Inclusive aging: Celebrating pride month at Bayview

Nancy Weinbeck: 5 lessons from the for-profit senior living world

Nancy Weinbeck: 5 lessons from the for-profit senior living world

June is Pride month and Seattle is in full celebration. While Pride Month shines a light on inclusivity and acceptance within all facets of society, it is also an opportunity to reflect on the importance of inclusivity as it relates to aging, whether one ages in one’s own home or becomes part of a retirement community.

Older generations lived through times when being openly LGBTQ+ was fraught with discrimination, alienation, trauma and loss from the AIDS epidemic, and much more. Today, retirement communities like Bayview are home to many who fought and persevered, bringing stories of bravery, courage, resilience, and activism.

Our resident trailblazers not only lived through pivotal moments in LGBTQ+ history but have actively contributed to advancing equality and acceptance. When I began my tenure at Bayview back in 2001, there were certainly gay and lesbian residents, but almost all were closeted. Contrast that with today – riding our bus in the Pride Parade, hosting “Aging While Gay” panels, and sharing our stories with each other and the greater community.

Our residents today demonstrate that inclusivity isn’t just about tolerance; it is about having profound respect for each resident’s unique identity and life journey. Together with staff, we uphold values of equality and respect, creating an environment where everyone can thrive, regardless of who they are or whom they love. 

To paraphrase one of our residents, it’s in the stories that we find the answers. Listen closely, learn from our differences, and share grace and love. Our residents are my best teachers. Happy pride month everyone.

Nancy Weinbeck is the CEO of Bayview in Queen Anne.