Category Archives: Mental Health

New SAGE Center Honors Elders

 

Black Pride New York City honored its Elders on August 16th, 2012 at the new Sage Center on 305 7th Avenue.

The  assembly of speakers came for across the city to honor the LGBT POC Elder community.  Over 75 seniors came to­gether for an evening of community, live entertainment and lunch, all generously donated.

A special tribute was paid to GRIOT Circle and its executive director, Glen-Michael Francis, who was also the keynote speaker. Glen spoke about community and the work that went into creating the Sage Innovative Center, the first city-funded LGBT Center in New York City. 

Glen also spoke to why this community center belongs to all of us, and why we as people of color should come and enjoy the activities, make sug­gestions to create programs and services that are reflective of our values and traditions, bring friends and take computer classes

Alyce Emory, the evening’s MC and program coordina­tor, said, “I am humbled and grateful to all who participated and supported!”  Minister Renair Amin was the officiant and gave the opening remarks and blessings!

 

BLACK HISTORY MONTH AT GRIOT CIRCLE

TO ENLARGE THE CALENDAR, JUST CLICK ON THE IMAGE.

10 Tips For Finding The Right Doctor

By Lissa Rankin

If you weren’t getting what you needed from your massage therapist, hairdresser, or yoga instructor, you would find someone else, right?  Why should your doctor be any different?  And yet, your doctor is even more important.  This is serious stuff we’re talking about here.

Plus, medicine is, after all, a spiritual practice.  At least it should be, and if your doctor doesn’t believe that, do you really want to put your body and your life in his or her hands?  If you didn’t like your priest, minister, guru, or shaman, you would go elsewhere, right?  It’s your body.  Your health. Your life. Your choice.

Ms. Rankin suggests you: Seek someone who shares your beliefs … Be willing to get what you pay for… Demand what you deserve … Listen to your intuition … Feel the love … Know that you deserve the best care possible.

TO READ LIST OF TIPS, JUST CLICK THIS LINK –> 10 Tips To Help You Find The Right Doctor | Care2 Healthy Living.

CDC Releases HIV Infection Study

Nearly 3 out of 4 Americans living with HIV do not have their infection under control, according to a Vital Signs report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  The authors say the low percentage is because 1 in 5 people with HIV do not realize they are infected and, of those who are
aware, only 51 percent receive ongoing medical care and treatment.

Of the nearly 1.2 million people living with HIV in the United States, only an estimated 28 percent have a suppressed viral load (defined as viral load less than 200 copies of the blood-borne virus per milliliter
of blood)–meaning that the virus is under control and at a level that helps keep them healthy and reduces the risk of transmitting the virus to others.

However, of those living with HIV who are in ongoing care and on antiretroviral treatment, 77 percent have suppressed levels of the virus.  Effective HIV treatment and care benefit infected individuals by improving their health, and are also important for HIV prevention.  Results from a recent study of heterosexual couples from the National Institutes of Health showed that consistently taking antiretroviral therapy, in combination with safer behaviors, can reduce the risk of spreading HIV by approximately 96 percent.

Men who have sex with men (MSM), the population most severely affected by HIV in the United States, are least likely to know they are infected and less likely to receive prevention counseling (39 percent, compared with 50 percent of men who have sex with women and women who have sex with men).

Study authors underscore that improvements are needed at each stage in the overall process of treatment and care. That means increasing the number of infected Americans who are tested, linked to care, remain in care, receive prevention counseling and are successfully treated – all to achieve viral suppression.

For more information on new statistics on viral suppression click here–>  Vital Signs Study.

HOW MEDICARE FAILS THE ELDERLY (nytimes.com)

By Jane Gross

(Published Oct. 15, 2011)

HERE is the dirty little secret of health care in America for the elderly, the one group we all assume has universal coverage thanks to the 1965 Medicare law: what Medicare paid for then is no longer what recipients need or want today.

