LGBTQ and the aging population: What you need to know as a care provider today

Posted by & filed under Inspiration, Training.

LGBTQ Aging Population


If you’re like me, your understanding of the issues surrounding inclusiveness and LGBTQ aging adults has been an evolving process.

You want to be informed and sensitive to the issues of members of this community – but you’re not sure who they are or what they need.

You may feel completely at a loss with the current acronyms, pronouns, terms and staying abreast with today’s “politically correct” language related to LGBTQIA+ issues (see what I mean about terminology?).

Some days you may simple think, “Thank goodness this is not a topic I need to think about every day.”

And you’d be wrong.

Members of the LGBTQ community include people of all ages, races and ethnicities.  Estimates today are that 3 million LGBTQ individuals in the U.S. are 55 and older and are part of a rapidly growing population of LGBTQ elders.  Today, if you are serving elders, you are serving individuals who are part of the LGBTQ community.  These elders are much more likely to have see themselves working well into old age, fear they’ll outlive their money and suffer from depression and loneliness than non-LGBTQ elders.

In fact, according to SAGE, Services and Advocacy for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Elders, 39% of LGBTQ elders have seriously contemplated suicide, 31% suffer from depression and 53% suffer from loneliness.  Among those living in long term care communities, only 22% feel they can be open and honest about their LGBTQ identities with their providers.

It’s a staggering state of being for LGBTQ elders, and a tremendous challenge for providers.

Here are some starter steps all providers should consider and begin taking to advance inclusiveness in their organization:

• Start educating your team.  If it’s hard for us to understand how to best expand our inclusiveness, imagine how hard it is for the caregiver who is genuinely trying to provide the best care possible, often without the information needed to do this well in respect to the person’s true identity.  Like any tough subject, the more we talk about it, learn about it and let our team know we are committed to the best care possible for everyone, regardless of their gender identity and expression, the more we’ll expand our ability to truly care for all elders.

• Continue to educate yourself.  LGBTQ elders face more challenges, more prejudice and have more needs than non-LGBTQ elders.  Increasing your own awareness of these needs will help you better prepare and deliver care for this population.  Learn when – and why – to ask what pronouns a person uses; what terms to use and avoid, and how to talk about LGBTQ issues with your team.

• Communicate your commitment through messages on your website.  Statements of inclusiveness signal to the community at large that you are committed to offering quality care to all.  A visual symbol of this commitment to inclusiveness is the rainbow flag, a symbol many place on their website and communication materials.

• Find a connection in your community that can help you educate your team as well as be a guide and resource to you.  It’s great to find someone you can turn to with any question, including the ones that some might find insensitive or offensive.  It’s a huge relief to know there’s somewhere to turn to help you navigate these rapidly changing waters, too.

As a care provider today, this is knowledge you need to truly meet the needs of the elders in your community.  It’s not a bonus – it’s an essential.

Watch the replay of Sharon’s interview with Katie Carter, Director of Strategic Partnerships, Pride Foundation, as they discuss these and other issues related to LGBTQ elders.


World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

Posted by & filed under Safety.

Elder Abuse Awareness

I was standing at the checkout line in a busy department store.  The older woman ahead of me was fumbling in her purse for her wallet, with no success.  Her adult daughter, clearly along to help her shop, looked at her a moment, asked, “didn’t you bring your wallet?”  I held my breath, wondering whether the next words out of her mouth would be blame, frustration, or anger.  I could certainly understand if so – we had all been standing in line for several minutes, waiting to be helped.  I was sure this daughter, like me, was busy with her own life.  Taking time out to help her mom shop was probably not on the top of her priority list for the afternoon.

And then the daughter burst out laughing.  She turned to her mom and said, “That’s all right – we sure had fun looking at clothes today.  We’ll come back another day and buy them all.”

At that moment, I didn’t care that I’d been standing in line a long time.  I didn’t care how many other things I still had to do that day.  My heart was warmed as I thought that this daughter had given her mother an incredible gift that day – a gift of accepting mom’s forgetfulness with grace and laughter.

Today is National Elder Abuse Awareness Day.  You’ll probably read many stories about abuse of vulnerable older people, because it is a real tragedy that occurs in every neighborhood across the country, every single day.

I wanted to share a different kind of story with you today – a story of a family member – maybe a family caregiver – who showed grace, patience and good humor even in a stressful, public situation.

Because it is exactly these individuals – family caregivers, in exactly these environments – stressful situations, although usually private rather than public, where abuse most frequently occurs.

Families who are maxed out with their own life demands, and now are called upon to help an aging parent, experience the kind of stress each of us would feel.  Some respond with grace and humor; others with frustration, anger and blame.  Those feelings may turn into behaviors that reduce the person’s sense of self-worth, may result in the person’s feeling they have a right to spend some of their family member’s money to compensate for how hard they’re working, or may even result in a physical slap, push or other hurtful behavior.

All of this is abuse.

