Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender older adults face certain obstacles in accessing good quality health care, according to an article in the latest Public Policy and Aging Report, a quarterly publication of the National Academy on an Aging Society.
The article, written by Karen I. Fredriksen-Goldsen, Ph.D., professor and director of the Institute for Multigenerational Health at the University of Washington in Seattle, states that 21% of LGBT older adults “have not revealed their sexual orientation to their primary physician, with bisexual women and men less likely to disclose than lesbians and gay men. This prevents discussions about sexual health, hormone therapy, risk of breast cancer, hepatitis and HIV risk, or other potential risk factors.”
Dr. Fredriksen-Goldsen goes on to note that 13% of LGBT older adults “have been denied or provided inferior healthcare, and almost one-quarter (22 percent) of transgender older adults need to see a doctor but can’t because of cost. In addition, 15 percent fear accessing healthcare outside the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community and eight percent fear accessing healthcare inside the community.”
The article is one of 10 that makes this issue of the Public Policy and Aging Report (PPAR) the first ever dedicated to addressing the needs of LGBT older adults. “Given the voluminous gerontological literature that has built up over the past half-century, it is hard to imagine that any set of aging populations has been largely ignored or under-investigated,” PPAR Editor Robert Hudson, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Social Policy at the Boston University School of Social Work, said in a prepared statement. “Yet, LGBT older adults have remained nearly invisible to the community of advocates, researchers, practitioners, administrators, and politicians who associate themselves with the modern aging enterprise. This issue of PPAR takes a step toward filling that void.”
Topics of other articles in the report are varied and include how health care reform will impact LGBT elders, policy issues and social concerns facing older adults with HIV, and research and policy directions related to LGBT aging. A pdf of the report can be accessed for free here.
The National Academy on an Aging Society is a policy institute of The Gerontological Society of America. The report was cosponsored by the New York-based Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE).
— Doug Brunk (on Twitter@dougbrunk)
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