Advocates of LGBT rights are seeing a problem ahead. As the population of America’s older adults grows, the number of LGBTs (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) reaching the age of 65 and above will definitely double. By the year 2013, it is expected that their number will reach more than 3 million.
Being a home health agency in Chillicothe Ohio, Comfort and Care Health Services LLC has been seeing older adults face problems related to aging. The problem is not only limited to that. The communities of older LGBTs have problems unique to their own identification. The following are these unique challenges:
- Admission to Aging Services
Older LGBT adults do not want to admit themselves to aging services. This is mainly because they do not want to be discriminated and harassed. Only few service providers are capable of reaching out to the LGBT community. Some of them are even prepared to address discrimination and insensitivity towards these older adults.
- Basic health care
Most seniors here in the U.S. rely on their family members to care for them. These family members include their spouses, children, and even their relatives. But unlike the usual family household, an LGBT family does not have a close family to help them.
Most of them rely on healthcare services provided by doctors, therapists, pharmacists, nursing home staffs, and even caregivers. Some of these professionals may be hostile towards these LGBT elderly members of our community.
There are some cases that older LGBT adults feel fear towards the people who should be the ones to help them. Many of these patients experience discrimination, even from professionals themselves.
- Financial difficulties
According to surveys, older LGBT people are more financially insecure compared to other American elders. There is a high probability rate of poverty among lesbian and gay couples, with numbers ranging from 9.1 to 4.9 percent.
There are many reasons that add up to the poverty rate among these individuals. Most of which can even be prevented. Some of these factors include:
- Employment discrimination
- Issues with pension, Medicaid, and Social Security
- Retirement plans that do not cater to same-sex couples
Aside from those, laws in the state cut LGBT partners out from passing their inheritance. These laws call for these couples to pay higher amounts of an estate that is owned by the surviving heterosexual spouse.
- Issues with the caregiver
Most LGBT seniors are unable to care for their longtime partner or spouse. Others cannot even help in deciding the medical care of their loved ones. The partners and the family of choice of most LGBT elders are not recognized by the law.
Hence, this makes it difficult in obtaining medical leaves or financial aid. It can be extremely difficult for those who have partners who are terminally ill. Not to mention the problem of being excluded in deciding for their loved one’s funeral plans and medical care.
- Social isolation
Even if older LGBT seniors have their own family of choice, including other support networks, many of these people experience social isolation. Most of them are more prone to living alone and without a partner. Most LGBT older couples remain childless.
They will also feel less welcome in places for senior adults. This includes senior centers, places of worship, and volunteer centers. If these seniors experience isolation and their situation are not remedied as soon as possible, it is highly likely that they will suffer from:
- Poor nutrition
- Premature morality
But you should not lose faith in humanity just yet. There are people whose perspective has changed in the recent years. Healthcare providers like Comfort and Care Health Services LLC want to provide a health care service that does not discriminate.
We believe that even LGBT seniors have the same need for healthcare as their heterosexual counterpart. If you are in need of a quality health care service for you or your beloved LGBT senior, visit our website at www.comfortandcarehealth.com.