At Hebrew SeniorLife (HSL) we celebrate diversity and welcome people of all religions, cultures, races, sexual orientation, gender expression, and class backgrounds. An example of how we do this is with our LGBTQ Initiative. The goal of this effort is to ensure that LGBTQ seniors seeking HSL health services or homes in our senior living communities receive excellent care, feel comfortable and respected, and are able to be honest and open about who they are.

HSL encourages a climate of innovation and progress, and is committed to person-centered care, paying special attention to seniors who are most vulnerable in our communities, and asking what matters to all of those we serve.

Under our hospital license, we work hard at Hebrew Rehabilitation Center to honor our Patient Bill of Rights, which includes the following mandates that all patients are:

  • treated with respect, courtesy, and dignity;
  • provided services to attain the highest practicable physical, mental, and psychosocial well-being; and
  • free to choose who may or may not visit.

What We Are Doing

We began our LGBTQ Initiative in the spring of 2016 with workshops at several of our senior living communities and the Hebrew SeniorLife Hospice Care team to train staff in how to care for LGBTQ seniors. This program was designed to help create an environment where LGBTQ seniors feel accepted, supported, and don’t delay care because they fear discrimination. It’s also helping seniors in our communities feel at ease and open about the LGBTQ children, grandchildren, and friends in their lives. In the spring of 2017, we trained more than 450 staff at HRC to care for LGBTQ patients.

We have incorporated a one-of-a-kind chaplaincy education unit, Spiritual Care of LGBTQ Elders in our Clinical Pastoral Education program.
We created an HSL-wide employee task force. Its mission is to not only help HSL become a welcoming and inclusive organization for our LGBTQ residents, patients, and their family members, but also truly accepting of our LGBTQ employees.

We’re now moving on to work with our patient communities to build more understanding.

Our Partnerships

We partner with the following community organizations who are dedicated to promoting the rights and well-being of LGBTQ elders.

  • Fenway Health LGBTQ Aging Project
  • Keshet - a national organization that works for full LGBTQ equality and inclusion in Jewish life
  • SAGE – advocacy and services for LGBTQ elders

And, we are proud sponsors of:

  • Boston’s Pride Parade
  • The Pride Silver Party
  • Newton Senior Center’s LGBTQ elder lunch program

To learn more about our initiative, we invite you to read the following blogs:

Our LGBTQ Initiative is supported by grants from:

  • The Equality Fund at the Boston Foundation
  • E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation
  • Centre for Aging and Brain Health Innovation

National Resource Center on LGBT Aging articles PDF download: