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Horizon Elder Law & Estate Planning Blog

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Three Issues LGBTQ Seniors Face in Long-Term Care Facilities

A study published by the National Institutes of Health found that aging gay, lesbian, and bisexual adults in California tend to be single and without adult children as they enter their senior years. As LGBTQ seniors age, they may need to move into long term care facilities because they lack support from a partner, family members, or adult children. 

Unfortunately, LGBTQ seniors may face issues that are unique to the LGBTQ community that heterosexual seniors may not face when contemplating long term care. Planning for long term care is crucial for LGBTQ individuals, who may want to consult a California long-term care planning attorney now to ensure they have an estate plan that addresses issues related to long term care for LGBTQ seniors.

What Makes Aging Different for LGBTQ Individuals?

Discrimination 

The differences faced by LGBTQ individuals as they age directly relate to the issues they face as they seek quality long term care. The lack of legal and social acceptance, historically and currently, of the LGBTQ community can make it more difficult to obtain quality health care. 

The discrimination many LGBTQ individuals face during their lifetime related to employment and housing can create financial hardship and economic insecurity for LGBTQ seniors. Discrimination can significantly reduce the earning potential for an LGBTQ individual, making it more difficult to plan for retirement and long-term care. The financial hardship they face during their lifetime can make it more difficult for LGBTQ seniors to afford quality long-term care when they need it.Also, discrimination in long term care facilities is a common issue for LGBTQ seniors. While many long-term care facilities are working to establish rules and implement anti-discrimination training for workers, LGBTQ seniors continue to encounter discrimination in many long-term care facilities.

Lack of Benefits for Same-Sex Couples

Many of the benefits that spouses enjoy as a married couple have not been available to same-sex couples. While same-sex couples may enjoy these benefits now, LGBTQ seniors have had to try to find ways to support themselves and find long-term care options without access to spousal benefits such as:

  • Death benefits
  • Pensions
  • Immigration benefits
  • Social Security benefits
  • Inheritance rights
  • Spousal retirement benefits
  • Tax benefits
  • Veterans benefits

Without access to spousal benefits, many LGBTQ seniors do not have the financial means to pay for long term care in quality facilities that do not discriminate against the LGBTQ community. 

Abuse and Neglect 

Elder abuse and neglect are a problem in long term care facilities for all residents. However, LGBTQ seniors may face additional threats of physical abuse, verbal abuse, harassment, and neglect because of their lifestyle. Facilities may refuse to provide basic services, care, or medical attention based on an individual’s status as an LGBTQ senior. 

The abuse is not limited to the facility’s staff or employees. Abuse and harassment may also come from other residents and visitors to the facility. Sadly, some long-term facilities ignore reports of abuse and harassment by other residents and visitors.

Contact a California Elder Law Attorney to Discuss Your Plan for Long Term Care

There are ways LGBTQ individuals can protect themselves from problems related to long term care. Developing an estate plan and a strategy for long term care now can reduce the chance that you may not receive the quality care you need during your senior years. Schedule a consult with our California elder law attorneys to develop a long-term care plan for yourself and your partner. 


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