Support for Family Caregivers

By Michelle Talsma Everson. Photos courtesy of George Burson, David Samora, and Duet.

A little over a year ago, Echo talked to local couple George Burson and David Samora about their caregiving journey and the support they’ve received from local nonprofit Duet. Back then, Burson — who began working for Duet on a part-time basis this past fall — dreamed of launching a support group in the Valley specifically for LGBTQ+ family caregivers. (A family caregiver is defined as anyone who provides unpaid care for a loved one.)

Beginning on Thursday, June 6, that dream is a reality as Duet, in partnership with Community Church of Hope, will be offering a support group for local LGBTQ+ family caregivers on the first and third Thursdays of every month from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Community Church of Hope. Burson will be facilitating the group, which will be free of charge to all attendees.

“The idea for a support group specifically for LGBTQ+ family caregivers

has been in the works for at least two years,” Burson says. “Now, everything

seems to be falling in place and myself being a member of the LGBTQ+ community

is helpful to make this the right time to launch the group.”

So why the need for a support group specifically for LGBTQ+ caregivers?

“Many LGBTQ+ caregivers may have issues separately from those discussed

in a regular support group and they may feel more confident speaking openly in

an environment of fellow LGBTQ+ community members,” Burson explains. “Community

Church of Hope is a space created specifically with the LGBTQ+ community in

mind, so support group attendees may feel more at home there.”

“The LGBTQ+ community is growing and aging. The Community Church of Hope is committed to partnering with Duet in their work to support those who care for our aging population,” says Patrick Stout, pastor at Community Church of Hope. “Our location and facility will provide an open, safe environment for the facilitators and caregivers to share and learn how to assist our loved ones.”

George and David with Duet Caregiver Mentors.

According to a report titled “Out and Visible: The Experiences and

Attitudes of LGBT Older,” researchers noted that there are 3 million LGBTQ+

folks nationally who are age 55 and older. According to the Family Caregiver

Alliance, some issues that specifically impact older LGBTQ+ family caregivers

are: how “chosen family” (versus your family of origin) responsibilities may

impact caregiving; employer issues; finding supportive healthcare and service

providers; experiencing mistreatment or discrimination; maintaining a sense of

community; and maintaining their own well-being. Many of these same issues are

faced among all family caregivers, but may prove particularly challenging for

LGBTQ+ caregivers, experts note. 

“Most issues that you will face as an LGBT caregiver for an aging

parent or relative are the same as those faced by all caregivers. In a family

of origin, it is typical for one child to assume the role of primary caregiver

for an aging parent or parents. That responsibility often falls to the person

who lives closest to the parents or who does not have young children. For LGBT

people, the assumption that they do not have family responsibilities of their

own if they do not have children can be particularly hurtful,” according to the

Family Caregiver Alliance. “Even if you are ‘out’ to siblings and relatives,

they may not understand or appreciate that being part of a chosen family means

you have serious obligations and commitments. Depending on family dynamics and

communication styles, your role as a primary caregiver may be assumed without


“Many LGBTQ+ folks may have no children, so caregiving for an aging

relative almost automatically falls on them,” Burson echoes. “They also, like

other caregivers, may be caregiving for a spouse or child or other loved one.

This is a general support group, not disease specific, so we want to support

all LGBTQ+ family caregivers.”

Samora, Burson’s spouse and partner of nearly 30 years, does not

officially work for Duet but is still highly involved with the nonprofit and

advocating for the rights of the elderly.

“I am very happy and excited for George taking on this challenge with

Duet,” Samora shares. “It’s a much needed program, especially in the LGBTQ+


“I am 60 years old and I’m looking at our future and we see what happens in the care of elders in our community … There is no way a single person can do this on their own,” he continues. “I’m talking about paperwork, contacts, calling and making appointments and arriving to appointments. In the past years we have witnessed no consideration for the elderly. It is important that they need to be respected and cared with dignity. It is very important for the LGBTQ community to have a program like this. I have heard and witnessed many people in situations. They are caring for a loved one or a parent. They do not know where to turn or that there is even assistance out there.”

