It's hard enough caring for a loved one fading into dementia. When issues surrounding sexual identity are at play, things can get downright complicated.
So, to that end, a new support group for caregivers is forming as a collaborative effort between the Alzheimer's Association
and SAGE Metro St. Louis
, the nonprofit advocacy group for aging lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in and around the city.
"We wanted to provide a safe space where LGBT people can come and
know it's friendly," says Sarah Stout, outreach coordinator for the St.
Louis chapter of the Alzheimer's Association.
The group is open
to anyone caring for a person dealing with Alzheimer's or dementia where
sexual identity is a factor: LGBT folks caring for a partner, people caring for LGBT loved ones, LGBT people caring for loved ones...
"A lot of the caregiving day-to-day issues are going to be the same," as
any other support group, Stout says. "A couple things that are more
specific have to do with some of the legal issues -- visiting a loved
one in a nursing home or hospital, and end-of-life issues in general. A
legally-married couple will have those decision-making rights
automatically granted to them. There are other documents that need to be
in place for LGBT couples."
The group meets the third Thursday of each month at 6 p.m., starting
November 18 at Tower Grove Manor, 2710 South Grand. Participants don't
need to RSVP, but for more information, call SAGE's Sherrill Wayland at
(314) 772-5887. For information on other Alzheimer's Association groups
and meetings, call (800) 272-3900.