Photo courtesy of AARP.

AARP Brings Awareness to Specific LGBTQ Elder Needs

There are more than 2.4 million people aged 50 and over identifying as LGBTQ in the United States — a number that is expected to double to 5 million by 2030. As the LGBTQ community grows and ages, its needs for appropriate, affordable, and adequate housing, health care, and financial security will also increase. These considerations are important to ensure a life of dignity and respect.

Just as the LGBTQ community has many dimensions, so too does its individual and community needs. While many lump the LGBTQ community together as one group, there are many intersectionalities and varied experiences to consider. For example, some grew up in an era when being out of the closet meant they could be jailed, humiliated, or deemed mentally ill and could face the prospect of being institutionalized. Many are aging alone because of the devastation of the AIDS crisis or because they are estranged from family, and others are LGBTQ seniors of color who have experienced prejudice based on their race and ethnicity — in addition to their sexual orientation and gender identity.

In an effort to continue to bring awareness to the issues faced by LGBTQ adults and understand their experiences, AARP has curated a series of reports called the Dignity Series.

The latest report, AARP Dignity 2022: The Experience of LGBTQ Older Adults, found:

  • Eight in 10 (82 percent) LGBTQ older adults do not feel like they have the social supports they need as they get older;
  • Almost three-quarters (72 percent) of survey respondents fear that they will be discriminated against when buying a home solely because of their sexual orientation;
  • And four in 10 (41 percent) LGBTQ older adults are concerned about having to hide their identity to access suitable housing as they age. The fear is greater for transgender and nonbinary adults, with almost six in 10 (58 percent) expressing concern about needing to hide their identity to access housing options. These individuals may already face discrimination just for being older, let alone being LGBTQ.

While being a part of the community in some ways looks very different today from previous generations, the reports show that there are shared experiences among community members — regardless of age.

AARP has curated reports like these since 2017 in an effort to understand the experiences of older LGBTQ people, to increase the understanding of the community, and to highlight the diversity that exists among LGBTQ people. The next report in the series, Dignity 2024: The Experience of LGBTQ Adults, is set to be released following the AARP plenary at the National LGBTQ Health Conference at Emory University on August 16, 2024.

 

For more information about the AARP Dignity Series, please visit aarp.org/LGBTQdignity.