Greg Moore lost his partner Richard to Alzheimer’s disease last summer. They had been together for 49 years.
As primary caregiver, Greg learned through an exhausting and painful experience that there are not many LGBT-friendly programs in place to help.
So as a legacy to honor Richard, Greg recently donated a grant to Our Fund, South Florida’s only LGBT community foundation, that was used to form a new partnership with the Alzheimer’s Association of Southeast Florida.
David Jobin, president and CEO of Our Fund Foundation, said the grant is going toward “needs assessment and new programs to assist LGBT adults with Alzheimer’s.”
Diversity and inclusion are now part of the Alzheimer’s Association’s mission, Jobin said. He is hoping South Florida will serve as a model for the best practices to be launched nationally.
“There’s currently a generation of LGBT seniors who might be considered elder orphans. Many did not expect to live as long as they have or planned to care for an aging partner with dementia. Their reality often is very different from that of heterosexual couples dealing with Alzheimer’s,” Jobin said.
At the 2018 Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in Chicago in July, researchers at the University of California released new data from a study of aging LGBT adults. It provides “the first dementia prevalence data from a large population of lesbian, gay and bisexual older adults.”
“While the LGBT community faces many of the same age-related health challenges as everyone else, those who are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s often have additional obstacles to overcome,” Jobin said. “They are more likely to be unmarried and live alone, and far less likely to have children. For heterosexuals, children often are the ones who notice early signs of dementia in their parents and arrange for their care.”
Situations also can become worse because many who are suffering with Alzheimer’s are more likely to delay reaching out for help because of the dual stigma of being LGBT and having dementia. This leads to isolation and more health problems.
Fort Lauderdale resident Greg Moore found very few resources to help him take care of Richard.
He found a lack of support groups for LGBT caregivers, and few LGBT-friendly senior living facilities and medical support staff trained in cultural competency.
Our Fund is making great strides to change this, especially with its new alliance with the Alzheimer’s Association through the Moore grant.
“Together, we’ve developed a variety of solutions for adults with Alzheimer’s and vital support for caregivers,” Jobin said. “In early 2019, we will introduce the very first LGBT community support group in South Florida where caregivers and people afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease can find comfort, speak freely and connect with the resources they need.”
“The first step in our action plan is the training of knowledgeable support group facilitators who are sensitive to the pressing needs of caregivers and patients alike, including challenges that are unique to LGBT people. Such support groups are not currently available and we believe they will make a huge difference in the lives of people who otherwise would be struggling alone,” Jobin said.
“Greg Moore and Richard, part of the last generation to ‘come out,’ grew up in a time way before marriage equality when LGBT people were intimidated and on guard, and historically shied away from institutional help as it was either very uncomfortable or non-existent,” he said.
But thanks to the Moores’ donation, their struggle will create change for the better.
“We were able to create a powerful, new strategic alliance with the Alzheimer’s Association of South Florida,” Jobin said. “We are extremely proud to introduce this innovative and comprehensive program, which serves an ever-growing, aging LGBT population in South Florida.”
Our Fund has a mission “to secure the LGBT community’s future by promoting and increasing responsible philanthropy, strengthening community organizations and their leaders, and connecting donors to causes that matter.” For more, visit our-fund.org.
Two holiday concerts
Step away from the hectic time of the season and enjoy holiday music by these two community groups.
▪ The Kendall Orchestra will present its second annual free Holiday Celebration Concert, 6 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 16, at 7600 SW 104th St.
The Kendall Choir will lead a sing-along of Christmas music. Soprano Daisy Su, returning from her performance in Carnegie Hall in Mark Hayes’ “Hodie Christus Natus Est,” will be featured in “O Holy Night” and “Winter Wonderland.”
“Last year’s concert was so successful, that I immediately decided to make it an annual event,” said Thom Proctor, director of the Kendall Orchestra.
The orchestra includes more than 50 volunteer musicians who rehearse every week from September through June on Wednesday nights. They perform for the community each month.
The concert will include the Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s “Appalachian Snowfall,” “Festive Sounds of Hanukkah,” “Troika,” “Celebration of Hanukkah,” “Messiah Suite,” and a narration of “A Night Before Christmas.”
It is suggested you arrive early to get a seat. For more information, call 305-667-0343.
▪ Orchestra Miami will host a holiday event, one in a series of Family Fun concerts, 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 16, at Pinecrest Gardens, 11000 SW 57 Ave.
Sponsored by Nicklaus Children’s Pinecrest Hospital Outpatient Center, these one-hour concerts are a good way to introduce children to performance. Juice and cookies are served afterward. If you arrive early, children can learn about musical instruments at an interactive session by Allegro Music Center.
The holiday concert will celebrate cultures around the world. Performers include the Ballet Folklorico Miami, the Miami Association of Indian Americans for Culture and Arts, and the United Chinese Association of Florida. A choral performance of Christmas holiday favorites, and a sing-along will be featured. St. Nick is scheduled to make a stop, too.
Founded in 2006 by Artistic Director Elaine Rinaldi, Orchestra Miami has a mission to bring affordable concerts to all people in Miami-Dade County. The group’s musicians are professionals who live in South Florida. Visit OrchestraMiami.org to learn more and purchase tickets. Or call 305-274-2103.
Advance purchase tickets are $10 for kids three to 17, $12 for seniors 65 and up, and $15 for everyone else. At the door tickets will be $12, $15, and $18. Children under three years old can sit on a parent’s lap and attend for free.