No one then envisioned the stunning advances in medicine that now keep people alive into advanced old age, often with unintended and unwelcome consequences. Indeed, scientific reports have showed the dangers, not merely the pointlessness and expense, of much of the care Medicare is providing.

Of course, some may actually want everything medical science has to offer. But overwhelmingly, I’ve concluded in a decade of studying America’s elderly, it is fee-for-service doctors and Big Pharma who stand to gain the most, and adult children, with too much emotion and too little information, driving those decisions.

In the last year alone, and this list is far from complete, here is what researchers have found both useless and harmful, according to leading medical journals:

• Feeding tubes, which can cause infections, nausea and vomiting, rarely prolong life. People with dementia often react with agitation, including pulling out the tubes, and then are either sedated or restrained.

• Abdominal and gall bladder surgery and joint replacements, for those who rank poorly on a scale that measures frailty, lead to complications, repeat hospital stays and placement in nursing homes.

• Tight glycemic control for Type 2 diabetes, present in 1 of 4 people over 65, often requires 8 to 10 years before it helps prevent blindness, kidney disease or amputations. Without enough time to reap the benefits, the elderly endure needless dietary limits and needle sticks.

TO READ FULL ESSAY CLICK HERE –> How Medicare Fails the Elderly – NYTimes.com.

GRATITUDE TO SUPPORTERS OF FIRST NATIONAL POC LGBT CONVENING

Dear Convening Attendees and Supporters,

It is with heartfelt gratitude I express THANKS to everyone for your presence, for your participation both during and after, for the beginning of a national movement/network, however you choose to define it, that will address issues pertaining to POC LGBT aging.  The First National Convening on POC LGBT Aging was a phenomenal gathering, please applaud yourselves for a job well done!!

Glen-Michael Francis, Exec. Dir., GRIOT Circle.

To all the staff of GRIOT Circle…Bonnie Harrison, Anthony McPhatter, Victor Pond and Daniella Noel who went beyond the call of duty and put their brightest foot forward to create an outstanding Convening.

To Brian de Vries for always being informative and supportive, a man of truth and clarity.  To Kyaien O. Conner for your brilliance and impressive level of research that opened so many people’s eyes to the disparate needs of LGBT POC aging.  Your presentation was amazing!  Thank you.

Chezia Carraway, my Elder Mentor Sister Friend, lots of love!  Thanks!  And to Helena Bushong for being the voice of our Trans-elder community that is far too often invisible at these important gatherings.  You rock!

Aisha Young for continuing to be the leader that you are!  Laurens Van Sluytman for always being in GRIOT’s–and my–corner, a guy you can count on!  Much Love!  Jay Blackwell you know how I feel about you and your support!  Louis Colbert for your kind words, as you know, we got work to do!!!! 

Carmelita Tursi for always being so very understanding and supportive, and for being available and open to the new kids on the block! Talk soon!?   Hutson Inniss for coming in and doing the work necessary, thanks man!  Jewelle Gomez for being a great elder and movement leader.  Nancy Bereano, your mentorship and love is felt!   Brendalynn Goodall, my SISTA friend, for always having my back and just being a great supporter friend!

To Michelle Alcedo, my SFAM, for your continued energy and support!  Hope Barrett great seeing you as always, thanks for your words of encouragement.  Rev. Jaynce Jackson thanks for your words and for keeping everyone focused on why we were there.  To Sharon Day for bringing our native brothers’ and sisters’ voices to the table!  Don’t forget to say hi to Jackie for me!

Pauline Park thank you, it’s always good to have your voice in the room!  Tony Sarmiento what can I say, let’s make some noise, your brother in the struggle!  Mr. Bryan Epps from the moment I reached out to you, you were on board and have remained consistent in the process.  Thank you.  Let’s have lunch soon!

Mario Tapia we have got to do some more work together, let’s present our own initiative to the City Council and get it funded.  Call me!  Carmen Vazquez thanks.  That’s all I can say, thank you!!   Dion Wong  you brought a new clarity to the meaning of working in POC communities, I am humbled.

