IDOA Director Paula Basta Joins Thrive with Pride Monthly Plenary

Paula Basta, director of the Illinois Department on Aging, headlined AgeOptions’ July Thrive with Pride virtual plenary. Approximately 35 people joined the discussion, during which Director Basta shared helpful resources, including information on rent and mortgage payment relief during the pandemic.

Her message, “You are not alone,” resonates with the Thrive with Pride mission to combat social isolation among LGBT+ older adults and caregivers. Click here to watch the plenary and her conversation with AgeOptions CEO Diane Slezak.

Thrive with Pride is a new program that is part of AgeOptions’ commitment to improving LGBT+ cultural competency and service throughout the agency. It is funded by Community Memorial Foundation and the Chicago Community Trust.

Originally planned as in-person gatherings at community locations, Thrive with Pride Cafes are currently meeting in online sessions. The cafes are a network of community sites that provide social support and a space for LGBT+ older adults and caregivers to learn more about benefits, share their stories and discuss topics that matter in a safe and affirming environment. AgeOptions partners with nine site hosts throughout suburban Cook County to reach this often ignored population and provides programming tailored to the needs and interests of participants at each site.

For the August plenary, Thrive with Pride partnered with the AgeOptions Benefits Access team and their Boost Your Budget initiative to offer information on benefits. Future programming includes Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP), the Center for Disability and Elder Law, Adult Protective Services’ Money Smart program and Take Charge of Your Health (see below).

For more information on Thrive with Pride and the monthly sessions, go to All cafes are now meeting online through the end of 2020 at the earliest. When in-person gatherings are once again possible, they will meet at least monthly at AgeOptions’ partner sites. To connect with one of our partner cafes, contact Kate Spelman, Aging with Pride program specialist,

Take Charge of Your Health for LGBT+ Older Adults

Thrive with Pride is joining the Take Charge of Your Health team to present a virtual Take Charge of Your Health workshop series for LGBT+ older adults, caregivers and their allies.

AgeOptions Take Charge of Your Health workshop are for individuals with ongoing health conditions and their caregivers. They meet weekly for six weeks in 2.5 hour sessions. We believe LGBT+ participants in a peer community that is safe and affirming will feel at ease more quickly and be able to share more freely, which will enhance outcomes.

Take Charge of Your Health participants can:

  • Find out how healthy eating can improve your condition
  • Create an exercise program that works for you
  • Gain support and encouragement from others living with ongoing health conditions
  • Learn ways to improve communication with family, friends and health care providers
  • Develop your own weekly goals to help manage your condition
  • Learn problem-solving strategies to help cope with pain, fatigue and frustration
Posted on September 1, 2020

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