Study highlights aging, long-term care concerns of LGBT older adults

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Three out of four adults age 45 and older who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) say they are concerned about having enough support from family and friends as they age. This past March, AARP released a report, “Maintaining Dignity: Understanding and Responding to the Challenges Facing Older LGBT Americans." which provides insights for professionals about the concerns and preferences of middle-aged LGBT adults. The report is based on data collected from October 27 - November 12, 2017 via an online survey of 1,762 LGBT Americans age 45 and older.

There are more than 2.7 million LGBT adults who are 
50 years or older living in the U.S.


In it's report, AARP identified the three biggest concerns of at least 60 percent of LGBT community members who participated in the survey:

  • 76% were concered about having adequate family and/or social support  to rely on as they age
  • 73% do not have access to LGBT-specific senior services
  • more than 60% were concerned about the quality of care they might receive in a long-term care facility, including neglect, abuse, access to services and harrassment

In some ways, the concerns of LGBT older adults are not that different than those of straight older Americans, but with a clear LGBT-spin.  For example, LGBT participants are less likely to be able to count on their biological families for care and must therefore develop "chosen families" to ensure they get the care they need. Also, similar to older adults of Native American heritage or with specific religious beliefs, LGBT older adults desire services that are more directly designed with their cutltural needs in mind.  The survey found, for example, that 91 percent are interested in LGBT-welcoming housing developments for older adults. 

LGBT older adults are vulnerable to discrimination because of their sexual orientation,
their gender identity, their age, and other factors like race.


The report also noted that any action on the part of long-term care providers and facilities to intentionally affirm LGBT adults can improve patient comfort and quality of care.

  • 88% of respondents would be more comfortable if providers were specifically trained for LGBT patient needs
  • 86% of respondents would be more comfortable to see explicit advertising promoting LGBT-friendly services
  • 85% of respondents would be more comfortable to know if providers or staff are LGBT themselves
  • 82% of respondents would be more comfortable to see LGBT-welcoming signs or symbols displayed on site/in offices, online or in communications

Click here to read the full report from AARP. 

Additional Resources:

Greater Cincinnati Gay Chamber of Commerce

Council on Aging Resource Directory - LGBT Resources

SAGE Care - Staff development and training

AARP Livable Communities - LGBT Housing

NCOA Healthy Living - Pride Month