Nancy Weinbeck
Nancy Weinbeck

The aging journey can be complicated, challenging, surprising and can also bring great freedom and joy. However, for LGBT+ elders, the complicating and challenging factors are compounded by issues arising from caregiving, discrimination, and health care, as well as HIV/AIDS and more.

According to SAGE, the country’s oldest and largest non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of LGBT older adults, here are some of the challenges faced by LGBT elders:

• LBGT individuals are more than twice as likely to age alone and four times less likely to have children. LGBT elders become caregivers at a greater rate than their heterosexual counterparts. More than half of LGBT elders receive care from their partner, and a quarter receive care from a friend.

• As well, LGBT caregivers tend to have less social support and experience greater isolation, thus experiencing worse health outcomes. Also, LGBT elders are more likely to suffer poor health at younger ages due to experiencing a lifetime of discrimination and harassment.

• LGBT elders are less likely to connect with care providers, senior centers and other aging resources out of fear of discrimination and harassment. Nearly one-third of transgender elders do not have a regular doctor.

• HIV disproportionately impacts the LGBT community, and the number of LGBT elders with HIV is continuing to increase as it becomes more of a chronically managed health condition.

• In addition to health care discrimination, LGBT individuals and couples often face discrimination when seeking senior housing, whether that discrimination is coming from staff, management, service providers or other residents, and nearly one third fear needing to re-closet themselves when seeking housing.

In spite of the many challenges our LGBT elders face, many are also living purposeful, thriving lives, having pushed back at the Stonewall riots and uniting to win gains in marital and adoption rights, eradication of housing discrimination and more.

Bayview’s recent SAGECare certification is an important step on our journey to create opportunities for transformational aging for all elders. SAGECare provides LGBT competency training and consulting on LGBT issues to service providers.

While Bayview has always welcomed LGBT residents, our recent platinum-level certification gives all of our managers and staff training to help us become an even more inclusive community, not only for our growing LGBT residents but for our growing LGBTQ staff. Together, Bayview and SAGECare will continue our partnership to serve people with the best care possible and make each older person feel comfortable for who they are.

(As a postscript, you may wonder where the “Q” in LGBT went in this article. Now that we are SAGECare certified at Bayview, any staff person can tell you why the Q is dropped in this context. Give us a call to learn more about Bayview and our SAGE certification.)

Nancy Weinbeck is the CEO of Bayview in Queen Anne