Americans are aging, and the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, and Asexual (LGBTQIA+), population is no exception.
There are more than nine million people in the United States who identify as LGBT; according to a 2016 Gallup survey, 4.1% of Americans identify as LGBT. Adults ages 52 and older are less likely to identify as LGBT; the same Gallup survey found that 2.4% of so-called “Baby Boomers” ages 52-71 and 1.4% of so-called “Traditionalists” ages 72 and older identify as LGBT, according to the "Understanding Issues Facing LGBT Older Adults" report by SAGE.
Download the Understanding Issues Facing LGBT Older Adults report.
The “Invisible Generation,” are the oldest LGBT adults. They were born in the teens and 1920s and living through the Depression and World War II. They grew up during a time when LGBT people were nearly absent in public discourse.
The “Silenced Generation,” born in the 1930s and 1940s, came of age during loud public outcry against gay, lesbian, and bisexual employees, and the pathologization of homosexuality in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, a medical handbook.
The “Pride Generation,” born in the 1950s and 1960s, birthed the Stonewall revolution and continue to move advocacy and rights forward.
Challenges Within the Older LBGTQIA Community
Older Americans in this community have already faced enormous challenges--discrimination, fear, victimization, misinformation. lack of services/support and, in some cases, violence.
Lack of legal recognition, reliance on chosen family, and lack of funding for LGBT-specific aging resources mean that LGBT elders are susceptible to isolation, according to the SAGE report. Studies show that LGBT elders are much more likely to live alone than non-LGBT elders and are scared of dying alone and/or in pain.
Fear of mistreatment also keeps them from seeking medical treatment.
Isolation is also a prevalent problem, with more than half of LBGTQIA elders reporting they feel isolated. Isolation leads to metal health and physical health deterioration.
This community is also more likely to be disabled in some way, with 41% of LGBT older people reporting they live with a disability, a 6% increase when compared to 35% of heterosexual older adults who report a disability.
Download LGBTQ Language Guidance
88 percent of LGBT older people say they would feel more comfortable with long-term care services if they knew the staff had been specifically trained about the needs of LGBT patients, according to SAGE's "Facts on LGBT Aging." More than two-thirds say this would make them feel much more comfortable.
At Assisting Hands, we believe everyone deserves culturally competent care for their needs so they can be comfortable, happy and safe at home.
We are proud to be New Jersey's first SAGE-certified home care agency for LGBTQIA cultural competency to provide the best care possible.
SAGECare is a division of SAGE, the country’s oldest and largest non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of LGBT older adults. SAGECare provides LGBT competency training and consulting on LGBT aging issues to service providers.