Many retirement and health issues for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) and intersex people are unique from their heterosexual counterparts and these populations often have to take extra steps addressing their employment, health, legal and housing concerns to ensure their needs are met.
There are many problems facing elderly LGBT individuals. They tend to have less money, worse health and they are much more likely to be alone in comparison to heterosexual people. There are several reasons for this but the main one is discrimination in the form of shunning from family, friends, and/or coworkers.
LGBTI individuals are also less likely to have strong family support systems in place to have relatives to care for them during aging. They are twice as likely to enter old age living as a single person; and two and a half times more likely to live alone. Because institutionalized homophobia as well as cultural discrimination and harassment still exist, they are less likely to access health care, housing, or social services or when they do, find the experience stressful or demeaning.
Services & Advocacy for GLBT Elders
SAGE: Services & Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE) is the country's largest and oldest organization dedicated to improving the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) older adults. Founded in 1978 and headquartered in New York City, SAGE is a national organization that offers supportive services and consumer resources for LGBT older adults and their caregivers, advocates for public policy changes that address the needs of LGBT older people, and provides training for aging providers and LGBT organizations, largely through its National Resource Center on LGBT Aging.
National Resource Center on LGBT Aging: The country's first and only technical assistance resource center aimed at improving the quality of services and supports offered to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) older adults - www.lgbtagingcenter.org
Empire State Pride Agenda Foundation - A network of nonprofit LGBT organizations that provides health and social services to LGBT New Yorkers, including youth, seniors, people of color, and women. The Network focuses on non-HIV-related services, such as primary and preventive care, crime victim assistance, family counseling, and education. The Empire State Pride Agenda Foundation is located at 16 West 22nd Street, 2nd floor in Manhattan. Call 212-627-0305.
Case Management at Openhouse: The Openhouse case management program offers a comprehensive look at the needs of LGBT older adults, adults with disabilities, and/or caregivers to ensure high-quality holistic care, coordination of services, and follow-through, while maintaining the dignity of each individual and addressing his/her unique needs - openhouse-sf.org
Gay & Lesbian Elder Housing: GLEH is the premier developer of LGBT-friendly affordable housing for low-income seniors and is particularly committed to meeting the growing needs of people living with HIV/AIDS. Their mission is to improve the life experience of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender seniors by developing affordable housing, providing comprehensive care, and ensuring, through advocacy and education, a brighter future for the LGBT elder community - gleh.org
Griot Circle: An intergenerational and culturally diverse community-based organization serving older LGBT persons, especially elders of color. Griot Circle is located at 25 Flatbush Avenue, 5th floor in Brooklyn. Call 718-246-2775.
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