YouTube. TED. ICN. Allies in Bringing the Plight of Gay Seniors Out of the Closet and Into the Spotlight

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International Caregiver Network (ICN) Launches Viral Campaign About Alarming Needs of Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Seniors in TED’s Prestigious Ads Worth Spreading Competition.

TED conferences are empowering and the TED community inspired us to use the power of business to solve a significant social problem for the nation’s 65.7 million caregivers.

This week’s Time Magazine describes YouTube as “the most rapidly growing force in human history.” International Caregiver Network is using “the beast with a billion eyes,” along with the powerful platform of TED, a socially-conscious global community, to share alarming concerns about the unmet needs of LGBT Seniors.

More than a third of the two million LGBT seniors in our nation report depression and one half have a known disability, according to the recent federally funded Aging and Health Report: Disparities and Resilience among Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Older Adults. “The LGBT community has the least rights of any population, often without the legal, social and financial framework that is available to others,” offers James Huysman, Psy.D., LCSW, the Chief Caregiving Officer for International Caregiver Network (ICN), whose revealing interview is now a part of a TED online voting campaign.

TED began in 1984 as an innovative fusion of three worlds: Technology, Entertainment, and Design. Since then, TED has grown into a global enterprise with two annual conferences – the TED Conference in Long Beach and Palm Springs each spring, and the TED Global conference in Edinburgh, UK each summer. TED is well-known for its award-winning TED Talks video site ( and the annual TED Prize.

When ICN launched The Caring Heart Project: DETROIT last month, they had no idea that helping a local caregiver could put them on the world’s stage. Now, this Michigan start-up has the opportunity to be one of the ten finalists selected for TED’s 2012 Ads Worth Spreading Competition. The announcement will be made at TED’s spring conference in Long Beach, CA from February 27-March 2, 2012.

ICN managing partner, Dr. David Solomon, a West Bloomfield, MI health care marketer and a caregiver himself, explains “TED conferences are empowering and the TED community inspired us to use the power of business to solve a significant social problem for the nation’s 65.7 million caregivers.”

Just two month’s prior to ICN’s launch, The Family Caregiving Alliance ( released two groundbreaking reports dedicated to LGBT caregivers. As The Caring Heart Project: DETROIT began to unfold, Solomon noted that “The research came to life as we discovered that the caregiver in our story, AJ O’Neil, lives apart from his partner who had to leave Detroit to care for his own mother.” A collection of webisodes document this caregiving story at

Solomon, a learning scientist and design professional, was introduced to TED by a mentor at BBDO, a worldwide agency network, and later became an inaugural member of the TED@Aspen and TED@PalmSprings communities. Inspired by Chris Anderson’s concept of Crowd Accelerated Innovation (TEDGlobal 2010:, the ICN team felt the power of web video could “change the conversation” about our nation’s caregivers. During production, Solomon submitted ICN’s “LGBT Caregiver Crosswalk” video into the TED competition. In this webisode, Huysman shares his concerns about the unique and challenging needs for LGBT seniors and caregivers.

“As Time Magazine points out, for every minute that passes in real time, sixty hours of video are uploaded to YouTube,” notes Solomon. “We hope that our 4 minute video is just the beginning of a much-needed dialogue about caregiving.” While this video discusses LGBT needs specifically, Dr. Huysman’s message is a universal one that he summarized in his Foreward to "Voices of Caregiving,” a collection of stories edited by The Healing Project and published by LaChance Publishing. "Caregiving is a compelling national story, a powerful health story and a sacred heroic story that needs to be told and honored by all."

Caregivers are the forgotten heart of health care delivery. Like Solomon, Huysman would be honored to share their story with the TED Community in Long Beach. Huysman ( is one of the country's leading authorities on Caregiver Burnout, Compassion Fatigue and Boomer Addiction. “I think we are only as strong in our culture as our most underserved population and the LGBT community is in dire need,” opines Huysman. He explains that “The LGBT community battles many family of origin issues and find themselves ostracized and alienated and nowhere to turn.” To vote go to

Some startling findings in the landmark Health and Aging study indicate almost two thirds of LGBT seniors have been victimized three or more times, more than 20% do not disclose their sexual orientation or gender identity to their physician, and about one third do not have a will or durable power of attorney for healthcare. For the full study go to the Caring and Aging with Pride project website,

ICN‘s strategic partner is Diversity Works LLC, a LGBT-owned, marketing and communications agency specializing in diversity and disability issues including the unmet needs of LGBT seniors and caregivers.


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