It is hard to believe there is a group of older adults who are less likely to use health services, visit their local senior center and be open about their lifestyle when living in a nursing home or assisted living facility. However, this is the reality for most older adults who are Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT).
Kate Waldo, Project Guide at THE GREEN HOUSE ® Project discussed this issue at The Pioneer Network 12th National Conference in Jacksonville, Florida. She talked about ways aging providers can improve services and support for LGBT older adults. To say support for this population is inadequate would be an understatement. So why is this happening? There has been a long history of discrimination, stigmatization and persecution of this population. The LGBT older adults we are currently serving have lived through heinous treatment, from electric shock therapy as the standard “treatment for homosexuality” to losing their jobs and children for being gay. It is no wonder many individuals have waited until late life to come out or continue to hide it.
As health care providers, we cannot be satisfied with services that are not meeting the needs of one of the most vulnerable populations. To learn more, contact the National Resource Center on LGBT Aging.