On Tuesday of this week there was a National LGBT Elder Housing Summit held at the White House. Attendees (myself included) were told it was off the record and not for attribution – a little odd since we were encouraged to tweet during the summit! But anyway, I won’t quote anyone, that should keep me in the guidelines.
It was am amazing summit and a sobering one. I left there newly concerned about my own retirement planning and prospects – do my husband and I have everything in place we should have? Health care proxies – check. Wills – check. End of life care discussion – not yet. Add it to the list.
A few basic statistics provided by SAGE, the event’s sponsor (I think I can say that):
When searching for housing, 1 in 8 (13 percent) LGBT older people report they have been discriminated against.
1 in 4 transgender older people (25 percent) report discrimination based on their gender identities.
48 percent of older same-sex couples experienced profound discrimination when inquiring about housing in a senior facility.
1 in 6 (17 percent) LGBT older people is very or extremely concerned that he/she will be discriminated against if others in an assisted-living community know about their sexual orientation.
Panelist after panelist talked about the current housing crisis in this country and its looming explosion as the elder population is set to double by 2030. The graying of America is upon us, and the unique obstacles faced by LGBTQ elders are often acute. I’ll keep it to that and just say it left me thinking deeply about the realities we face in aging. On the lighter side, I met some amazing people, tireless advocates, and very inspiring voices for justice.