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A Simon Says, LLC Completes Year 1 as Program Director for LGBT Senior Housing and Care Program

The NJ LGBT Senior Housing and Care program is sponsored by Green Hill Inc. in collaboration with Garden State Equality.


Positioning clients as thought leaders, defining and communicating policy and creating dynamic programs and events that generate consumer, media and stakeholder interest are some of the quality services provided by A Simon Says, LLC. Leading the LGBT Senior Housing and Care program as Program Director, A Simon Says, LLC developed a collaborative initiative, that included senior housing and health industry leaders, LGBT stakeholders and the LGBT community. The goal of the program, to identify one of the most pressing issues in the LGBTQIAA community, the availability of welcoming long-term care and housing for the aging LGBT population.


“One of the major concerns of the community is that even though the freedoms to love, marry and gender identify have been earned for LGBT persons in progressive states like ours, (NJ) and at the Federal level, LGBT elders still feel the need to ‘go back into the closet’ when it comes to aging services, health care and housing,” says Amy Simon, Principal of A Simon Says.


A Simon Says, LLC has been serving healthcare industry client Green Hill Inc., in West Orange, providing public and community relations services and marketing support for more than seven years. Green Hill, a senior living community, specializes in Independent Living and Assisted Living for active elders who require additional support in daily living tasks, skilled nursing services and memory care, and acute rehabilitation services. Green Hill is promoted by A Simon Says as a progressive and innovative, boutique, stand-alone, facility with a 154-year history in New Jersey. Green Hill was innovative at its inception as it was founded by thirteen aging women in Newark, NJ in 1866. The widowed and single woman, who were without family support, determined that aging communally in a home together was a more favorable outcome for them than that of being remanded to the state, the only option for an elderly person during the post-Civil War period. Thus, the independent senior living industry was born in the state of New Jersey.


Progressive policies in aging care continued when Green Hill, then known as the Home for Respectable Aged Women, in the early 1900’s expanded to include long-term nursing care and rehabilitation. In 1965 “The Home” moved to West Orange, and renamed Green Hill, and soon welcomed men to the community. In 2011, Green Hill added the first Green House Homes in New Jersey based on the new industry principal of person-directed care and transformed the New Jersey industry again. In 2016 Green Hill became the first senior living community to complete SAGECare cultural competency training for LGBT care, earning Platinum Certification and Innovator Status.

West Orange Councilman Victor Cirilo, Maplewood Committeeperson Dean Dafis, West Orange Mayor Robert Parisi, Assemblywoman Mila Jasey, Green Hill President Donna Lazartic, Garden State Equality Program Director Aaron Potenza, Green Hill LGBT Senior Housing and Care Program Director Amy Simon, GSE Health and Wellness Coordinator Bianca Mayes, SAGE NJ Gordon Sauer.

Green Hill turned to A Simon Says to create a communications plan to promote their LGBT welcoming product. Building a long run campaign through practical onboarding of the certification was determined to be the best course, only to discover there was little to no best practice in LGBT care models to be found in the country. Thus, A Simon Says created the LGBT Senior Housing and Care program to place Green Hill as a thought leader in the industry on LGBT senior issues, while working to create a model of best practice in long-term care housing and services for LGBTQ seniors of all economic levels, race, religions, and cultures. Green Hill will advocate for, implement and share this model across the aging services field.


Program development by A Simon Says LLC included; naming of the program; establishment of an industry and stakeholder working group; research of industry and healthcare practices; establishment of the LGBT senior knowledge bank on the Green Hill website, production of working group LGBT Senior Housing and Care roundtable; creation and facilitation of an LGBT senior needs assessment; and production of the first annual LGBT Senior Housing and Care Expo during Pride month. The LGBT Senior Housing and Care Expo provided educational opportunities, was a framework for public release of the survey results and galvanized the stakeholder community around the issue and Green Hill’s thought leadership. The Expo included sponsorship and vendor opportunities to help fund the program and was highlighted by a rainbow flag raising, the first rainbow flag raising at a senior living community in New Jersey, attended by local elected officials.


“It was a tremendous year facilitating the LGBT Senior Housing and Care program for Green Hill,” continued Amy Simon. “Senior citizens are marginalized in our country and the LGBT senior community even more so. I learned so much while facilitating the LGBT senior program and have become incredibly passionate about this cause.”


Green Hill and Garden State Equality, with the professional support of A Simon Says, LLC, are committed to continuing this work. Partners in this effort include SAGENJ, HYSSOP Housing, Leading Age, Robert Wood Johnson Barnabas Health and LGBTQIAA stakeholders and community members.


To learn more about the LGBT Senior Housing and Care program visit https://www.green-hill.com/lgbt-senior-housing-care/. Go to the Knowledge Sharing page for industry reports, survey results, expo materials and more.




From left, Graeme Davis President NJ Health Advocacy Network, Gordon Sauer President SAGENJ, Sherri Rase GAAMC, Amy Simon LGBT Senior Housing and Care Program Director, Louis LaSalle VP External Affairs Robert Wood Johnson Barnabas Health, Silver Sponsor, Jackie Baras RN RWJBH LGBT Healthcare Leader, Bianca Mayes Garden State Equality Wellness Coordinator, Aaron Potenza Garden State Equality Program Director. Contact A Simon Says at amy@asimonsays.com to get involved, be a sponsor, or participate in the next LGBT Housing and Care Expo. For more on A Simon Says, LLC visit www.asimonsays.com.

© 2018 by ASimonSays LLC.

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