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Seabury’s Out & About Program Creates Lasting Connections

Out & About participants attend a Gatsby-themed party at Seabury’s Ward 6 offices before the COVID-19 pandemic struck the region.

Frank* never quite felt like he fit in. Even after getting married and starting a family, he still felt unsettled. Frank was eventually diagnosed with clinical depression. He managed it for a time with medication but there was something else affecting his mental health. Frank was coming to terms with his sexuality. “It was isolating,” he recalls. He separated from his wife, which helped him resolve some of his inner conflict. Over the years he has kept in touch with his family. Recently he moved in with his son and daughter-in-law in the District after finding out he needed surgery. Frank’s mental health declined again. “Even with my son right upstairs”, he says, “there were still times when I felt very isolated.”

This is not surprising. A 2020 report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine found that LGBTQ populations “tend to have more loneliness than their heterosexual peers because of stigma, discrimination, and barriers to care.” The report also found that loneliness is associated with higher rates of depression, anxiety, and even physical health problems.

During the pandemic participants miss dining together in person but Out & About still hosts virtual dinner parties.

When Frank started attending Seabury Out & About** events, it was eye-opening for him to see other LGBTQ older adults living their truth. Frank considered himself out at the time but also believes “The coming out process is a lifelong process.” He continued, “You get to know yourself in ways you never had before.”

Getting more comfortable with himself has allowed him to deepen his relationships with family and friends. Frank now has two very good friends who he met through Out & About. He still sees them on regular, virtual Out & About activities, such as twice-weekly bingo and movie viewings. “I always said I wanted friends and now I have friends.”


**This program is supported by the D.C. Office of Aging and Community Living.


Read the other stories of Winter '21 Resource below or find the full pdf here.


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