As boomers become a large-scale portion of the population in the coming years, providers will need to adjust care models to accommodate the needs of this growing demographic. Particularly, challenges in caring for lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgendered (LGBT) seniors will cause providers to rethink current care models.
Between 4-8% of seniors identify themselves as LGBT, and the percentage is expected to double by 2030 as these baby boomers age, according to the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.
Nowadays, LGBT seniors are finding that their biggest concern is no longer trying to fit into society, rather who will care for them as they age, notes an article from the Boston Globe.
Citing that 80% of LGBT seniors fear revealing their sexual orientations to care providers, Boston Globe writes that this group is also increasingly unlikely to seek continued care for that same reason.
Though states like Massachusetts, among others, have labeled LGBT seniors as an underserved population, training program directives must be established to better understand the emotional and psychological anxieties of this senior group.
With only 22% of LGBT seniors in long-term care facilities are open about their sexual orientations—according to a March 2010 survey by Services and Advocacy for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgender Elders—much of the social stigma still resides within the minds of many LGBT residents, despite prejudices having died down in society.
Not only do caregivers need to implement training programs on how to assist LGBT seniors, Boston Globe notes that the path to improvement is a two way street, as seniors overcoming their own personal fears is the other half of the solution.
Written by Jason Oliva