Many LGBTQ Seniors Don’t Get The Health And End-Of-Life Care They Need. Some Coloradans Are Working To Change ThatIt is not just nursing homes, and long term care (LTC) facilities that are a problem sometimes it is homecare that’s the problem, those that you invite into your home to take care of you is the problem.
By Claire Cleveland
January 22, 2021
On one of her many days in the hospital in 2017, Cathy asked her partner not to tell the nursing staff they were married. She’d been diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia, and Cathy feared the care she got would suffer if the staff knew she was a lesbian.
“She says, ‘Don't tell the nurses that we're married,’” said Cathy’s wife, Esther Lucero. “And I said, ‘Why?’ And she says, ‘Because they're treating you differently. They're treating me differently.’”
According to a study recently published in The Gerontologist, older people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer often face discrimination during end-of-life care. They’re also more likely to have their health care wishes ignored or disregarded.
Many LGBTQ seniors go back into the closet because of a lack of family or social support in health care, assisted living and hospice facilities.
One study, from the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, found living in highly stigmatized environments can result in a shorter life expectancy of around 12 years for LGBTQ people.Here in Connecticut we have been working on the issue for about 5 years now, a group of us joined together to educate LTC facilities and home healthcare providers of the issues facing their LGBTQ clients.
Candrian said the challenges these seniors face fall into three categories: economic insecurity, lack of family or social support, and a lifetime of enduring stigma. But there’s also a lack of data. Hospice and senior care facilities often don’t ask about specific demographic information like sexual orientation or gender identity, known as SOGI data.
“We're not going to stay in the closet,” he said. “I want people to really know that they matter and that those closet doors need to be wide open and left wide open.”
Mireles thinks a lot about what it will be like when he and his husband are older and looking for senior community or assisted living. And those places need to be welcoming to diverse communities, he said, which will take a nationwide effort to ensure better protections for LGBTQ people, especially seniors.
“We need to educate policy makers about LGBT aging issues,” he said.
I used to do what I called “Sanitized the House” when my parents came over to my house. I used to take down all the LGBTQ magnets stuck to the refrigerator and all hide my LGBTQ books. Can you imagine doing that every time a home healthcare provider came to your house?
One of the things that we created via Community Care was…
What is LGBT Inclusivity and the Getting it Right program?Some of the facilities trained are; JFS Care at Home, Jewish Family Services, Brookdale Senior Living, McLean Home Care & Hospice, and Thrive at Home with Whitney Center. We have also been working with state agencies like the Long Term Care Ombudsman Program.
Getting it Right: Creating an LGBT Inclusive Organization is a program of Connecticut Community Care supported with funding from the John H. and Ethel G. Noble Charitable Trust. The program works with aging service providers such as home care and facility-based providers to create welcoming and intentionally inclusive services for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) clients and families. We provide an integrated set of resources to Getting it Right (GIR) providers. These include training and other best practice resources. GIR begins with the premise that intentional inclusion means proactive practices that go beyond current standards and policies of non-discrimination.
Getting it Right recognizes that program implementation is not a “one size fits all” matter. Content knowledge must be integrated into specific organizational practices to ensure new knowledge is sustained. Mechanisms for knowledge transfer must also be integrated into ongoing operations. Thus GIR resources are made available to organizations with the expectation of customization to fit their circumstances.
Getting it Right is a “train the trainer” model. We train organizational champions who are then charged with training other direct service staff. GIR provides these training resources to the provider agency.
There is a lot of work still ahead of us here in Connecticut.
On another topic… Jennifer Finney Boylan.
She did an interview with GLAAD.
LGBTQ&A Podcast: Jennifer Finney Boylan talks about how much the trans experience has changed since her groundbreaking memoir, She’s Not There, was publishedHere is here interview.
By Jeffrey Masters, Guest Contributor |
December 22, 2020
"What does it mean to be a middle-aged woman who had a boyhood?" Jennifer Finney Boylan asks in her new book, Good Boy.
The trans experience—both the experience itself and the way we talk about it — has changed dramatically since 2003 when Jennifer Finney Boylan published her game-changing memoir, She’s Not There: A Life in Two Genders.
The book was one of the first best-sellers by a trans author and has since gone on to become a seminal piece of the trans literary canon. Now, almost 20 years later, Boylan’s latest memoir, Good Boy: My Life in Seven Dogs, asks, “What does it mean to be a middle-aged woman who had a boyhood?” She grapples with what that answer might look like with the help of Playboy, Sausage, Brown, Alex, Lucy, Ranger, and Matt the Mutt, each of the dogs who’ve been there with her through her life’s many transitions.
“Not every lesson that I took with me from boyhood was necessarily a bad one,” she says on the LGBTQ&A podcast. “How do I make sense of it? Through the dogs. I had all those experiences, and even though I can’t exactly remember what that life was like, I definitely remember the dogs.”
Boylan is careful to note that not every trans person agrees with the language she uses to talk about her life.
19:30 in to the interview she makes a comment about how we should respond to the threat to our existence and what we want from cisgender people.