Because of his passion for caregiver causes and the rights of seniors,

Samora is now a volunteer with AARP on the advocacy for legislation of Arizona.

“I am looking at the future for us and for other people in our community,”

Samora notes.

In addition to their continued work with AARP and the new support

group, Burson and Samora have facilitated three “Finding Meaning and Hope”

video discussion series sessions for family caregivers and hope to facilitate

more as time allows.

In their own caregiving journey, the couple are still caregiving for Burson’s

mom, who is 90 years old. Burson shares that they had to make the hard decision

last fall to place her in a group home but he still visits regularly and is her


“This new support group for LGBTQ+ family caregivers is a no-pressure

opportunity to speak and share your experience with a group of people who

understand,” Burson shares.

Support group details: Being a caregiver can be even more complicated when you are a member

of the LGBTQ+ community. This new caregiver support group is designed to allow

you to speak freely about your concerns and issues with others who will

completely understand you. Whether you are caring for a spouse, a partner, a

parent, or a friend, you are not alone. Join us for emotional support, helpful

tips, and ways to better navigate this difficult caregiving journey.

Dates: 1st and 3rd Thursday of every month, from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Location: The Community Church of Hope, 4124 North Sixth Drive, in Phoenix. Please enter on Sixth Drive just north of Indian School Road. Admission is free. To RSVP, call George at Duet — 602-274-5022 ext. 139 or

To learn more about Duet and its other offerings for family caregivers, visit

WhistlePig + Alfa Romeo F1

SHOREHAM, VT (September 13, 2023) — WhistlePig Whiskey, the leaders in independent craft whiskey, and Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake are waving the checkered flag on a legend-worthy release that’s taking whiskey to G-Force levels. The Limited Edition PiggyBack Legends Series: Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake Barrel is a high Rye Whiskey selected by the Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake drivers, with barrels trialed in their wind tunnel to ensure a thrilling taste in every sip.

The third iteration in WhistlePig’s Single Barrel PiggyBack Legends Series, the Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake Barrel is bottled at 96.77 proof, a nod to Valtteri Bottas’ racing number, 77, and the precision of racing. Inspired by Zhou Guanyu, the first Chinese F1 driver, this Rye Whiskey is finished with lychee and oolong tea. Herbal and floral notes of the oolong tea complement the herbaceous notes of WhistlePig’s signature PiggyBack 100% Rye, rounded out with a juicy tropical fruit finish and a touch of spice.

Keep readingShow less
by Spectrum Medical Care Center

Nurse Practitioner Ari Kravitz

When I started medical transition at 20 years old, it was very difficult to get the care I needed for hormone replacement therapy because there are very few providers trained in starting hormones for trans people, even though it’s very similar to the hormones that we prescribe to women in menopause or cisgender men with low testosterone.

I hope more providers get trained in LGBTQ+ healthcare, so they can support patients along their individual gender journey, and provide the info needed to make informed decisions about their body. I’ve personally seen my trans patients find hope and experience a better quality of life through hormone replacement therapy.

Keep readingShow less

Descanso Resort swimming pool and lounge area

Descanso Resort, Palm Springs' premier destination for gay men, just received Tripadvisor's highest honor, a Travelers' Choice "Best of the Best" award for 2023. Based on guests' reviews and ratings, fewer than 1% of Tripadvisor's 8 million listings around the world receive the coveted "Best of the Best" designation. Descanso ranked 12th in the top 25 small inns and hotels category in the United States. Quite an accomplishment!

Open less than two years, Descanso Resort offers gay men a relaxing and luxurious boutique hotel experience just minutes away from Palm Springs' buzziest restaurants, nightclubs, and shopping. Descanso has quickly established itself as a top destination for sophisticated gay travelers, earning hundreds of 5-star guest reviews and consistently ranking in Trapadvisor's top positions alongside brother properties Santiago Resort and Twin Palms Resort.

Keep readingShow less