ALEXANDRIA, VA – In June Goodwin House Incorporated (GHI), which has served older adults for over 53 years, announced to its staff that the organization had received Gold Status with SAGECare. SAGECare is a leader in training businesses to understand challenges faced by the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community to create a more inclusive environment.
The Gold Status designation indicates that 60 percent of staff have taken at least one hour of training in LGBT Aging. It also signifies that the same percentage of executives have taken a minimum of four hours of training. Nearly all of GHI’s employees have taken advantage of this opportunity to learn.
GHI has two senior living communities in Alexandria: Goodwin House Alexandria and Goodwin House Bailey’s Crossroads.
According to Fran Casey, GHI’s Chief People Officer, when staff read the email about certification, positive messages filled her inbox.
“Responses began coming in saying how pleased and proud they were to work for an organization dedicated to diversity, equality, and inclusion,” she said.
Residents, some of whom identify as LGBT, were just as thrilled by the news. Those at the Bailey’s Crossroads location, Casey told The Zebra, supported certification from the start.
The road to reach that goal began in the fall of 2018. Senior management, nearly 50 individuals, took part in the initial four-hour training, which educated attendees about the challenges of older adults in the LGBT community. That session spawned into training for care staff. At present, SAGE training is offered at GHI’s bi-weekly orientation for new employees.
“Our goal is to inform, educate, and provide resources to all Goodwin House staff on the history, needs, and concerns of the LGBT community,” said Casey, “so that we may best address each person’s individual needs.”
One of GHI’s core values is community, and SAGECare training speaks to that inclusiveness. Striving to live their values is what drove GHI to seek out the opportunity for training. And it is why training will continue.
Casey knows that other communities for older adults see Goodwin House as a leader.
“I believe that by obtaining this credential, others will seek to learn more about what it means,” she said, “and begin conversations that lead to greater diversity and inclusion.”