All of this causes unspeakable pain to the vulnerable elder, who once was a proud, independent person; now dependent on others for basic life tasks.

We frequently say, “It takes a village” referring to raising children who are moral, decent human beings.

I’d like to propose that it also takes a village to prevent abuse of vulnerable adults.

It takes all of us to reach out a helping hand and reduce the stress on the caregiver.

It takes all of us to pay attention to the elders around us, and to notice when they’ve grown much quieter than usual, or seem afraid to speak their mind.  To see red marks from a wrist squeezed too tightly, or the bruise from a strike made in anger or frustration. To notice financial irregularities or someone who is losing too much weight, possibly from neglect.

That day in the store I felt a warm glow, and thanked the daughter for her kindness.  We ended the day with smiles on our faces as we laughed together about silly mistakes or episodes of forgetfulness we’ve all experienced.  That is the way I hope my own daughters would treat me if I should be dependent on them someday for simple tasks I do today with ease.  That is the way I hope I can treat my own mother, even if I feel frustrated at times by the added burden of care.

Today, thinking about ways to prevent abuse of vulnerable adults, let’s picture the world we want to see, and do everything we can to help that world be the reality of the elders in our community.

Elder Abuse Alert: What providers need to know in 2017

Posted by & filed under Compliance, Safety.


If you didn’t have a chance to join our webinar last week on this topic you missed an informative, fast-paced hour of information key to managing your senior care business.

Watch Replay Here


Joe Greenman, an attorney who specializes in issues for senior care providers was our special guest.  He discussed timely issues surrounding elder abuse, and provided experienced guidance for managing this within your business or community.  Among the key points discussed:

The Elder Justice Act, part of the Obama Administration’s Affordable Care Act, won’t be going away with the revision/repeal of “ObamaCare.”  The provisions in this Act are designed to promote a more consistent and coordinated investigation into elder abuse allegations.  It establishes four areas of elder abuse:  physical, emotional, mental and financial, and focuses on programs to stop elder abuse.

Read more »

Domestic Violence

Posted by & filed under Safety, Training.


In the US, one woman is fatally shot by a spouse, ex-spouse or dating partner every 14 hours.

It is a shocking statistic.

Domestic Violence affects every demographic and knows no boundary of race, economic status, nationality or sexual orientation, or level of education.

Nearly three in ten women and one in ten men in the United States reported at least one incident related to some form of violent behavior in a relationship.

Read more »

7 Action Strategies to Build your Dream Team

Posted by & filed under About Us, Inspiration, Training.


I was speaking at a conference of senior care providers on the topic of growing your business when someone stopped me mid-sentence with this observation:  “I can’t take care of one more client unless I can find good caregivers.”  He went on to note that recruiting quality applicants is no longer easy.  In fact, he said, most days it feels almost impossible.

This provider is certainly not alone in his quest to attract quality candidates to his team.  In fact, a recent survey by technology provider OnShift titled “Workforce Insights: Get Ahead” notes that 63% of senior care providers find human capital management one of their top operational priorities.  The report notes that three areas are most challenging:  finding qualified candidates, employee retention and satisfaction and staff scheduling.

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The 4R’s of Senior Care: Recruiting, Retention, Referrals and Regulations

Posted by & filed under About Us, Compliance, Industry News, Inspiration, Legislation, Training.


The 4R’s: Recruiting, Retention, Referrals and Regulations are truly the pillars of Senior Care. As we examine each “R”, I will do my best to give you practical insights. Some ideas that you can ponder and others ideas that you implement right away.

As you may know, my background was in hospitality, hotel management, prior to joining IPCed and OnCourse Learning.  The service industry has similar challenges to senior care, particularly with respect to recruiting and retention, and I’ve learned a few things along the way that will be helpful. One thing I can assure you is that your training program will make a difference. Look at Waldorf Astoria, Four Seasons or Ritz Carlton… each of these brands is synonymous with award winning quality. Each having exceptional training programs that are customer focused and drilled into their entire staff. And, if you look at leaders in senior care… I bet my bottom dollar that they have incredible orientation and training programs that focus on exceeding expectations and developing cultures of continuous improvement.

Okay, so where do we go from here? Let’s take a closer look at each of these business critical R’s and see if we can’t improve our key indicators as we begin with Recruiting.

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A Conversation with an Angel

Posted by & filed under About Us.


As we began the New Year, we would like to reflect a moment on the 2016 Caregiver of the Year, an annual award given by the Home Care Association of America (HCAOA) in recognition of exemplary commitment, compassion and empathy to clients and client families.

The Institute for Professional Care Education (IPCed) had the distinct honor of presenting the 2016 award to Betty Bibb, Community Care Coordinator with Home Helpers Home Care of Corsicana in Texas.

A two-time cancer survivor, Betty became a caregiver because she “wanted to comfort others as her husband had cared for and comforted her” while she was ill.

“I had breast cancer in 2003 and tonsil cancer in 2005, and came close to dying. While my husband took care of me, I gained a special perspective on what it is like to be both a caregiver and the one needing care. Ultimately, I developed a new level of compassion for my clients. To this day, I adore my clients – they’re like family to me.”

Read more »

The 2017 Home Care Benchmarking Study Survey is now open

Posted by & filed under About Us.

Every year Home Care Pulse performs the largest annual study on the private duty home care industry, and publishes the results as the annual Home Care Benchmarking Study. This resource provides insights, data, and trends on recruitment, retention, marketing, sales, finance, operations, and more.

IPCed is happy to be a contributor to the report, and hopefully to build better data, if you are a Home Care provider, you should consider taking the survey. This year those who complete the survey will receive discounts on their pre-order of the Study, as well as an ebook titled “7 Key Strategies Leaders Use to Decrease Caregiver Turnover and Fuel Growth.”

Visit for more details on participation.

Are you interested in learning more about retaining your best talent? You should also consider attending our webinar series. This year we focus on how online training for your caregivers will help you achieve competency in the Four R’s: Retention, Recruitment, Regulations and Referrals. Ultimately to help you achieve that gold fifth R – Revenue!

Webinars for All: Experts to Present at IPCed

Posted by & filed under About Us.

It was announced this week that the Institute for Professional Care Education (IPCed) will be, for the first time, opening up their very popular webinar series to other vendors and providers. This unique opportunity will allow senior care visionaries to share their best practices and stories to a new and larger audience.

Open until the end of February, those interested can go online to submit their abstracts. The theme is “The Four R’s: Retention, Recruitment, Referrals and Regulation.” All submitted topics must be related to senior care providers retaining staff, recruiting new staff, obtaining client referrals and/or keeping up with regulations and remaining in compliance. Sessions may cover one or all of the topics. All presentations must include reference to why professional educational development and continuing education are core to be successful in one or all of these topics.

Submissions must include a presentation abstract of 150-200 words, the presenter’s biography and speaking history, and learning outcomes for the session. Presentations are to be no longer than one hour in length. Those interested in presenting a webinar through IPCed’s webinar series are encouraged to contact Marc Reed, Marketing Manager for more information. The abstract submission form is available here

In 2016, IPCed held an average of three webinars a month, attracting registrations that averaged anywhere from 500 to 1,000 a month. The viewers of these webinars ranged across the eldercare continuum, including Home Care, Home Health, Hospice, Private Duty Home Care, Assisted Living Facilities and Skilled Nursing Facilities.

Blending High Tech and High Touch

Posted by & filed under About Us, Training.

By Anne-Lise Gere

Anne-Lise was a guest speaker for the Institute for Professional Care Education (IPCed) Webinar Series. Here webinar can be found here:

Blend high tech and high touch for maximum benefit

Online learning (or e-learning) has emerged as one of the main methods of delivering caregiver training. In addition to the obvious benefit of saving time and money, online training offers other benefits:

  • Accelerate how quickly caregivers become proficient at a new skill
  • Increase client satisfaction because caregivers are skilled and knowledgeable
  • Increase caregiver engagement because they have the skills to be successful in their job.

Most care providers use a third party training provider and IPCed is a well-known player in the field. Franchise owners will also rely on the training resources provided by their corporate organization.

However, online training by itself is not the silver bullet. Consider blending high tech and high touch. Learning a new skill via online training followed by supervised, hands-on application ensures the knowledge transfers smoothly to the real world. The interaction, while building confidence, also allows caregivers to ask questions.

Mandatory but Flexible Training

Pay caregivers to attend training. It’s part of their job. It’s an investment your agency makes in its workforce. Offer several training sessions on the same topic to accommodate shifts. For example, at Visiting Angels in Newport News VA, all mandatory meetings are offered twice: one session in the morning and another in afternoon to accommodate work and personal schedules.

Training Key to Retention (again!)

According to research by Home Care Pulse, It’s interesting to note that satisfaction with training correlates with job satisfaction. In other words, caregivers who are satisfied with the training they receive are likely to promote your Agency as a great place to work and attract like-minded caregivers to you. On the other hand, those who are dissatisfied with the training are less likely to recommend your agency as a good place to work. In a time of caregivers’ shortage, having a strong caregiver training program becomes as a retention imperative.

Don’t Neglect Team Building

Caregiving can be a lonely job. Hands-on training is a great opportunity to break up the isolation for the caregivers. It’s also a chance for you to stay in touch with your employees.

If you can get your caregivers together for hands-on training, the training now becomes a team building event, even though you don’t even mention it! It’s a chance for caregivers to socialize with colleagues and share experiences.

Training promotes employees’ commitment to your agency as they feel get a sense for the Agency at large.

About Anne-Lise

Anne-Lise Gere, SPHR is an HR advisor and independent consultant. As the owner of Gere Consulting Associates LLC, she works with home care agencies across the country to improve caregiver recruitment and retention. Agency owners and administrators also seek her HR expertise to address their employee relations challenges.

For more information about the services offered by Gere Consulting, check the website