LGBTQ baby boomers — the generation who pioneered the fight for equal rights and acceptance — are drawing upon that same radical spirit to ensure senior care services and institutions are inclusive and responsive to their health and relationship needs as they age. 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 social progression towards equality in many areas, LGBTQ community members—especially those of color—still face unique challenges as they age.
More than 75% of those over 45 years old are concerned about having a reliable family and/or social support to assist them as they age*. As same-sex marriage is becoming more acceptable, 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 inaccessible. Most, however, created a “family” of compassionate friends that will be there for them in case of an emergency. A key issue for LGBT folx 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. They are also far more likely to be concerned about their race or ethnic identities, as well as gender identity, putting them at risk for poor quality of care. Rather than one type of discrimination out-ranking others, black and Latino members of the LGBT community carry additional reasons to feel vulnerable in the health care system.
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 folx overcome these challenges is at the heart of our mission. Those 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 wheelchair”.
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
* 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