June 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising, the spark that ignited America’s gay liberation movement. LGBTQ Baby Boomers are this movement’s “Greatest Generation”—pioneers who have spent decades breaking down barriers and advocating for equality, inclusion, and respect.
Growing Bolder. Not Just Older.
Today’s outspoken LGBTQ elders are drawing upon that radical spirit to ensure senior care services and institutions are inclusive and responsive to their health and relationship needs. Remaining independent, true to self, and in control are key to being able to continue living out loud and proud throughout the retirement years.
Despite the many societal advances toward equality since Stonewall, LGBTQ community members—especially those of color—still face unique challenges as they age.
More than three-quarters of those over 45 years old are concerned about having adequate family and/or social supports to rely on as they age*. Although same-sex marriage is on the rise, almost half of all LGBT Americans are single and 65% have no children or grandchildren. For these “solo agers," being able to rely on family or religious communities when unexpected changes in health, a financial crisis, or a living situation occurs is unfortunately low. Most, however, have a “made family” of compassionate friends that will be there for them in case of an emergency. A key issue for LGBT seniors is to ensure they have their wishes in writing and documents in order to accurately reflect who they want to do what for them in case they become incapacitated.
Other top areas of concern for today’s middle-aged to senior gay and lesbian individuals include:
- 76% do not have access to LGBT specific senior services*
- 60%+ are concerned about being in a long-term care situation and experiencing neglect, abuse, and verbal or physical harassment*
- 91% are at least somewhat interested in LGBT-welcoming housing development for older adults*
Black and Latino LGBT Americans are even more concerned about multiple forms of discrimination and negative outcomes as they age.
The Need for LGBTQ Advocacy
In addition to the concerns expressed above, LGBT Americans have increased rates of anxiety and depression based somewhat over their vision of their future. They may also have less income and assets, lower Social Security benefits, and less options to save which compound making a successful financial plan to deal with life’s “what-ifs”.
At Treece Financial, helping LGBTQ seniors overcome these challenges is at the heart of our mission. Our community elders, who have so boldly fought to improve all of our lives in so many ways, deserve our dedicated efforts for more inclusive senior services and responsive healthcare for them — as well as for us in the coming decades. The day may come sooner than you think when you may be chanting “We’re here, we’re queer, now get me my rhinestone-encrusted walker”.
Want to explore the issues around Aging “Gay-cefully” in an interactive presentation and resource-sharing session? Join me for a special luncheon and educational seminar “50 Ways to Age Stronger: Living Out Loud, Proud & In Charge” on Tuesday, June 4th, 12-2 pm at the Pride Center at Equality Park in Wilton Manors. Complimentary admission and open to the community.
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Learn more about how Treece Financial serves the financial planning needs of LGBTQ individuals in South Florida and download copies of LGBTQ-focused planning guides at treecefinancial.com/lgbtq
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* Maintaining Dignity: Understanding and Responding to the Challenges Facing Older LGBT Americans, An AARP survey of LGBT adults age 45-plus. March 2018. Download PDF of full report