LGBT Older Adults in Long-Term Care Facilities: Stories from the Field

Imagine being out and proud all of your adult life and then moving into a long-term care facility and having to go back into the closet because you don’t feel safe coming out to staff and other residents. Imagine being dismissed and disrespected when you advocate strongly for the rights of your same-sex companion while she’s being cared for in a nursing home. Imagine feeling like you have to endure homophobic comments from a personal care worker assigned to you because you’re afraid of how he’ll treat you if you speak up.

These anecdotes are not only true; they’re common experiences for LGBT older adults. And they’re all in our ground-breaking report, LGBT Older Adults in Long-Term Care Facilities: Stories from the Field. Published in 2010, the report is still making waves in policy circles. In honor of Pride 2015, we’re re-releasing a fresh version of the report for those who may have missed it, along with its accompanying video.

We’re proud that our report was the impetus for the San Francisco Board of Supervisors recent unanimous approval of an LGBT Senior Long Term Care Bill of Rights – the very first of its kind in the nation. We hope that other cities use San Francisco’s ordinance as a model to ensure LGBT seniors have the right to be safe and treated with dignity in every long-term care facility. That’s why we’re re-releasing the report now.

As we celebrate the Supreme Court ruling on June 26 for marriage equality for same-sex couples across the nation, we recognize what a huge step this is for LGBT older adults. At the same time, we know that we must remain committed to fighting the discriminatory practices that linger in the system.

Katrina Cohens

About Katrina Cohens

Katrina Cohens is based in Justice in Aging’s Washington, DC office and serves as the Database Manager.