The Williams Institute Releases New Report on LGBT Older Adults Highlighting Isolation, Discrimination, and Health Disparities Report is basis for recommendations that federal agency target resources to LGBT seniors
In LGBT Aging: A Review of Research Findings, Needs, and Policy Implications, Soon Kyu Choi and Ilan H. Meyer provide a review of what is known about lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) older adults.
Some key findings include:
Researchers estimate that there are over 2.4 million LGBT older adults over age 50 in the U.S., with the expectation that this number will double by 2030
Older lesbians, bisexual, and gay men have higher prevalences of mental health problems, disability, and disease and physical limitations than older heterosexual people
Transgender older adults are also at higher risk for poor physical health, disability, and depressive symptoms compared to cisgender adults
LGBT older adults are also resilient and find support through chosen families and informal support networks such as LGBT community organizations and religious networks
LGBT older adults need to be recognized by the Older Americans Act (OAA) as a “greatest social need” group, opening up important funding avenues to prioritize services for this group
Anti-discrimination legislation and expanding the definition of family to include families of choice are policies that should be taken into consideration
LGBT older adults are a growing population likely in need of more frequent health care and social support. Culturally sensitive training for service providers could be critical in alleviating expectations of and experiences of discrimination that many LGBT older adults fear when seeking help
In addition, the LGBT Aging reportwas the basis for the submission of recommendations by several Williams Institute scholars to the Administration for Community Living (ACL). ACL is considering new guidelines for the targeting of resources to older Americans who have the greatest social and economic need.
The Williams Institute’s submission to the ACL highlighted research on the ways in which discrimination and stigma related to sexual orientation and gender identity can limit the degree to which older LGBT adults experience full inclusion in society and are able to access available services and supports.