Dr. Rawha Haile, who was scheduled to be at the convening, was unable to attend because her father passed away.  I want to take this time to send out special thoughts of comfort, and a blessing to you and your family in celebration of your father’s amazing life!

Cheryl Reese thank you for being that voice in the room!  We got your information.  Imam Daayiee Abdullah thanks for lending your expertise to  this conversation!  Tracy Cooper you hit this one out the ballpark!  I knew you would!  To Edwin L. Walker, Senator Benjamin Cruz, the ASA/LAIN and all the participants I met … WE THANK YOU ALL.

GRIOT Circle is committed to working within and with the systems/committees to develop structure and support for the network.  We are also here to help with whatever else we can to move this project forward.  As I said during the closing plenary, it was not designed for GRIOT to be in charge of the network, that power is yours, it has to be organic and coming from the members, much like how we run GRIOT Circle.  We were the vehicle to bring us all together, now let us all build a network we can all be proud of.

With warm regards,

Glen-Michael Francis

Executive Director

GRIOT Circle, Inc.

PHOTO GALLERY: THE FIRST CONVENING

Over fifty aging professionals gathered in Washington, D.C. on October 12-13, 2011 for the First National Convening of POC LGBT Aging Professionals hosted at the AARP Brickfield Center.

The idea of organizing a National Convening targeted to POC leaders of organizations and POC elders in the community to create a cross-cultural aging Network to promote LGBT POC aging on a national platform came during the American Society on Aging (ASA) LAIN (LGBT Aging Issues Network) Retreat held 2010 in New Mexico and sponsored by the Arcus Foundation.

From the meeting emerged The POC “Hot Spot” committee of LAIN to help address the gaps and help inform an inclusive practice for future educational efforts of ASA.

This Convening is an occasion for discussion and an opportunity to develop the strategies for building a common vision among LGBT POC professionals, activists and allies committed to aging issues.  The Convening has been realized and the work of building a formidable network for aging professionals who serve the POC LGBT community has begun.  Here, we share some outtakes from the first day of facilitated discussions and group workshops.  Subsequent posts on the GRIOT Blog will record and report on this historic event, and the outcomes.

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Photography by SeanDrakes.com

FIRST NATIONAL POC LGBT CONVENING BEGINS

Oct. 11, 2011, Washington, D.C. — Professionals on aging in the people of color LGBT community arrived in the nation’s capital today for the First National POC LGBT Convening on Aging.  The two-day convening intends to build a network that strengthens alliances and fosters ongoing collaborations and broader discourse on issues, challenges and policies that effect the elder POC LGBT community.  The conference is a collaboration of the American Society on Aging‘s LGBT Aging Issues Network (LAIN) and GRIOT Circle, and is hosted at Brickfield Center with generous support from AARP and funding from The Atlantic Philanthropies.

The networking and opening reception allowed colleagues to meet and greet, some for the first time, and break bread together, before tackling the itinerary of workshops, small group sessions and facilitated panel dialogues on Wednesday and Thursday.  The evening closed with attendees screening three short film projects that document the trials and triumphs of some members of the elder POC LGBT community.  Michelle Alcedo of Openhouse in San Francisco showed her work-in-progress, GRIOT Circle shared the first installment of its Elders Speak series, and Hope Barrett of Center on Halsted in Chicago showed a portion of their documentary on LGBT elders living with HIV.

Helena Bushong, Trans-elder Community Advocate/Activist and Jewelle Gomez, Dir., Horizons Foundation.

Glen Francis, Exec. Dir., GRIOT Circle and Nancy Bereano.

Brian de Vries, Ph.D., prof. of gerontology, San Francisco State University, Dion Wong, coordinator, Gay Asian Pacific Alliance, and Scott Haitsuka, BASW, MSW intern.

Nancy Hinds, Brendalyn R. Goodall, MSW, and Marta Ames, Deputy Dir., Senior Service America.

