Have you seen this happen to your loved one’s and friends who are seniors and need senior housing or hospital care. Despite the advance and strides made in the LGBT community, seniors face challenges most of use don’t think about often or at all. It’s a truly scary realization for many LGBT seniors who fear discrimination and harassment from care facilities and nursing homes.
Should there be a vetting system put into place to give accreditation for care facilities that have policies in place to protect LGBT rights? A LGBT senior residence would be great and several individuals and groups are working toward that goal. Can we make change in the existing system?
LGBTQ2+ seniors grew up in a time when hiding was paramount because the reality of persecution and mistreatment was the norm. Now in their golden years many fall back into that mind set out of fear they may face discrimination, even if they have lived out for many years.
Seniors may not get proper health care, an example being the gay doctor they used to visit doesn’t see them anymore. Seniors may decline home care and this puts their health at risk.
People are working in the system to make change, it’s a transitional time. The younger generation will be much more capable and strident to face these challenges and will demand rights be respected.
As reported on CBC in 2014, Gay men are more likely to age alone, without children, and with increasing numbers of disabilities.
Elderly lesbians face similar challenges, but with one major difference.
“There was some research recently that showed older lesbians had greater success at trying to create communities of care wherein they’d be able to support each other,” said de Vries.
Brian de Vries also emphasized that transgender seniors go unrecognized and are not supported by much of society.
“We find, in our research, much higher rates of depression, of substance abuse, of HIV amongst transgender older adults who struggle in so many ways to find a place in the world that doesn’t recognize the way in which they see themselves.”
Dignity House project stemmed from a discussion paper authored by Alex Sangha. In the City of Vancouver about 20,000 people identify as LGBT seniors, and close to 37,000 for the lower mainland. Close to 4,000 LGBT seniors live in the West End. This continues to be a project in the works and you get more info from their Facebook page here.
Qmunity offers a friendly visitor program. They will match LGBTQ2+ volunteers with LGBTQ2+ seniors for visits in senior homes and long term care facilities. Volunteers also accompany seniors to medical appointments and to Qmunity for senior programs. Are you a senior who would like to use these services or are you someone who can volunteer your time, then contact Donna at firstname.lastname@example.org or give them a phone call at 604-328-9315.