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A Welcoming Community of Care

June is Pride month, a time for both celebration and consciousness raising. At LifeCare Advocates, one of our ongoing concerns is the challenges that face our LGBTQ loved ones, friends, colleagues, and clients as they age.

Aging presents challenges for everyone, but LGBTQ elders must also deal with the potential for prejudice and even mistreatment. A 2018 AARP survey of LGBTQ Americans found that the top three concerns of those aged 45 and older were having adequate support systems as they age, access to LGBTQ-friendly senior services and housing, and the availability of welcoming long-term care residences. What’s more, Black and Latino LGBTQ adults report greater worry about moving to long-term care residences because of both their race/ethnicity and sexual orientation/gender identity.

Quality of care is also a concern. “Key barriers to accessing the individualized care LGBTQ seniors need range from prohibitive costs to poorly designed or discriminatory services,” notes an article in qnotes, an LGBTQ-oriented publication in Charlotte, N.C.

Our commitment to equality and equal access

We believe all people should have the best opportunities to age well, and we strive to create a welcoming community of care. All of us at LifeCare Advocates are committed to working toward equality for all and to continue educating ourselves about these and other issues affecting our clients. We uphold the Code of Ethics of the Aging Life Care Association®, which includes:

Respect for Clients’ Rights and Dignity
An Aging Life Care Professional® treats clients with respect, as complete individuals with their own history, narrative, and unique cultural identity. An Aging Life Care Professional respects the rights of each client, including the right to privacy, and, for the vulnerable client, strives to balance client autonomy with the need for protection and safety.
 

We hope our LGBTQ clients and friends consider us an active ally in the community. In addition, numerous state and local agencies and nonprofits help LGBTQ seniors navigate their residential and care options. Here are a few resources:

  • This map from the Movement Advancement Project shows how many laws and policies protecting LGBTQ people there are in each state.
  • SAGE is the country’s largest and oldest organization dedicated to improving the lives of LGBTQ older people. Their National LGBT Housing Initiative is working with builders across the country to develop LGBTQ-friendly senior housing. You’ll also find a map of the U.S. listing housing resources in states where they are available.
  • The National Resource Center on LGBT Aging, affiliated with SAGE, has a wealth of resources on topics ranging from advocacy to transgender aging. You’ll find news, guidance, and links to national and local resources.

Fortunately, progress is being made legally as well. Twenty-seven states and the District of Columbia now prohibit housing discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. And in January, President Biden signed an Executive Order “On Preventing and Combating Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation.”

If you or a loved one need help in your aging journey, there are many ways we can help. We’re here for everyone!