Seniors et gays-Advocating for LGBT Seniors | Fighting for LGBT Rights - SAGE

Purpose: This article reports the findings of a study, undertaken in , whose purpose was to gather information about the experiences and realities of gay and lesbian seniors and their families from across Canada in accessing a broad range of health and social services in the community, and to examine the role of health care and social service organizations in shaping access and service delivery. Design and Methods: This study used a qualitative exploratory design based on focus group interviews. Perspectives of older gay men and lesbians and their families involved in organizations addressing these issues, as well as professionals from both gay and lesbian health organizations and mainstream elder care organizations were sought. Results: Specific reference was made to the impact of discrimination on the health and access to health services of these populations. Issues relating to invisibility, historic and current barriers to care, and the nature of service options are identified.

Seniors et gays

Seniors et gays

Never Miss a Story. In fact, Senjors informed data collection in an iterative process. Marilyn Pittman. Sexual orientationAgingHealth careAccessLong-term care. And I think it had something to do with her being homophobic. Four focus groups were undertaken in three locations across Canada to ensure a national scope to Senior project: One in Quebec, one in Nova Scotia, and two in British Columbia. Although caregiver support services and voluntary caregiver organizations must be made more welcoming Seniors et gays caregivers of gay and lesbian seniors as a whole, it may be best to offer adult children a space to Seniors et gays their unique experiences and to connect with one another. This article is part of yays series of profiles of the inspiring SAGE constituents who were part of the Stonewall uprising inan event that inspired the modern Amateur coed orgasm movement.

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Well into a training program to help a senior living community staff better understand LGBT residents came the part that really explains why so many older people fear they'll have to go back in the closet if they move to senior housing — history. In the s, the United States banned gay immigrants and the American Psychiatric Association listed homosexuality as a mental disorder. Then came the AIDS epidemic, years of activism, and, finally, marriage equality.

Yet acceptance remains far from universal. Tim Johnston, director of national projects for SAGE, and Mary Beth Farrell, the mother of a transgender daughter and director of risk and corporate compliance for Watermark, Rose Tree's owner, asked for reaction.

While leaders say this mostly grew out of the "person-centered care" movement, they also know that the estimated three million LGBT people over age 55 are an underserved market. Residents in their 80s now may be reticent about their sexuality, but the coming wave of baby boomers will likely include more people who are out and expect senior communities to accept and support them. Get the news you need to start your day. It has encouraged members to better serve the LGBT community, and interest has picked up in the last three or four years, he said.

There are a few communities that cater primarily to the LGBT population, but more hope for a diverse mix of residents. The trend is occurring at a time when overt discrimination against gay elders continues. A staff member may take longer to answer the call bell or let daily grooming slip.

It can escalate to name-calling and more. Advocates say that open discussion of LGBT concerns helps not only current and potential residents but also employees and gay relatives of residents. Tucson, Ariz. So far, about 40 percent, including the Watermark at Logan Square, have completed the process. It includes a four-hour training for managers and online training for most of the remaining staff. The campaign has not been universally popular, said Shannon Ruedlinger, a managing director at Watermark.

SAGE teaches staff to use open-ended language that allows for the possibility of same-sex partners. Johnston said his favorite conversation starter is "Tell me a little bit about yourself.

One useful piece of advice: While young activists may like the word queer , many elders grew up at a time when it was a slur. Many aren't fond of homosexual either because of its clinical connotations. Companies learn how to create inclusive forms for residents and employees and how to make ads that signal a welcoming environment. At the end of the program, organizations can display a rainbow insignia.

Some fly rainbow flags and begin including more LGBT-friendly programming. They picked it largely because it was near friends and they liked the food. Weitz was only a little worried about how straight residents would react to a gay couple.

They're planning to stay in their house in Ocean Grove, N. The couple have been together for almost 49 years and were the subject of the short documentary, Love Wins. Moore said seniors have reason to worry about care they might receive. SAGE certification would matter to her in picking a community.

Executive director Ken Beiler decided he had to do more about a year and a half ago, when he saw part of the film Gen Silent , a documentary that explored why many older people go back in the closet. As a gay man, Russell Mast, executive director of the Rydal Park retirement community in Jenkintown, said the issue is personal. He is currently exploring SAGE certification. To me, it's a moral imperative," he said. Abramson now has 36 single-stall "all gender" bathrooms. There's a rainbow flag in the synagogue.

Is this place sensitive? Ada Bello, 84, a year resident of Cathedral Village, doesn't think her retirement community, which tends to attract well-educated liberals, needs to do much more to serve the LGBT community. A longtime lesbian activist, she has always felt comfortable there.

