LGBT Retirement Communities in The United States
Currently, there are over 3 million Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) persons over the age of 65 in the United States, and this number is estimated to rise to 4 million by the year 2020. LGBT elders face many additional issues concerning their future retirement plans. Approximately two-thirds do not have children and up to half live alone. Therefore, LGBT persons may have a lack of support in their retirement years. Additionally, LGBT couples are not legally recognized; spouses are often excluded in late-life decisions, inheritance claims, and spousal pension and social security plans. Several healthcare concerns exist for older LGBT adults, including increased incidence of illness and disease, lack of disclosure about sexual orientation to health providers, and lack of support for individual needs. Many of these concerns affect the decisions LGBT persons make concerning their retirement residence. One study found that LGBT persons are least likely to choose a retirement community as a residence due to fears of unmet needs and heterosexism that occurs in many retirement communities. LGBT persons have increasing concern about discrimination as they age and fear that most retirement communities do not recognize the special needs of LGBT elders or offer supportive services.
Several retirement communities have been built with particular attention to the needs of LGBT older persons. These establishments cater to various income levels and aim to have a discrimination-free environment. Several popular LGBT retirement communities are described below. None of these communities are exclusive to LGBT persons, but are specifically geared toward meeting their needs.
- Rainbow Vision
- Rainbow Vision was reportedly the first retirement community to open that was specifically developed for LGBT older adults. It opened in 2006 and is located in Santa Fe, New Mexico. This establishment offers independent living (with access to meal services and other amenities), and assisted living (with access to healthcare services), as well as educational, social, health-maintenance, recreational, housekeeping, and LGBT supportive services.
- Gay and Lesbian Elder Housing
- The Gay and Lesbian Elder Housing (GLEH) organization is an outgrowth of the Alliance for Diverse Aging Community Services of Los Angeles California. GLEH has opened a retirement community called Triangle Square in Hollywood, California that is geared towards LGBT older adult. The GLEH retirement community focuses particularly on low-income individuals and is built on city owned land and supported by a grant from California's Aging With Dignity Initiative (2001). GLEH offers access to supportive LGBT services, housekeeping, recreation, social services, transportation, and some meals.
- Openhouse is a retirement community that offers multicultural, urban retirement in San Francisco, California. Openhouse honors LGBT couples and offers supportive services to both residents and non-residents. This establishment offers care for all income levels and incorporates intergenerational contact that respects both aging and youth.
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