Being diagnosed with dementia can present a number of challenges. But a new study by the LGBT advocacy group SAGE and the Alzheimer’s Association found that LGBT elders could face even more hurdles as they age.
The idea was to get the conversation started around the intersection of LGBT aging and Alzheimer’s disease.
“I run our SAGE care training program so a lot of what I do is go into memory care communities or senior centers and teach them about the stigma that LGBT elders face, but I personally hadn’t thought a lot about the stigma that people living with Alzheimer’s or other dementias may encounter,” said Tim Johnston with SAGE.
The report also found LGBT elders face more health disparities. They may face barriers to getting help due to discrimination or a lack of cultural competency on the part of care providers.
“Oftentimes when people are feeling vulnerable, maybe anxious about how they’re going to be treated, they’ll choose not to disclose that they are LGBT or maybe hide the nature of their relationship,” said Johnston.
The report made several recommendations for those providers, including using LGBT affirming language and incorporating LGBT people in marketing materials.