New group aims to help elderly GLBT community

There's a new non-profit organization in Nashville specifically devoted to assisting GLBT senior citizens.

Pride Senior Services was founded late last year by Michael Lasser in an effort to assist elderly men and women in finding care and comfortable living. He said it took quite a while to achieve his goal.

“It’s been a labor of love of mine for many years mostly in terms of providing personal assistance, information gathering and visitations, etc.,” Lasser said.

The organization provides several services including personal assistance with errands, transportation, cooking and visitation. Lasser said the group's largest and most-popular service is a bi-monthly senior support and social group. And Lasser isn’t stopping there. He's currently working with a grief counselor to create a same-sex grief support group, too.

Through his organization, Lasser is committed to getting the seniors he helps out and active in the world. The organization provides volunteer and social experiences and is also developing career assessment testing and advocating job development for seniors wanting to stay in the work force.

Pride Senior Services works to provide multi-cultural diversity packets and training at no cost to home health agencies and nursing facilities so they may better accommodate the people they serve.

“Pride Senior Services was founded after talking with local seniors through my volunteer work about what their needs as older individuals were and what was important to them in regards to community,” Lasser said.

Lasser looked at national LGBT senior support groups such as SAGE (Senior Action In A Gay Environment) and decided to bring a similar level of service to Nashville. He is assisted by a small group of volunteers who are specifically trained in senior care and have passes background checks, he said.

Lasser's background in political science, sociology and theater as an undergraduate at Tennessee Tech helped him get his organization off the ground. He is now working towards a master’s degree in counseling psychology so he can continue to develop services for the people he serves.

“I spent a considerable amount of time researching other cities that were comparable to Nashville’s size and what these groups were providing," Lasser said. "I realized that as a community we can do better.”

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