Are you caring for an LGBT Older Adult? Or are you LGBT and the caregiver for someone?
This page is for you! View our new Caregiving & LGBT Concerns Guide.
Caring for an LGBT Older Adult
There are a number of important considerations for those caring for a lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender older adult. If you or someone you know is caring for an LGBT older adult, consider the following:
- Families of Choice—Because LGBT older adults are 3-4 times less likely to have children to care for them, many rely on chosen family members to care for them. If you are family of choice, do you have legal authority to make important decisions? Does the older adult you care for have family members of choice that they would like to be involved with care?
- Personal Privacy—Be sensitive to the LGBT older adult’s requests about whether or not to be “out” to care providers. Some individuals may choose a higher level of privacy to avoid discrimination or mistreatment.
- LGBT Affirming Care—If “out,” do you have access to referrals for care that will treat your LGBT loved one with dignity and respect and not discriminate against them?
- Community—Social isolation is tied to poor health outcomes. It’s important to keep your loved one connected to their social circles. Do you know who is in your loved one’s social network?
Caring for older adult communities of color
The new report “Aging with Health and Dignity: Diverse Elders Speak Up,” created by the Diverse Elders Coalition, shares information about the aging needs of communities of color, LGBT communities, and American Indian/Alaska Native communities.
This report synthesizes the thousands of comments we received from older adults across the country — from all 50 states, and in six languages — about the unique challenges of aging in our communities.
When you’re LGBT and a Caregiver
Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people are more likely to be caring for an aging loved one, whether a parent, a spouse or significant other, or a friend or member of one’s chosen family. Here are a few special considerations, along with additional information and referrals:
- Health and end-of-life care—Have you discussed your loved one’s end-of-life preferences and do you have the legal authority to make needed decisions?
- Family & Medical Leave—If employed, unmarried LGBT partners and family are not currently covered on the Family and Medical Leave Act. Check to see if your employer has broadened their policy to cover your needs. This is especially important if you are caring for a member of your chosen family.
- LGBT Affirming Care—Do you have access to LGBT-affirming referrals for care—both so your loved one is welcomed as well as you?
- Finances—Are you legally authorized to manage your loved one’s finances in the event that person can’t? Are you aware of financial fraud and elder abuse laws?
- Self-Care—Are you taking care of yourself? Do you know where to find LGBT-welcoming support?
General Information and Publications
- Facts about LGBT Older Adults: https://www.sageusa.org/issues/general.cfm
- A Guide to LGBT Caregiving: http://www.lgbtagingcenter.org/resources/resource.cfm?r=431
- Alzheimer’s Association LGBT Caregiver Concerns: http://www.lgbtagingcenter.org/resources/resource.cfm?r=770
- On Caring for LGBT Elders – Watch this 4 minute video:
- National LGBT Caregiver Support Group: Call 212-741-2247.
- LGBT Caregiving – Frequently Asked Questions: http://www.rainbowrehab.com/pages/lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgender-lgbt-caregiving/
- Rainbow Resources Guide for Older Adults (LGBT-affirming referrals)
- Area Agencies on Aging for Region 1 (Detroit Area) Detroit AAA, call 313-446-4444 (Detroit, Hamtramck, Highland Park, Harper Woods and the Grosse Pointes)
- AAA1-B, call 800-852-7795 (Livingston, Macomb, Monroe, Oakland, St. Clair and Washtenaw Counties)
- The Senior Alliance, call 800-815-1112 (Southern and Western Wayne County)
Support and discussion groups