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LGBTQ+ and their aging needs

Highlights from a 2022 report about LGBTQ+ seniors

My name is Lydia and I am an intern with Normandale Center for Healing and Wholeness this semester. I am pursuing my master's degree in social work from Saint Mary's University. Over the next few weeks, I will be posting a series of findings on Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) older adults and their aging needs.

As the baby boomer generation reaches their older years there is a drive to understand and serve their needs as efficiently as possible. This has brought a flow of new research to anticipate these needs. A collaborative report was released by the University of Minnesota and Rainbow Health in 2022 that shares the findings from an assessment that was released on social media targeting LGBTQ+ seniors in Minnesota. They were asked a series of questions surrounding their needs and deficits as they age. Findings from the report highlight the substantial differences in the experience of LGBTQ+ older adults and the general population.

I’d like to highlight a few key takeaways that I found particularly interesting:

  • LGBTQ seniors are almost twice as likely to be a caregiver while being less likely to have a caregiver.

  • Individuals within this community are 50 percent less likely to have children, so as they age the support from family significantly decreases. The lack of support can lead to further issues unless we, as a community, are able to offer care to these individuals.

  • LGBTQ seniors are more likely to live alone.

This study offers recommendations to providers such as encouraging aging providers to be trained in trauma-informed care and understand the LGBTQ community history. Another recommendation to come of the report is to have more programs and services that target Solo LGBTQ Seniors to reduce isolation, decrease the risk of depression and manage health conditions. The attachment includes a version of the survey used to complete this study. If you would like to view the entire report, click here.

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