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Care For Our Elders

| May 21, 2018
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All of us are aging and that goes for the LGBT community as well. I have a dear friend, his name is Bob. He’s 78 years old, has Parkinson’s Disease, is no longer driving or cooking for himself. He’s intelligent, educated, a great conversationalist, a historian and former educator. We’ve know each other for years, even before Cate came out, and he was a staunch supporter when I began my transition. He lost his husband a number of months ago and has moved into an assisted living center. He gets his apartment cleaned, meals cooked, has 24 hour medical care. Everything his body needs, but he’s missing one key part of life. What he doesn’t have is gay friends in the center. He is quickly loosing his connection to his community, and it saddens him greatly. This is a pervasive problem and it may be our futures also.

As reported by the American Psychology Association:

More than 39 million people in the U.S. are age 65 years or older including 2.4 million people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT). As the baby boomer generation ages, the older adult population will increase from 12.8 percent to an estimated 19 percent in 2030.

The National Center for Transgender Equality states:

They may face dual discrimination due to their age and their sexual orientation or gender identity. Generational differences and lack of legal protection may cause older LGBT adults to be less open about their sexuality. Social isolation is also a concern because LGBT older adults are more likely to live alone, more likely to be single and less likely to have children than their heterosexual counterparts.

Many of these folks spent significant amounts of their lives in the closet or only open as their true selves to a small group of friends and acquaintances. Like Bob, he was able, later in life, to enjoyed years of living openly and in a long-term committed relationships only to be forced back into the closet because of living in a small, isolated community of diverse types of people. Bob reports that most of the men have little in common with him and his interests. He is attempting to fit in, but finds it difficult to have meaningful conversations and he’s unable to talk about the LGBT community issues and resources for LGBT people in the assisted living facility are non-existent.

Nationally there are organizations that support and defend the rights of senior LGBT citizens.

sage, Advocacy & Services for LGBT Elders is an excellent on-line resource:

The National Center for Transgender Equality also offers on-line information, educational material and support.

The National Resource Center on LGBT Aging provides national resources, but they also provided a search by state for your state’s support options. Follow this link to access dozens of support agencies and information for aging LGBT folks:

Local services may be offered where you live. A call to a local behavioral health center or a hot line may send you in the right direction.

This is an issue all of us may face. As we age and begin loosing our friends, loved ones, our mobility and families are unable or unavailable to help, many of us may face our final years in a facility without LGBT contact or services. We all need to be aware of what lies ahead and what resources are available.

One of the best things for an LGBT person who is older and less mobile is to visit them, call them, let them know you are there and you care about them.

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Category: Transgender Body & Soul


About the Author ()

I am Cate, a mature transgender woman. I am a writer, blogger, parent, grandparent, sailor, activist and happy. I am a widow, and live with my yorkiepoo, Belle. I love music, reading, cooking, outdoors, DIY, theater, antiquing and flea markets, home brewing, and seeing what is around the bend in the road or over the horizon. I own the website. It is an outreach, support and resource for mature trans* people and especially for those who, like me, came out after fifty.

Comments (1)

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  1. tasidevil tasidevil says:

    I thought your comment on visiting older LGBT folks was most apropos but how to do it. There needs to be some kind of national organization where LGBT folks can register and we can find them. I’d love to visit them but who will provide the resource

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