Our Mission and Purpose
The mission of the OutstandingLife is to improve the quality of life of LGBTQ+ older adults in Massachusetts by creating a virtual community of LGBTQ+ older adults. We seek new creative ways to connect older adults: engaging hearts, transforming lives and breaking down boundaries. We know people can still be creative and vital, at any age.
We provide a platform and a safe environment that fosters joy and independence. We are a diverse community committed to uplifting our members most impacted not only by homophobia and sexism but through systemic racism, transphobia, and income inequality. As life expectancy grows, we are living well into our 70s, 80s, and beyond. Longevity requires new ways of connecting and thinking about our wants and desires in what we need and want to do during our entire lives. We want to treat each person with dignity and respect and help people achieve their best life.
Despite increased physical longevity, social isolation and loneliness are leading causes of increased risk for emotional, cognitive, and physical health among older adults. According to psychologist Louise Hawkley, PhD, a senior research scientist at the research organization NORC at the University of Chicago, loneliness can wreak havoc on an individual's physical, mental and cognitive health. Hawkley points to evidence linking perceived social isolation with adverse health consequences including depression, poor sleep quality, impaired executive function, accelerated cognitive decline, poor cardiovascular function and impaired immunity at every stage of life. Older LGBTQ+ adults have been at an increased risk for deteriorating health. Many do not have children or family members who, traditionally, are the companions and caretakers of older adults.
In Sean Cahill, PhD's report for the Fenway Institute's "LGBT Aging 2025: Strategies for Achieving a Healthy and Thriving LGBT Older Adult Community in Massachusetts", he identifies key themes of social isolation and lack of connection from numerous listening sessions across Massachusetts that include social isolation and lack of connection, the need for:
- social activities that create a sense of community and belonging
- targeted support groups and services
- hardware (computers, tablets), internet access, and technical assistance to isolated, low-income LGBTQ elders so that they can access virtual support groups and other services
Older LGBTQ adults have been at an increased risk for deteriorating health. Many do not have children or family members who, traditionally, are the companions and caretakers of older adults.
A MESSAGE FROM OUR EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Welcome to OutstandingLife, an online community designed for and by LGBTQ+ older adults and their allies. As the new Executive Director, I believe that creating intentional spaces for the LGBTQ+ community to connect, experience joy, and thrive contributes to a healthy (Queer? I know this word is contentious) life. My goal is to continue to build this platform side-by-side with the community I love most. You are an important part of helping OutstandingLife reach often-isolated LGBTQ+ older adults.
MEET OUR EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
David Conner, when not working to build the OutstandingLife community, is project manager of LGBTQ+ Worcester FOR THE RECORD, a multi-year research initiative spearheaded by Worcester Historical Museum. Fluent in Spanish, David has been involved in community organizing through historical documentation for the last 9 years and is an executive board member for Pride Worcester.
Would you like to Volunteer for a program? Please let us know!