Mary Walsh and Beverly Nance did considerable research in 2016 before deciding to move into a continuing care retirement community outside St. Louis. They took a tour of Friendship Village Sunset Hills and were impressed by its pool and fitness center, a calendar crammed with activities, the newly built apartments for independent living. They had meals with a friend and with a former co-worker, and their spouses, all of them enthusiastic residents. “We’d met other people from the community, and they were very friendly,” said Ms. Walsh, 72, a retired manager for AT&T. “I was feeling good about it…”
LGBT people are more likely to become adult caregivers than the rest of the population, according to a 2015 AARP/National Alliance for Caregiving report. According to a study by SAGE, a national LGBT advocacy organization, about one in three older LGBT adults live alone, and 40 percent say their support networks have become smaller. In what way does being an LGBT caregiver differ? Here’s one way: “If you are in a non-married LGBT relationship, your relationship is not recognized by law,” says the Family Caregiver Alliance. “Under these circumstances, biological family members sometimes step in, take over decision-making authority, and exclude partners and close friends from being involved in the care of your friend or loved one…”
Three out of four adults age 45 and older who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender say they are concerned about having enough support from family and friends as they age. Many are also worried about how they will be treated in long-term care facilities and want specific LGBT services for older adults.
These were among the findings of a recent national AARP survey, “Maintaining Dignity: Understanding and Responding to the Challenges Facing Older LGBT Americans.”
What are my housing rights as an LGBT senior? Are there laws that protect LGBT people from discrimination in housing? How does the Fair Housing Act apply to LGBT people? Are there any other housing protections at the federal level? Do senior housing communities have any legal obligation to protect LGBT seniors or address complaints of discrimination? Are there protections for LGBT seniors in housing establishments that also provide medical care? Are there laws in my state that protect seniors from housing discrimination?
Representations of older transgender people are nearly absent from our culture and those that do exist are often one-dimensional. For over five years, photographer Jess T. Dugan and social worker Vanessa Fabbre traveled throughout the United States creating To Survive on this Shore: Photographs and Interviews with Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Older Adults. Seeking subjects whose lived experiences exist within the complex intersections of gender identity, age, race, ethnicity, sexuality, socioeconomic class, and geographic location, they traveled from coast to coast, to big cities and small towns, documenting the life stories of this important but largely underrepresented group of older adults. The featured individuals have a wide variety of life narratives spanning the last ninety years, offering an important historical record of transgender experience and activism in the United States.
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The unwanted were turned away from cafeteria tables. Fistfights broke out at karaoke. Dances became breeding grounds for gossip and cruelty.
It became clear this place had a bullying problem on its hands. What many found surprising was that the perpetrators and victims alike were all senior citizens.
Nursing homes, senior centers and housing complexes for the elderly have introduced programs, training and policies aimed at curbing spates of bullying, an issue once thought the exclusive domain of the young.
When MaryKay Kubota’s husband died unexpectedly at 49, she felt that the world kept going for everyone but her. Until that moment, the then 47-year-old mother of four, who had married at 19, managed their family’s fast-paced social life. “I didn’t have to think about what was next,” Kubota said. But after Guy Kubota’s death in 1997, even with two children still at home, “everything just stopped,” she recalled.
As her grief escalated, so did her feeling of abandonment.
“Nobody knew what to say in the situation, so they just left me alone,” said Kubota. Though they offered the standard “Let me know what you need,” Kubota, facing responsibilities she really couldn’t manage on her own, found it hard to ask for help…
A new view of living longer
by Jo Ann Jenkins, AARP CEO, AARP Bulletin, April 2018
»Read full article on AARP site
Societies around the world are coming up with creative, commonsense ways of adapting to the challenges posed by aging populations and doing it with existing resources. One example is Japan’s Watch Over service. For a small monthly fee, a Japanese postal carrier will check on an older resident along the mail delivery route and relay information about the resident’s well-being to family members using a tablet. The brilliance of this model is that it takes an existing infrastructure resource (a nationwide postal delivery network) and a seemingly unconnected challenge (isolated seniors) and puts them together. It works. The cost is low, the barriers to entry are few, and the payoff is huge…. »Read full article on AARP site
The University of Arizona Health Sciences Arizona Center on Aging offers two amazing resources that provide fact sheets on every aspect of elder care for providers and care partners.
»Elder Care – A Resource For Interprofessional Providers
This compendium of engaging single page, practical, evidence-based Elder Care Provider Fact Sheets synthesize key concepts in common geriatric syndromes and common diseases in older adults.
»Care Partner Information: Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementia Caregiving Tips
Care Partner Information sheets are single-page fact sheets that can be used by anyone who is providing care for an older adult with dementia – including volunteers, family caregivers, direct care workers and community health workers. These sheets provide basic background information, helpful tips and community resources on a variety of topics associated with Alzheimer’s Disease and other related dementias.
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….
More than 3 million LGBT Americans have taken on the responsibility of being a caregiver to a loved one, according to a recent report from AARP. These two guides are designed to support the LGBT older adult caregiving community:
“Prepare to Care Guide: A Planning Guide for Caregivers in the LGBT Community”
SAGE has partnered with AARP to create this practical tool filled with information, resources, and checklists to help caregivers get organized so they can do what’s best for their loved ones.
“Caregiving in the LGBT Community: A Guide to Engaging and Supporting LGBT Caregivers Through Programming”
This user-friendly publication provides ideas, lessons learned, and best practices for expanding programs to support LGBT caregivers and those caring for LGBT older adults.
An ‘LGBT-Welcoming’ Place to Call Home
Recognizing a need, some cities are developing housing options.
“Older adults who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender often age alone. As the first generation to be open about their sexuality and united around the gay rights movement, many are estranged from family and never had or have lost a partner. Prejudice may have meant fewer work opportunities over their lifetime, resulting in meager, if any, savings. Finding affordable and welcoming senior housing is a challenge…”
“Death and dying is a taboo subject. Add to that the invisibility of being an elder lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) person and there is a lot to NOT talk about. What are the special problems this marginalized class of people might face and how are their needs being addressed? What are the challenges and strategies that are specific to the communities in addressing healthcare systems, social networks and end of life issues. Are there commonalities in the diverse communities that make up the alphabet soup of LGBT? How does Tucson measure up in providing appropriate support and services? These were some of the questions I asked myself as I prepared to become a “citizen folklorist” and delve into the nitty-gritty of LGBT death and dying…”
In this paper, Penelope Starr interviews the following 8 people:
- Carolyn Carter, executor of deceased former partner’s estate
- Merlin Spillers and Lee Roden, recently married couple that has been together for 45 years.
- Phil Bossenbroek, peer counselor at Southern Arizona Aids Foundation
- C. Michael Woodward, MPH, trans activist
- Sandy Davenport, LMSW, Caregiver Specialist at Pima Council on Aging and coordinator of Project Visibility
- Rev. Joe Fitzgerald, BA, MA, MAPC, Chaplain Supervisor at University of Arizona Health Network
- Julie Kennedy Oehlert, DNP, BSN, RN, Vice President, Patient Experience at University of Arizona Health Network