Health and Community Challenges & Needs of LGBT Seniors: A Snapshot

LGBT Older Adults

Health and Community Challenges & Needs of LGBT Seniors: A Snapshot

Understand the concerns of the senior LGBT community in healthcare. Find resources in Philadelphia and across Pennsylvania to support the elderly and senior community of lesbian, gay, transgender, bisexual, and queer people both in the community and in the medical field.

The senior LGBT community is diverse and growing. Estimates show that there are over 3 million LGBT adults over the age of 50, with that number growing fast to 7 million LGBT elders by 2030. While LGBT elders face the same concerns that all elders face- social isolation, loneliness, housing affordability, and ageism- research proves that this senior community encounters higher instances of the challenges just mentioned along with additional obstacles. 


lgbt senior health and medical challenges and discrimination

Health and Wellness Challenge by the numbers


Compared to their heterosexual peers1, LGBT seniors and the elderly are:


Cultural Competency



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Health Care


  • 1/3 of Transgender people that don’t have a regular doctor and report poor general health
  • 41%: Senior LGBT disability rate, higher than the 35% overall elder disability rate. 







  • LGBT people are poorer and have fewer financial resources than their heterosexual counterparts
  • LGBT individuals are more likely to have received hiring or salary discrimination, creating a lifetime of lower earnings

Social Isolation





LGBT and the community


Contrary to popular belief, members of the LGBT community live in a variety of residences and community sizes. An AARP survey2 of older LGBT adults offers good snapshot and insight into the state of the communities that LGBT elders reside and the wants and needs of older adult respondents below. Encouragingly, 83 percent of respondents report that their community is very or somewhat LGBT friendly.



However, there are other worries. There are real housing and long-term care concerns that LGBT elders report. For minorities, LGBT discrimination concerns are compounded with race and ethnicity discrimination factors. 



While majorities of LGBT respondents reported having access to LGBT resources, a minority of LGBT older adults reported having access to LGBT senior resources, even in major cities.



The elder community overwhelmingly wants welcoming long-term care services designed for them. 90 percent also reported an interest in LGBT-friendly housing developments. 


Shaping the future

Despite the varied concerns and challenges facing the LGBT community, the LGBT elder population is resilient and remains optimistic about the future. 60 percent of the AARP study respondents are at least somewhat optimistic that the problems that they face will be solved within the next 20 years.

Healthcare providers and community leaders can positively impact the LGBT elder community by understanding the obstacles that the diverse members of the community face.

LGBT elders can overcome some of these concerns and age with dignity by finding support through chosen families and informal support networks. These include LGBT community organizations, gay-affirmative religious networks, and LGBT friendly providers of care like Chosen Family Home Care.



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