LGBT seniors in Calgary struggle to find connections in digital world

A member of the Calgary Lesbian Seniors group says many senior citizens in the LGBT community struggle to get access to information they need.

Many feel lost without low-tech information like bulletin boards, books and phone lines

Lois Szabo said it's difficult for many LGBT seniors to stay in touch with their communities. (Kate Adach/CBC)

A member of the Calgary Lesbian Seniors group says many senior citizens in the LGBT community struggle to get access to information they need. 

Lois Szabo said although there are now more resources, most of it is listed online, and she knows many Calgary seniors who hardly use the internet and feel they're missing out.

"I would like to see some sort of concrete book with information for gay seniors that lists, you know, organizations that would be helpful to them," she said. "Residences that are open to gay people, and that type of information, that they could have in their homes."

Phone line in the '70s 

Szabo said seniors have to rely on meeting others in their facility or at their community centre, to find out information on what's going on and how to stay in touch.

Szabo said in the '70s there was a telephone hotline that would provide information to Calgary's lesbian community — the Lesbian Information Line, or LIL.

"Where the gay bars were, where the gay clubs were and also social assistance, doctors, lawyers and advice," she said of the information provided. 

Organizations must change

Michael Cacace, a social worker with LGBT organization Calgary Outlink, echoes Szabo's concerns. 

"How do you find a supportive LGBT ally or doctor that's supportive, that's willing to take you on as a patient?"

Cacace said groups like his need to communicate with seniors where they are and provide resources for that community, rather than simply putting information online.

Szabo said she'd like to see more low-tech solutions like posters on bulletin boards.

With files from Kate Adach