AARP Releases LGBTQ Senior Study

A new AARP survey, “Maintaining Dignity: Understanding and Responding to the Challenges Facing Older LGBT Americans,” elevates statistics about the LGBTQ aging experience that are — and should be — alarming.

According to the survey, half (52%) of LGBTQ adults said they fear discrimination in health care as they age. A staggering 88% of LGBTQ older people want providers in long-term care facilities who are specifically trained to meet LGBT patient needs.

One-third of LGBTQ elder Americans were somewhat worried about having to hide their LGBTQ identity in order to have access to suitable housing. Black and Latino LGBTQ adults report the greatest concerns about future family support, social supports, and discrimination within LTC facilities.

The findings in AARP’s survey echo SAGE’s earlier research on the experiences of the older LGBTQ community. “Out and Visible: The Experiences and Attitudes of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Older Adults, Ages, 45-75” detailed LGBTQ older people’s concerns about adequate care from healthcare providers, smaller support networks, fears of discrimination when accessing healthcare or housing, and other life-or-death issues.

“Out and Visible” revealed that more than half of LGBTQ older people are very or extremely concerned about having enough money to live on, and one in three are very or extremely concerned about being lonely and growing old alone. AARP’s survey results parallel the findings in SAGE’s earlier report, with key statistics that affect long-term care facilities and concerns among Black and Latino LGBTQ older people. The AARP survey results also underline the critical need for SAGE’s diversity and equity initiative, given the heightened concerns about discrimination and care among LGBTQ elders of color.

“With this new survey, AARP has made a vital contribution to increasing awareness about the lives, challenges, and resiliencies of LGBT older people,” says SAGE CEO Michael Adams. “The important work now is to do everything possible to respond to the acute needs documented in the survey so that LGBT older people have the same opportunities in their later years as all older Americans.”

SAGE is the country’s national LGBT aging organization and sponsors a broad array of programs that address the needs of LGBT elders, including SAGECare, which provides training to long-term care facilities across the U.S. In 2018, SAGE is celebrating its 40th anniversary.