The current Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak is changing the landscape of our daily lives, causing disruptions to everyday activities and uncertainty for the future.

As a service provider for older adults, Empath Health is highly aware of the challenges presented to this group by COVID-19. This is especially true for LGBT elders, who are already less likely to reach out to a health or wellness provider out of fear of discrimination or harassment.

The National Resource Center on LGBT Aging currently cites a mortality rate of 15% for older people affected with COVID-19. LGBT elders are at a high risk of experiencing serious symptoms of COVID-19 if the virus is contracted because of high rates of HIV and cancer and of tobacco use.

SAGE (Services & Advocacy for LGBT Elders) offers these tips and resources to help older adults navigate the COVID-19 outbreak:

Follow prevention guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

  • Clean your hands often. Wash with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water is not available, use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
  • Clean high-touch surfaces every day. This includes phones, remote controls, keyboards, tablets, doorknobs, counters and tabletops.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes. Throw away used tissues and immediately clean your hands.
  • Wear a facemask if you are sick or if you are caring for someone who is sick and unable to wear a mask.

 Prepare an emergency home quarantine kit.

  • Have enough food, water, drinks with electrolytes and medication to last for at least 14 days.
  • Stock up on (not hoard) cleaning supplies, pet care items and baby care items. Make sure you have a fully stocked first aid kit.
  • Transgender people may need to consider additional items:
    • At least a 14 day supply of hormones or other medical items
    • Specific grooming or beauty items
    • Access to prescriptions, IDs and legal documents – including court orders for name and/or gender change or other identification showing chosen name and/or gender

Call your doctor if you are showing symptoms. If you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 and develop a fever, cough or difficulty breathing, call your healthcare provider for advice. Follow instructions from your healthcare provider and local health department.

Know the resources available to you:

  • Food assistance may be available through your local Area Agency on Aging (AAA). Search for your AAA or call 1-800-677-1116.
  • Check to see if your city or county government offers a Special Needs Registry that offers safety and well-being checks for older adults and people with special needs during emergency situations.
  • Stay connected with family and friends by phone, email and video chat to reduce feelings of social isolation and loneliness.
  • Many people at lower-risk for severe outcomes from COVID-19 want to help. Ask for help with things such as grocery shopping or picking up prescriptions and arrange for them to drop items at your front door to maintain distancing.
  • Call the SAGE Hotline at 877-360-LGBT (5428) to talk with someone ready to listen at any time.
  • Transgender people can find additional resources at

To Those We Serve:

Empath Health is dedicated to protecting the safety of our patients, employees, volunteers and care partners. Learn more about how we are addressing COVID-19 concerns.