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Grace Ridge is Now a Credentialed LGBT-Friendly Senior Living Community

MORGANTON, NC–Grace Ridge is committed to meeting the needs of all older adults, including the growing lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender population. As part of that commitment, the community recently became one of just five retirement communities in North Carolina to earn a SAGECare credential for successfully completing the training program for LGBT cultural competency.

“We’re pleased to demonstrate with this certification our inclusive environment and dedication to serve a growing population of LGBT adults,” said Chris Romick, executive director at Grace Ridge. “No one should be discriminated against or feel isolated. Our staff is trained to foster a supportive environment.”

North Carolina is one of 26 states that doesn’t prohibit housing discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

The New York-based Advocacy & Services for LGBT Elders (SAGE) organization established its SAGECare training program for senior housing and senior care providers, centered on LGBT cultural competency. Grace Ridge has joined the almost 300 senior care providers nationwide who’ve received the SAGECare credential.

“We’re thrilled that Grace Ridge has earned their SAGECare credential and is committed to creating an inclusive community for LGBT residents, as well as a welcoming environment for LGBT family members of other residents,” said SAGE Senior Director of National Projects Tim Johnston, Ph.D.

SAGECare involves a four-hour intensive training session for upper management and one-hour in-person training programs for frontline caregivers and team members, as well as ongoing training and support. The training covers many topics, including:

  • The needs of LGBT seniors
  • Ways to reduce and respond to bias behavior
  • Overview of federal protections
  • Best practices to help create a supportive environment for current and future LGBT residents

“Over the course of my career in the senior living industry, I’ve met residents and staff who have struggled with their identity and being able to express themselves in a senior housing setting,” said Romick. “I feel strongly that being able to express yourself freely and share who you are is part of a quality of life experience that every community should provide. Grace Ridge has always been open arms, but now with the SAGECare credential, we can provide that extra affirmation.”

Spanning 52 acres in Morganton and nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Grace Ridge is a Life Plan Community owned and operated by Carolinas HealthCare System Blue Ridge.