LGBT seniors face a range of unique inequalities as they age.
As members of the LGBT community grow older, new hurdles arise that they may not have had to deal with previously. The HOPE Fund of the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan works to support seniors in the LGBT community who may encounter these inequalities.
Challenges facing the aging LGBT community
Some deal with financial challenges stemming from an inability to share the Social Security survivor benefits of their lifetime partners. Others may have a hard time getting insurance and extending those benefits to a partner. LGBT seniors are also half as likely as their heterosexual peers to have close relatives on whom they can rely.
In addition, some laws, regulations and policies pose obstacles to effective estate planning, property rights and compassionate medical decision-making.
Improving the region through new resources
The LGBT Older Adult Coalition, the American Civil Liberties Union Fund of Michigan and the Area Agencies on Aging, with support from The HOPE Fund of the Community Foundation, have been working hard to make southeast Michigan a more LGBT-friendly and culturally aware place in which to age. Their recent accomplishments include the development of planning and referral services, call centers, resource guides, and needs assessments and education programs, all aimed at improving the quality of life for our older LGBT friends and neighbors.