Editor's note: The following is a press release.
Ethos, a not-for-profit organization established specifically to help frail elders remain at home for as long as possible, officially launched the Ethos Equality Fund (EEF) on February 17, during a reception at the Boston Public Library in Copley Square.
The Ethos Equality Fund is the Boston area's first fund solely dedicated to supporting the development, implementation, and expansion of programs, services, and activities that will enhance the quality of life for lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, and transgender (LGBT) elders and their support circles.
Dale Mitchell, executive Director of Ethos, said, “Few groups age with more challenges than LGBTs. Less likely to be partnered, more likely to be childless, and too often estranged from their own families, LGBTs face significant barriers to healthy aging. Isolation, depression, substance abuse, and suicide are major risks.”
Ethos has long been a leader in taking on the challenges facing elders and finding solutions to the vexing knot of problems that — often prematurely —push the isolated and homebound into nursing homes.
Mitchell says that other eldercare leaders agree that LGBT elders need support to age in their communities and with the caregivers of their own choosing.
A co-founder of the LGBT Aging Project, Ethos was the first eldercare agency in the state to go through LGBT staff training, the firstto open LGBT-friendly elder lunch sites, the first to offer LGBT-friendly volunteers, and the first to host support groups for LGBTcaregivers, as well as those grieving the loss of loved ones. “While other mainstream aging services organizations in the state may finally be embracing the challenge, no other has shown as much leadership on LGBT issues as Ethos,” Mitchell adds.
Ethos is proud of its work helping LGBTs age with dignity and respect. But according to Mitchell, much more needs to be done. “More venues for older LGBTs to socialize and learn, more support for stressed-out and grieving LGBT caregivers, more LGBT-trained home care aides and personal care attendants, more support for LGBTs aging with HIV/AIDS, and more safe LGBT-affirming housing opportunities are all desperately needed. The establishment of the Fund will mark a significant step forward forequality for older LGBTs and their caregivers.”
The Ethos Equality Fund has enthusiastic support from many community and business leaders, and the host committee included Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino and West Roxbury City Councilor Matt O’Malley; and the LGBT Aging Project’s Director Lisa Krinsky.
The EEF launch event also feature a special screening of the award-winning documentary "Gen Silent" - filmed in Boston by Director Stu Maddux—about LGBT elders and the issues they face in our healthcare system.
Ethos also operates the Agewell West Roxbury organization.