The 5 Core Issues Facing LGBT Adults
With the average life expectancy of Americans now roughly at 80-years-old, people are living longer than ever. Included in this growing population are the number of gay, lesbian, and transgender adults. But while they may all be near the same age, LGBTQ adults face many unique problems as they age, such as:
1. They’re more likely to suffer from social isolation.
Because they’re more likely to be single, estranged from their biological families, and be childless, LGBTQ adults are even more isolated than the general elderly population.
2. Limited access to caregivers.
Roughly 80% of the elderly population is cared for by a family member, like a spouse or a child. But because LGBTQ elderly are less-than-half as likely as their heterosexual peers to have children or a living life partner, they’re also less likely to have a familial caregiver.
If they’re fortunate enough to have the funds for a nursing home or paid caregiver, many LGBTQ adults find that nurses and caregivers aren’t properly trained to care for matters faced by the LGBTQ population.
3. Poor access to basic healthcare.
From children to adults, poor access to healthcare is, unfortunately, very common among people who identify as part of the LGBTQ community. Though we’ve made large strides as a community and nation, LGBTQ people still face discrimination and are more likely than their straight and cisgender peers to be denied certain medical services. Additionally, many healthcare professionals aren’t properly trained to treat gay, lesbian, and transgender people.
4. Financial instability.
Several factors play a role in why LGBTQ adults are less financially secure than the average adult, like:
- Employment discrimination
- Housing discrimination
- Regulations that deny same-sex couples retirement benefits
- State laws that force same-sex beneficiaries to pay steep taxes on things like estate inheritance (taxes a heterosexual spouse wouldn’t have to pay)
5. Aging services.
Many LGBTQ elderly have faced decades of intolerance or harassment, which prevents them from looking for aging services out of fear of continued discrimination. Thankfully, a recent survey of aging services (nursing homes, assisted living homes, in-home caregivers, etc.) showed that more people than ever would be willing to accept LGBTQ seniors into their program.