"The baby boomers are coming, the baby boomers are coming." For years now everyone's been hearing the warnings about the anticipated crisis in elder care . If you're lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT), the challenge is complicated due to widespread homophobia, trans-phobia, racial injustice and economic inequality. Right now estimates say there are 1.5 million LGBT elders in the United States, and by 2030 that number will nearly double to 3 million LGBT people 65 and older.
It's only been in the last few years that people have started to do research into the needs and life experience of older LGBT people and their families. To further complicate the issue, older LGBT people increasingly face aging with HIV/AIDS as the first generation of survivors to navigate the impact of HIV on aging. At the Task Force, we've seen this crisis approaching and we're dealing with it.
Why It Matters:
Often LGBT older people don't have access to adequate health care, affordable housing and other social services they need. This can be the result of institutionalized heterosexism, racism, ageism and/or transphobia. But for whatever reason, what it means is that many LGBT older adults—especially people of color—have reduced incomes, and they often avoid the very care providers they need to remain healthy and independent due to perceived or real discrimination when seeking services. The Task Force is educating mainstream providers and key policy makers about the needs of LGBT older people and their families as they age and how to meet those needs in a respectful and dignified manner.
What We're Doing:
The Task Force sponsored and produced research to highlight these issues, and by doing that we hope to build the knowledge base of mainstream and LGBT service providers about the needs of older LGBT adults.
- The Task Force LGBT Aging Initiative is a co-sponsor of The Aging and Health Report: Disparities and Resilience among Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Older Adults research sponsored by the federal government to examine LGBT health disparities looking at older adults from ages of 50 to 90.
- The Task Force Aging Initiative is also a cosponsor of national research to measure the readiness of Area Agencies on Aging to serve LGB and T older adults: Ready to Serve? The Aging Network and LGB and T Older Adults.
- During 2011 we co-authored Stories from the Field: LGBT Older Adults in Long-Term Care Facilities with lead author, the National Senior Citizens' Law Center. Research conducted nationwide from 2009 and 2010 are the basis of the findings and recommendations to provide safe and dignified care for LGBT elders in long-term care facilities.
- In 2010, we released a comprehensive state-by-state analysis of the intersections of aging anti-discrimination laws with LGBT anti-discrimination laws. This project was to inform the advocacy of state-wide activists who work to get critical protections for people who are older and LGBT. This highly regarded resource is available to review by individual states in our report, Our Maturing Movement: State-by-state LGBT Aging Policy and Recommendations.
- In November 2009, the Task Force released Outing Age 2010: Public Policy Issues Affecting Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Elders, an update to the groundbreaking Outing Age report issued in 2000. Like its predecessor, Outing Age 2010 presents an in-depth look at public policy issues and challenges facing millions of aging LGBT people in the United States.
- In 2008 and updated annually, The Task Force in partnership with SAGE, produced reports to help providers and advocates deliver meaningful services and policies for LGBT older adults. a renewed effort to impact aging policies, including a guide, Find the Dollars You Deserve, to explain to LGBT local service providers and community centers The Task Force LGBT Aging Initiative is partnering with state and local LGBT groups to do advocacy and policy work specifically focused on LGBT aging issues.
- The Task Force is joining with national aging advocacy and policy development groups to include LGBT aging concerns and interests in proposed initiatives in national aging policies for the baby-boom generation and 21st-century America.
What You Can Do:
We hope that our work will inspire and enhance the work of providers, activists, and policy makers to improve the lives of LGBT older adults. We're committed to creating and finding new research and products to spur those efforts. Many new programs and services are growing across the country. We'd love to let others know about new and creative work for aging LGBT people and their families, and if that's what you're doing, we'd be happy to highlight your work. Send information about what your community is currently doing about LGBT aging issues to Laurie Young.
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