Jan 3 2012

 

 

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An Associated Press story reveals the lack of facilities, resources and care for an increasing large number of LGBT seniors. With the Baby Boomer generation turning 65 this year, the story estimates that 1.5 million LGBT seniors will need housing, healthcare and counseling. There are unique circumstances with this generation because it is the one hit hardest by the HIV/AIDS epidemic so there will be special needs for this group - especially in the counseling arena. The specter of discrimination, bullying and hostile care workers looms over this pending crisis for the community as many seniors are forced to return to the closet to be safe.

From The South Florida News, here is an excerpt from the extremely important story:.

Experts say many gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender seniors fear discrimination, disrespect or worse by health care workers and residents of elder housing facilities — ultimately leading many back into the closet after years of being open.

That anxiety takes on new significance as the first of the 77 million baby boomers turns 65 this year. At least 1.5 million seniors are gay, a number expected to double by 2030, according to SAGE, the New York-based group Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders.

Recognizing the need, developers in Philadelphia have secured a site and initial funding for what would be one of the nation's few GLBT-friendly affordable housing facilities. They hope to break ground on a 52-unit, $17 million building in 2013.

Anti-discrimination laws prohibit gay-only housing, but projects can be made GLBT-friendly through marketing and location. And while private retirement facilities targeted at the gay community exist, such residences are often out of reach for all but the wealthiest seniors.

Census figures released last week indicate about 49 percent of Americans over 65 could be considered poor or low-income.

Gays are also less likely to have biological family to help out with informal caregiving, either through estrangement or being childless, making them more dependent on outside services. And that makes them more vulnerable, SAGE executive director Michael Adams said.

"They cannot at all assume that they will be treated well or given the welcome mat,"