They’re aging right along with their not-GLBT peers, but some of their concerns are very different.
Some of the worries and fears will sound very familiar…money, being alone.
But some are things that straight older adults would never think to worry about. Being discriminated against for housing because of who they love. Not being able to be honest with their doctor not because they are in a relationship, but because of who it is with. Wishing to live among their own, where they can speak and act freely, and knowing there are few, if any, places like that. Worrying about not being able to participate in volunteer or “senior activities” because they are gay. Concerned that they will not find new friends as their support network shrinks, because the people around them will not accept them.
In a study on LGBT Older Adults, Ages 45-75, sagenet.org found these and many other concerns to be common, and in those shared between LGBT and non-LGBT adults, to usually be much higher in LGBT adults. Issues of healthcare, dependence, and loneliness were especially on their minds.
This study was completed before the Supreme Court decision that legalized same-sex marriage across the US, so there will be changes for many people. But marriage is not the best choice for all LGBT older adults, just as it’s not the best choice all not-LGBT older adults, so many of the financial struggles will remain.
Unfortunately, so will the fears of rejections and discrimination that are on the minds of LBGT people as they age.
To find out more about issues affecting LGBT seniors and resources, visit sageusa.org.