According to a survey conducted by AARP in 2022, more than 80% of older lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) individuals expressed concerns about not having enough social support systems as they age. Across all subsegments of the LGBTQ community, people report being more isolated, less financially secure, and often without the same level of familial support as others who are not part of the queer community may have.
Navigating healthcare looks different in the LGBTQ community, often due to affordability concerns. Many reported rationing medication doses, delaying getting a refill on a needed prescription, or forgoing a visit to a specialist they needed, all due to cost. When it comes to caregiving or receiving care, they also face challenges in being less likely to have the option of being cared for by adult children.
Caregivers across the board often sacrifice their own health and quality of life for the sake of their loved ones. Most LGBTQ caregivers report feeling they had no choice in taking on their caregiver role, often with the person needing their care not accepting their identity, which creates additional strain on the caregiver’s wellbeing.
Despite all the obstacles, the LGBTQ community remains resilient, and many still report leading satisfying lives, especially when they have a support network to lean on. Stable and supportive relationships among partners, friends, and chosen family not only make people happy overall, but contribute to one’s general wellbeing. And the state in which an LGBTQ person lives matters—it impacts how safe and protected they feel in their communities. Washington state is currently among the states where LGBTQ people report feeling most supported, but there is more work to be done in fighting for equality, elevating voices, and creating safe spaces for people to share their experiences.
If you are part of a company, organization, or community group looking for ways to elevate and amplify your LGBTQ support, here are some suggestions made by AARP in their research conclusion:
- Listen to LGBTQ communities. Make an effort to listen to their stories, understand their experiences, and validate their concerns.
- Commit to DEI. Conduct ongoing diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging training opportunities within workplaces or community groups.
- Talk about it! Share the concerns of the LGBTQ community openly on social media and other outlets.
- Be a corporate partner! Sponsor an LGBTQ community event.
Join the PRIDE celebrations with our partner Senior Centers!
- On Thursday, June 15th, from 4-5:30 pm, the Senior Center of West Seattle is welcoming Mitchell C. Hunter of GenPride for a special “Celebrating the History of PRIDE Month” presentation, using personal storytelling to illustrate the diversity of LGBTQIA+ people and their experiences. You’ll learn the historical context of discrimination they have faced and the milestones and achievements they have celebrated. There will be a Q&A session following the presentation. Entry fee: $10. Advance RSVP requested; please call 206-932-4044.
- Shoreline Lake Forest Park Senior Center hosts Rainbow Bingo every month, and the next one will be Friday, June 16th. Check their event page for registration and future dates.
- The Sno-Valley Senior Center is hosting a Pride Lunch on Tuesday, June 20th, along with a game of Pride Jeopardy. Just register at least one day in advance by calling 425-333-4152.