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Health & Wellness Needs of LGBT Seniors

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While many LGBT advocates are focused on securing marriage equality and equal benefits for LGBT people, many people in the LGBT community and the challenges they face are going largely unnoticed. This week the groups Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE) and the National Academy on an Aging Society released a report in the journal Public Policy & Aging that highlights the unique challenges LGBT older adults continue to face despite the policy advances that have been made in recent years.

"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. 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," Robert Hudson, the study’s editor and the chair of the social policy department at the Boston University School of Social Work, said in a statement.

Executive director of SAGE Michael Adams added that LGBT people still face significant barriers to living a happy and healthy life in their older years. These challenges include poor health outcomes, a lack of economic security, social isolation, and unequal treatment under the law, especially when it comes to programs aimed at aging populations, Adams said.

With estimates placing the number of LGBT people over the age of 65 by 2030 at over 3 million, it is more important than ever for the needs of older LGBT Americans to be addressed. GLAAD encourages media outlets to make a greater effort to tell the stories of this community and the unique challenges they face. GLAAD also asks journalists to include more stories of older LGBT lives in their coverage of geriatric issues, who comprise a significant proportion of the aging population and yet are rarely mentioned in articles. 


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