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LGBT community facing long-term care fears

Financing and obtaining long-term nursing home care and medical treatment is concerning for people who are planning for their old age. A recent survey also indicates that lesbians, gay, bisexual or trans Americans are worried that the now-accepted LGBT label still presents obstacles for finding long-term care when they are over 65 years old.

The AARP issued a recent report of its survey of LGBT adults who were at least 45 years old. In addition to long-term care, they expressed worries over access to senior services.

Over 60 percent of LGBT adults said that they worry that long-term care facilities may refuse to admit them or restrict the care they receive. Respondents in this survey also believe they may become victims of neglect, abuse or verbal or physical harassment from these providers.

Most respondents were also concerned about acceptance at nursing homes. They believed that their LGBT status would have to be hidden or denied if they were granted admission into a long-term care facility.

Over 80 percent of the respondents said that they would appreciate signs or symbols from facilities showing that they are welcoming to LGBT residents. They also prefer nursing homes which employ providers and staff that are trained to deal with their specific needs or that identify themselves as LGBT.

This survey is both a challenge and opportunity for long-term care facilities. Over one million LGBT seniors now live in this country and this number is expected to double by 2030.

This problem is also compounded by other issues. Most of the respondents in this survey lack access to community LGBT senior services, especially in non-urban areas. The majority of LGBT older adults said that their communities were somewhat LGBT hospitable. However, only 10 percent live in rural areas, 22 percent in suburban areas, 24 percent in medium-sized cities and 48 percent in larger urban areas with some access to these needed services.

An elder law attorney can help plan for this care and long-term planning. They may also help assure that federal and Ohio laws on nursing home care and equal rights can protect LGBT nursing home residents.

Source: AARP Home & Family, "LGBT adults fear discrimination in long-term care," By Victoria Sackett, March 27, 2018

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