Posted: December 16, 2022
By: Stormie Foust Maley, Annual Giving Manager, and Olivia Mayer, Director of Donor Relations with Christian Living Communities
Since December of 2017, Dayspring Villa, near Sloan’s Lake, has made space for a group of LGBT seniors, team members, and their allies to gather together monthly. This elder-driven group, LGBT + Friends, has served as a safe forum for participants to discuss challenges they have overcome and the advocacy and work towards inclusivity that they would still like to accomplish. The group also includes older adults from neighboring Francis Heights, an independent living community. In addition to its monthly forums, the group has hosted LGBT film nights and an annual PRIDE BBQ.
Dayspring Villa’s LGBT + Friends Group Featured in Collective Colorado Story
We are thrilled and honored that Dayspring Villa’s LGBT + Friends group was featured in a December 2022 story by journalist Claire Cleveland, originally published by Collective Colorado. LGBTQ+ older adults can face a lot of uncertainty and even discrimination when searching for a senior living community to call home. It’s wonderful to share how our community actively works to create space and belonging for LGBTQ+ residents! This story was also published by The Colorado Sun.
In January of 2020, the LGBT + Friends group gathered for a learning circle to talk about a big, important question: How can we reduce inequality in senior living communities for LGBT older adults? Participants are profoundly aware that the majority of LGBT older adults seeking senior living choose to go back into the closet, choosing not to share that they are LGBT out of fear that they will receive inequitable treatment. Residents shared ideas on what they thought an inclusive community for LGBT elders would look like.
Among their ideas and comments:
With this vision in mind, on behalf of the group, Dayspring Villa and Christian Living Communities (CLC), the operations owner, in partnership with the University of Colorado, applied for and were awarded a grant from The Colorado Health Foundation to address health inequities faced by LGBT older adults. The project, “We’re just as normal as everybody else”, is rooted in this vision for inclusive assisted living communities.
The goal of this two-year project has been to train and educate associates at six CLC-owned communities in Colorado to create a culture of equity inside assisted living communities. In year one, the focus was on creating a video featuring stories from LGBT elders and team members living and working in CLC communities titled “Caring for All: Opening Hearts and Minds.” This year, the video was screened and shared with team members and residents , with opportunities for conversation about the video after.
Through this training and education, our goal is for Dayspring Elders’ vision of inclusive senior living communities to be realized. The work aligns with CLC’s value of We! Belong, which focuses on belonging and whole-person wellness, and its commitment to creating communities where aging is honored and celebrated. This training has also been shared with other senior living providers at the 2022 National Leading Age Conference in Denver.
Dayspring Villa is pleased to have had the opportunity to partner with the University of Colorado, which has helped evaluate the effectiveness of this training as well as administer the grant. If you would like to learn more about this training, please contact Stormie Foust Maley at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To find out more about life at Dayspring Villa, please contact us.