Glen Francis, E.D., GRIOT Circle, Pauline Park, Chair, New York Assoc. for Gender Rights Advocacy, Helena Bushong, Trans-elder Community Advocate/Activist, Michelle Alcedo, Hope Barrett, MPH, Center on Halsted, and Scott Haitsuka, BASW, MSW intern.

Curtis Lipscomb, Exec. Dir., KICK-The Ageny for LGBT African-Americans, Donald Burch and (at far right) Nancy Bereano.

Anthony McPhatter, Fiscal Manager, GRIOT Circle and Aisha C. Young, M.A. AAC, Pres. & CEO, African-Americans in Gerontology.

Mario E. Tapia, E.D., Pres. & CEO, Latino Center on Aging, Laurens Van Sluytman, PhD, Assoc. Professor of Social Work, Morgan State College and Bonnie Harrison, MSHC, LMHC, Dir. Program Services and Evaluation, GRIOT Circle.

Nancy Hinds and Don Kao, Director, Project Reach.

National Convening participants at opening reception view short films presented by the Center on Halsted in Chicago, GRIOT Circle of Brooklyn, and Michelle Alcedo of Openhouse-San Francisco.

INSIGHTS ON CONVENING OF AGING PROFESSIONALS – Post 4

In effort to provide insights, address questions and foster clarity around the function, expectations and importance of the upcoming National Convening of Aging Professionals, GRIOT Circle provides post #4 in this Q&A series.

Please use the comment tab at the bottom of this post to expand the discussion on this topic and present your questions.

WHERE CAN I WATCH OR READ A REPORT OF WHAT HAPPENS DURING THE TWO-DAY CONVENING IN D.C.?

Another intended outcome of the Convening will be written reports of all interactions, discussions, decisions, suggestions made there.  We’re having a team of volunteers who will ensure faithful and detailed transcriptions will be shared with our funder and the general public.  These documents will also be made available on GRIOT Circle’s website and Blog.

HOW DO I EXPLAIN WHY THIS CONVENING IS IMPORTANT TO MY PEERS?

As stated earlier, this Convening marks a historic moment in U.S. public health where the needs of the POC LGBT elder community will be addressed competently and openly.

WILL ISSUES FACED BY CAREGIVERS BE ADDRESSED AND SOLVED?

Absolutely! One major challenge to chronic health care disparities is provider cultural competency or lack thereof.  It’s easy to talk about promoting positive health behaviors and encouraging healthier lifestyles among the POC LGBT elders, but it’s quite another thing to translate this into language, tools and concepts readily accessible to this population.  Cultural competence, at the provider level and at the institutional level, is a key goal of education on POC LGBT aging health issues.  A provider’s lack of cultural competence has been shown to negatively affect not only provider-patient interaction and care-giving, but also the patient’s care seeking behavior.  Conversely, it’s a well established health care fact that the provisions of health care services that are respectful of and responsive to the health beliefs, practices and needs of diverse patients can help close the gap in health care outcomes.

How Your Greatest Insecurities Reveal Your Deepest Gifts

Your Core Gifts:The Powerful, Unexpected Path To Love

By Ken Page, LCSW in Finding Love

In my decades of practice as a psychotherapist, this is the insight that has inspired me most:

Our deepest wounds surround our greatest gifts.

I’ve found that the very qualities we’re most ashamed of, the ones we keep trying to reshape or hide, are in fact the key to finding real love. I call them core gifts.

It’s so easy to get lost in the quest for self-improvement. Every billboard seduces us with the vision of a happier, more successful life. I’m suggesting an opposite road to happiness. If we can name our own awkward, ardent gifts, and extricate them from the shame and wounds that keep them buried, we’ll find ourselves on a bullet train to deep, surprising, life-changing intimacy.

Over the years, I realized that the characteristics of my clients which I found most inspiring, most essentially them, were the ones which frequently caused them the most suffering.  Some clients would complain of feeling like they were “too much”; too intense, too angry, or too demanding. From my therapist’s chair, I would see a passion so powerful that it frightened people away.

TO READ FULL ARTICLE, CLICK HERE –>  Psychology Today.