Posted on 02 April 2011
By Mark Miller
Services & Advocacy for LGBT Elders (SAGE) launched a new caregiving portal on its National Resource Center on LGBT Aging website.
The Resource Center’s caregiving portal offers tools, tips and multimedia resources that address the challenges unique to LGBT older adults providing care to loved ones.
“Caregiving, and access to caregiver supports, is a major health issue facing the growing numbers of LGBT older adults in this country,” said Hilary Meyer, Director of the National Resource Center on LGBT Aging. “Because LGBT older adults often fear discrimination from health care and aging providers, they delay seeking the services they need. This can lead to financially and mentally overextended caregivers, and care recipients who are prematurely institutionalized in nursing homes or long-term care facilities.”
Approximately 80 percent of long-term care in the United States is provided by family members. However, many LGBT older adults, who are often estranged from their families of origin, must rely on partners, friends and families of choice. Because these relationships are not recognized under federal and many state laws, LGBT caregivers are often denied the resources, medical decision-making authority, and support extended to their heterosexual counterparts.
In addition, a lifetime of social stigma causes many LGBT older adults to fear that they will face hostile or unwelcoming health care providers, or might encounter care workers who are unfamiliar with the needs of the LGBT community—pushing them back in the closet and preventing them from receiving the quality of care they deserve.
New resources on the SAGE caregiving portal include articles videos, publications, link to local resources around the country and training resources.
Established in 2010, the National Resource Center on LGBT Aging is the country’s first and only technical assistance resource center aimed at improving the quality of services and supports offered to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) older adults.