AgeLinc Mardi Gras brings in a full house

Some of the masks being voted on by attendees of the AgeLinc Mardi Gras gala on Saturday, Feb. 18. Photos by Tom Wray

AgeLinc held their second Mardi Gras fundraiser and celebration last week with a full house.

AgeLinc (Area Agency on Aging for Lincolnland) is a nonprofit funding agency that receives federal and state money to provide a wide variety of services to older adult citizens. They provide services for seniors in Cass, Christian, Greene, Jersey, Logan, Macoupin, Mason, Menard, Montgomery, Morgan, Sangamon and Scott counties.

Among their programs is PrideLinc, which is specifically for LGBTQ seniors in the area. LGBTQ seniors are particularly vulnerable to discrimination. LGBTQ seniors are more likely to be low-income and less likely to have family members’ support. According to SAGE, an advocacy organization for queer seniors, they’re twice as likely to be single and live alone and four times less likely to have children. They’re more reliant on friends for care and can receive less effective healthcare or no healthcare at all. Nationally, there are fewer resources for LGBTQ seniors.

PrideLinc, one of the rare programs of its kind in a largely rural area, celebrates its first year this month.

More than 300 people filled the ballroom at the Crowne Plaza Conference Center in Springfield. Many wore Mardi Gras masks and enjoyed Cajun meals along with dancing and a silent raffle and mask contest.

All funds raised went to support senior services with AgeLinc.