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12.19.2014
SAGE Publications


LGBT Older Adults and Rethinking Aging Laws for Today's Older Adults

Services & Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE) & The Movement Advancement Project and SAGE & Center for American Progress

September 1, 2010


Most federal and state safety net programs that support older adults are built around the presumption of a married heterosexual couple. This presumption simply does not match the reality of the lives of today's older adults. Almost one-third of the entire population aged 65 and older are widowed men and women, and 42 percent of women aged 65 and older and 59 percent of women aged 75 and older are widowed. Many heterosexual elders live in domestic partnerships, often because marrying or remarrying would result in unaffordable financial consequences. Just more than 4 percent of older adults (including those in religious orders and those who simply choose to remain single) were never married. Another 4 percent of older adults are gay, lesbian, or bisexual, and may be single or in a legally recognized same-sex relationship. Policymakers need to examine ways to adapt laws and safety nets to help protect all of today's older adults. Many of the recommendations to help LGBT older adults would also improve the lives of heterosexual elders in domestic partnerships, or single and widowed heterosexual elders who are not able to rely on a spouse for financial or caretaking support.

Categories: Federal, Economic Security, Legal & Financial


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