LGBT senior care discrimination is feared in long-term care facilities

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AARP survey finds most LGBT adults want but don’t have access to LGBT-sensitive care and services
When it comes to age related concerns, older LGBT adults worry most about having adequate family and other social support in LGBT senior care facilities as they age. They fear discrimination in long-term care  facilities, and worry about access to LGBT-sensitive services. According to a new AARP survey the majority of LGBT adults feel this way.
Black and Latino LGBT adults report the greatest concern. They worry about future family and social supports, and greater worry about potential abuse in LTC facilities. They feel their race/ethnicity and sexual orientation/gender identity is a hindrance to sensitive care as they grow older.

The survey, Maintaining Dignity: Understanding and Responding to the Challenges Facing Older LGBT Americans, found gay men and lesbians have similar concerns about whether they’ll have enough family and/or social support. However, gay men are more likely than lesbians to be single, live alone, and have smaller support systems. This may put them at higher risk for isolation as they age in LGBT senior care.

Transgender adults also report even smaller support systems and are at an increased risk of isolation say respondents. Meanwhile, bisexuals are the least likely to be “out” within health systems or in senior care homes.

“Older LGBT adults often have serious concerns about aging with dignity, compounded primarily by fears of discrimination and lack of social support,” said Nii-Quartelai Quartey, Ed.D., AARP Senior Advisor and LGBT Liaison. “LGBT adults are clearly saying that they want LGBT-sensitive long-term care and other services.”

Majority of LGBT Adults Concerned About Social Support and Discrimination in Long-Term Care 

Over half (52 %) of LGBT adults said they fear discrimination in health care as they age. A majority are especially concerned about facing neglect, abuse, and verbal or physical harassment in LTC facilities. Within the Black LGBT community adults reported the highest level of concern with LGBT senior care.

Most LGBT adults (88 %) want providers in LTC facilities who are specifically trained to meet their patient needs. They also want some providers or staff, who are themselves LGBT, to work openly in such LTC facilities.

Nearly one-third of older LGBT adults were somewhat worried about having to hide their LGBT identity. They say they sometimes do in order to have access to suitable housing options as they age.

“With well over a million LGBT seniors in the US, a number that will double by 2030, this is an opportunity for the health care and housing industries to step up and meet the needs of this growing demographic that aspires to thrive not hide as they age” said Quartey.

The LGBT senior care AARP Infographic can be found here. And the full survey results are here.