Report: LGBT elders fear discrimination

Published: April 5, 2011

A majority of respondants who answered a national online survey believe that staff of long-term care facilities would discriminate against them if they were open about their sexual or gender orientation, a new report from the National Senior Citizens Law Center says.

The responders included LGBT elders, family members of LGBTs, social service providers and legal service providers.

The report, called LGBT Older Adults in Long-Term Care Facilities: Stories From the Field – analyzed survey results that culled stories of abuse and neglect. Though the survey was not a scientific sample, it included hundreds of personal comments and included reports of 853 instances of mistreatment.

“In SAGE’s experience, LGBT older adults often fear that they will encounter providers who might be uncomfortable with, or even hostile, towards them, untrained to work with them or unaware that they even exist. Even when providers are supportive, fear of discrimination keeps many LGBT elders in the closet and prevents them from seeking the care they need,” said Michael Adams, Executive Director of SAGE. “This speaks to a great need for training on cultural competency and LGBT aging issues, available through outlets such as the National Resource Center on LGBT Aging, for staff at long-term care facilities.”

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