Gays in nursing homes

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jan 18, 2010 7:45 PM GMT
    The fate of gays, i.e. the threat of homophobia, in nursing homes is a serious and far reaching issue for our community. Being young, outspoken and/or self righteous is a wonderful thing when you can take care of yourself but what happens when you are infirm, not rich and have to rely on caretakers not necessarily of your own choosing?

    Fortunately, gay retirement communities are starting to address this but it still remains problematic. For more info, see: http://www.gayretirementguide.com/
  • DCEric

    Posts: 3713

    Jan 18, 2010 8:34 PM GMT
    That is good for now, but with the closing of the age of nursing homes, as our society moves towards other ways of taking care of the elderly, who cannot do so themselves and who no one else to turn to, things will radically change by the time we are facing such issues.

    Edit: By "we", I meant myself and the OPer.
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    Jan 18, 2010 8:44 PM GMT
    The issues for homosexuals in aged care is not really any diffrent to those of straight people, as you get outspoken straight people too. Also gay people as always can blend in, and hide. many straight people have no-one but cares to care for them either. Nursing homes are along way from disappearing, in fact it's going the other way. We are now seeing people from cultures in nursing homes, that once you never did, because their families took care of them, and now they are placing them in nursing homes.

    But I decided sometime ago, I'll inject myself between the toes with insulin before going into aged care, and that has nothing to do with being a homosexual.
  • DCEric

    Posts: 3713

    Jan 18, 2010 8:51 PM GMT
    Actually nursing homes have been effectively outlawed in the US. Congress no longer funds them. Instead we have assisted living centers, which are wildly different and have a very different set of standards. The few nursing homes that are left are completely privately funded.

    These assisted living centers are growing in popularity because the operate in direct partnership (for the most part) with Medicaid and Medicare. The system is greatly improved over the nursing homes of the past, and will be revamped again as healthcare for seniors continues to change in the United States.
  • WILDCARD73

    Posts: 545

    Jan 19, 2010 12:15 AM GMT
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    Jan 19, 2010 12:21 AM GMT
    I don't see how sexuality is going to be particularly relevant, but I know I could be wrong. It's just that I've known a handful of people in nursing homes/assisted living, and most of them have difficulty shuffling around the building... I don't see sex as being a big part of their lives, and thus any sexuality issues are probably null.

    Do you mean gay -couples- trying to move in together and having problems? I don't think I've ever heard of a nursing home discriminating against someone on sexual orientation, but maybe I'm just not listening in the right places icon_razz.gif.
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    Jan 19, 2010 12:43 AM GMT
    Actually, LGBT elders have a very hard time in the system. I worked for a while with one of the foremost experts in queer aging and it was very eye opening. In fact, many gay and lesbian elders feel that they have to return to the closet in order to get along in nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

    Here's a link to a report called Outing Age, that is pretty wonky but something we should all read.

    http://www.thetaskforce.org/reports_and_research/outing_age_2010
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    Jan 19, 2010 6:27 AM GMT
    Christian73 saidActually, LGBT elders have a very hard time in the system. I worked for a while with one of the foremost experts in queer aging and it was very eye opening. In fact, many gay and lesbian elders feel that they have to return to the closet in order to get along in nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

    Here's a link to a report called Outing Age, that is pretty wonky but something we should all read.

    http://www.thetaskforce.org/reports_and_research/outing_age_2010


    Thank you for the link to that interesting and comprehensive National Gay and Lesbian Task Force study.

    My original intent was to draw attention to LGBT abuse in nursing homes; I'll concede that the report confirms that its been problematic documenting cases so such abuse hasn't been well researched to date. Despite this, the report observed the following in its key policy recommendations:

    "[LGBT] elders report widespread fear, discrimination and barriers to care...[and] remain at high risk in their elder years for impoverishment, neglect and abuse at the hands of indifferent aging systems and bigoted individual providers."
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    Jan 19, 2010 6:56 AM GMT
    DCEric saidActually nursing homes have been effectively outlawed in the US. Congress no longer funds them. Instead we have assisted living centers, which are wildly different and have a very different set of standards. The few nursing homes that are left are completely privately funded.

    These assisted living centers are growing in popularity because the operate in direct partnership (for the most part) with Medicaid and Medicare. The system is greatly improved over the nursing homes of the past, and will be revamped again as healthcare for seniors continues to change in the United States.


    Thanks for making the distinction between assisted living facilities and nursing homes. ALFs involve communal living and assistance with the activities of daily living while nursing homes provide 24 hour care by licensed nursing staff. ALFs haven't replaced nursing homes. Between the privatization you mentioned and their patient populations nursing home residents are by definition more vulnerable, which is why my use of the term wasn't a misnomer. Accreditation standards vary for both but regulations are only as good as their enforcement. The 2010 National Gay and Lesbian Task Force study on LGBT elder care provided to us by Christian73 also makes an up front distinction between the two in another of its key policy recommendations:

    "Vigorously call upon and enforce the Joint Commission’s anti-LGBT discrimination accreditation rules in assisted living facilities and nursing homes to catalyze wholesale change in assisted living and nursing care for LGBT people."

    DCEric saidThat is good for now, but with the closing of the age of nursing homes, as our society moves towards other ways of taking care of the elderly, who cannot do so themselves and who no one else to turn to, things will radically change by the time we are facing such issues.


    You're correct in that we're moving towards other forms of eldercare, particularly home health care given the high cost of nursing homes and AFLs. But home caregivers have been cited as among the leading perpetrators of elder abuse. Hopefully these concerns will be addressed by the time we're seniors, but today's LGBT senior population needs intervention now, and according to the abovereferenced study no inroads have been made for a decade.
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    Jul 15, 2011 10:36 AM GMT
    The reality of this is little diffrent for straight people either.

    The Op's opinion is really just a state of mind; not all homosexuals are victims, and will be in old age. Not diffrent to a straight person, who is now old weak and frail, yet lived a full life.
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    Jul 15, 2011 11:40 AM GMT
    Truly saddening. Makes one wonder how legitimate "It Gets Better" is...
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    Jul 15, 2011 12:00 PM GMT
    My children are going to take care of me like I am going to take care of my parents if need be. I will never ever send my folks of to retirement homes. I believe in what some of you call Karma, especially with parents. I believe that my kids will treat me the same as I have treated my parents. (The kids that I don't have yet LOL).
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    Jul 15, 2011 12:44 PM GMT
    Saddly I have seen many people who was to take care of their parents, until the end, then end up bewildered when their own children place them in a nursing home; they don't want the inconvenience on their lives, ans would a loving parent expect such a thing in today's world?

    You now see many cultures who once looked after the old ones until death, butting their elderly in Nursing Homes.
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    Jul 15, 2011 1:07 PM GMT
    I had to put my first partner into an ALF when he was diagnosed with PML, a terminal AIDS condition. Actually he should have been in a different kind of place, but there was none suitable near us, this ALF was very nice, and I wanted to stay close to him. So I lied about his prognosis, and the medical report from the hospital where he'd been was vague on the point, though the doctors there had told me privately he had no chance, a matter of a month or 2 at most, which is how it went.

    And I made no secret about our relationship to the staff. But then I was there every day, usually all day long, except when I was seeing attorneys and others in order to make his final arrangements. And so no member of the staff would have dared to mistreat him in any way, or I would see it. But I actually doubt they would have done that anyway, a quality place.

    Interesting thread, and something to consider, especially at my age.