LGBT seniors face unique challenges as they age. For too many health care and social service providers, it never occurs to them that their senior clients may be lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender, and they may not provide services in a culturally competent way. LGBT seniors worry whether they will be discriminated against when they seek medical care or housing in retirement, assisted living, or residential care facilities.
LGBT seniors also face many of the same challenges as heterosexual seniors, such as grief from the loss of a partner, declining health, and social isolation. However, compared to heterosexual seniors, LGBT seniors are more likely to live in poverty, more likely to live alone, and more likely not to have children to provide support and care.
Our senior years should be our golden years. Equal Rights Washington is committed to ensuring that the LGBT community—and our larger society—provide equal care and respect for our LGBT elders.
Movement Advancement Project (MAP) and Services and Advocacy for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, & Transgender Elders (SAGE) in partnership with other organizations have released “Improving the Lives of LGBT Older Adults” (pdf). The report provides an overview of LGBT elders’ unique needs and the policy and regulatory changes that are needed to adequately address them.
To follow up on that work, SAGE, MAP, and Center for American Progress have developed 12 briefs that provide more information on the issues raised in the report. Subjects covered include:
* Falling Through the Safety Net
* Social Security
* Pension Plans
* Tax-Qualified Retirement Plans
* Estate Tax and Inheritance Laws
* Legal Barriers to Taking Care of Loved Ones
* Exclusion from Aging Programs and Services
* Inhospitable Health Care Environments
* Health Disparities
* Rethinking Aging Laws for Today’s Older Adults
In 2010 the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force released an updated edition of the report “Outing Age 2010: Public Policy Issues Affecting Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Elders“. This report presents an in-depth look at public policy issues and challenges facing millions of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in the United States as they get older. It also includes detailed policy recommendations.