-23
AFC, AIDS Institute announce more HIV medication coverage 2016-03-23
Chaplains advocate for trans patients 2016-03-23
Advocates call for Clinton to make HIV/AIDS a priority 2016-03-23
Chicago LGBTQ community organizations plan Spring events at Sidetrack 2016-03-21
FOR Bisexual Health Awareness Month, HRC puts out Coming Out Guide for Bisexual People 2016-03-17
Weitzman Institute launches national program to improve LGBT primary care 2016-03-17
Lurie Children's Hospital first to adopt policy on transgender youth 2016-03-16
David Roesler, head of Open Door Health Center, dies 2016-03-16
Howard Brown Health to take over Englewood clinic 2016-03-15
Criticisms follow Clinton comments on Reagans and AIDS 2016-03-13
Howard Brown Health announces new clinic in Englewood neighborhood 2016-03-10
Northwestern launches new institute for LGBT health research 2016-03-09
 



Copyright © 2016 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.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Sponsor

About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



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     
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.