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AARP Survey Finds LGBT Elders Worry About Adequate Support, Care, Dignity as They Age
From news releases
2018-03-28

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From AARP:

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

New AARP national survey finds most LGBT adults want but don't have access to LGBT-sensitive care and services.

WASHINGTON, DC—When it comes to aging-related concerns, older LGBT adults worry most about having adequate family and other social support to rely on as they age, discrimination in long-term care (LTC) facilities, and access to LGBT-sensitive services for seniors, according to a new AARP survey. Black and Latino LGBT adults report the greatest concern about future family and social supports, and greater worry about potential abuse in LTC facilities because of their race/ethnicity and sexual orientation/gender identity.

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, which may put them at higher risk for isolation as they age. Transgender adults also report smaller support systems and are at an increased risk of isolation, while bisexuals are least likely to be "out" within health systems.

"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."

Over half (52 percent) 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, with Black LGBT adults reporting the highest level of concern.

Most LGBT adults (88 percent) want providers in LTC facilities who are specifically trained to meet LGBT patient needs. They also want some providers or staff who are themselves LGBT.

Nearly one-third of older LGBT adults were at least somewhat worried about having to hide their LGBT identity in order to have access to suitable housing options.

"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.

Infographic can be found here: bit.ly/2GxpMZE .

Full survey results are here: www.aarp.org/dignitysurvey .

Additional resources:

Prepare to Care: A Planning Guide for Caregivers in the LGBT Community. www.aarp.org/preparetocare

LGBT Pride: AARP's Online Resources for the LGBT Community. www.aarp.org/pride

About AARP

AARP is the nation's largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering people 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With a nationwide presence and nearly 38 million members, AARP strengthens communities and advocates for what matters most to families: health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment. AARP also produces the nation's largest circulation publications: AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. To learn more, visit www.aarp.org or follow @AARP and @AARPadvocates on social media.

From SAGE:

[New York, NY] Maintaining Dignity: Understanding and Responding to the Challenges Facing Older LGBT Americans, a new AARP survey, elevates statistics about the LGBT aging experience that are—and should be—alarming. According to the survey, half ( 52% ) of LGBT adults said they fear discrimination in health care as they age. A staggering 88% of LGBT older people want providers in long-term care facilities who are specifically trained to meet LGBT patient needs. One-third of LGBT elder Americans were somewhat worried about having to hide their LGBT identity in order to have access to suitable housing. Black and Latino LGBT adults report the greatest concerns about future family support, social supports, and discrimination within LTC facilities.

The findings in AARP's survey echo SAGE's earlier research on the experiences of the older LGBT community. Out and Visible: The Experiences and Attitudes of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender ( LGBT ) Older Adults, Ages, 45-75 detailed LGBT older people's concerns about adequate care from healthcare providers, smaller support networks, fears of discrimination when accessing healthcare or housing, and other life-or-death issues. Out and Visible revealed that more than half of LGBT older people are very or extremely concerned about having enough money to live on, and one in three are very or extremely concerned about being lonely and growing old alone. AARP's survey results parallel the findings in SAGE's earlier report, with key statistics that affect long-term care facilities ( LTC ) and concerns among Black and Latino LGBT older people. The AARP survey results also underline the critical need for SAGE's diversity and equity initiative, given the heightened concerns about discrimination and care among LGBT elders of color.

"With this new survey, AARP has made a vital contribution to increasing awareness about the lives, challenges, and resiliencies of LGBT older people," says SAGE CEO Michael Adams. "The important work now is to do everything possible to respond to the acute needs documented in the survey so that LGBT older people have the same opportunities in their later years as all older Americans."

SAGE is the country's national LGBT aging organization and sponsors a broad array of programs that address the needs of LGBT elders, including SAGECare, which provides training to long-term care facilities across the U.S. In 2018, SAGE is celebrating its 40th anniversary.

SAGE is the country's largest and oldest organization dedicated to improving the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender ( LGBT ) older people. Founded in 1978 and headquartered in New York City, SAGE is a national organization that offers supportive services and consumer resources to LGBT older people and their caregivers. SAGE also advocates for public policy changes that address the needs of LGBT elders, provides education and technical assistance for aging providers and LGBT community organizations through its National Resource Center on LGBT Aging, and cultural competence training through SAGECare. With staff located across the country, SAGE also coordinates SAGENet, a growing network of affiliates in the United States. Learn more at sageusa.org .


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