Word has gotten around about Cathedral Village, she said. Residents who came of age at a time when it was acceptable to treat LGBT peers badly may be harder to reach than staff. Some leaders think staff can set community culture, but others, and SAGE, are considering how to bring more straight elders into the conversation. They were on the verge of moving into another, more rural facility when the marketing director told them, "You know, when you move, you're going to need to be roommates or sisters.

Byrd was incensed. It's the worst way to approach anyone, certainly anyone who is trying to live their lives in their last decade. Skip to content. Henry Weitz, 86, moved to Rose Tree Place last year with his husband. JOSE F. Related stories. Inquirer Morning Newsletter. Sign Up Inquirer Morning Newsletter. Mary Beth Farrell, who co-led the session, stands to his right. Erica Steelman Abramson Senior Care has a rainbow flag in its synagogue.

Stacey Burling StaceyABurling sburling inquirer. Never Miss a Story. We Recommend. Here are some health insurance shopping tips. Sarah Gantz. Medical debt is driving how people make decisions about health care, insurance. Phil Gutis, For the Inquirer. Who wants to hear an audio tour about a disgusting Philly epidemic? Stephen Fried. Frank Kummer. Ban on flavored e-cigarettes proposed for Pennsylvania.

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Seniors et gays

Seniors et gays

Seniors et gays

Seniors et gays

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Design and Methods: The study used a qualitative methodology based upon principles of grounded theory in which open-ended interviews were undertaken with 17 caregivers living in three different cities across Canada. In Canada, a growing interest in gay and lesbian aging has resulted in several community-led initiatives documenting older gay and lesbian realities and challenging health care practitioners to respond to homophobic and heterosexist discrimination and to adapt their services to these populations.

Homophobia is the fear, hatred, or mistrust of gays and lesbians often expressed in overt displays of discrimination. Two notable Canadian organizations run by gay and lesbian community groups are the Community Centre in Toronto and The Centre in Vancouver, both of which have highly organized and advanced programs for gay and lesbian seniors and their caregivers.

Yet despite their efforts, policies and practices addressing issues facing gay and lesbian seniors in Canada continue to be marginal, particularly within mainstream health and social service agencies. Given this reality, it is no surprise to find that identification of and responsiveness to those providing informal, unpaid caregiver support to these seniors is even further removed from the health care agenda. Faced with many of the same emotional and physical strains that often accompany caring for any disabled senior regardless of sexual orientation, caregivers of lesbian and gay seniors in Canada also experience unique challenges to identify themselves and receive appropriate care in an environment often marked by intolerance and avoidance.

As a result, caregivers may experience a sense of isolation and invisibility in their attempts both to provide care to their loved ones and to identify support for their own needs.

Because of the added burden of exposure to discrimination, caregivers may experience the challenges of providing care in the context of reduced support, rejection by family and society, and invisibility. Individuals who provide informal care support to gay and lesbian seniors remain hidden from view. If health care providers are to develop best practices to address the unique realities of gay and lesbian seniors, then the experiences of informal, unpaid family and friend caregivers must also receive adequate attention.

This article highlights the experiences and perceptions of caregivers to gay and lesbian seniors that emerged from a study exploring health care access and equity issues facing gay and lesbian seniors in Canada. The study addressed the issues facing gay and lesbian seniors living in the community who experience a loss of autonomy from the perspectives of three distinct groups: a gay and lesbian seniors; b their informal, unpaid family and friend caregivers; and c providers of community and home care health services.

Using qualitative exploratory interviews with caregivers that were undertaken between and , we explored some of the critical themes that emerged in the interviews, including self-identity as a caregiver, the impact on caregivers of real and anticipated discrimination faced by gay and lesbian seniors in the health care system, coming out and the role of caregivers, and the need for specialized caregiver support services.

The term coming out refers to the process of identifying oneself to others as gay or lesbian. This article addresses the unique perspectives of caregivers themselves and is an initial attempt to articulate issues from the standpoint of this population. Further explorations of data emerging from the standpoints of seniors and service providers are currently underway, and we hope, as a research team, to follow up this analysis with future articles comparing and contrasting perspectives and experiences in and between cohorts of participants Brotman et al.

Hence, this article will draw exclusively from the voices of caregiver participants in the larger study. Finally, we consider recommendations for change in light of emerging themes expressed by caregivers. The literature focused on individuals regardless of their sexual orientation caring for gay and lesbian seniors is limited. Apart from those in Shippy, Brennan, and Cantor's seminal work on HIV caregiving experiences among lesbian and gay elders, the individuals receiving care in most of studies on HIV and caregiving represent largely a young adult population generally younger than 50 years old , and thus their usefulness for understanding the experiences of those caring for gay and lesbian seniors is limited.

We were also unable to uncover any published research focusing on the experiences of children caring for ailing gay or lesbian parents.

As a result, we know very little about their unique care experiences. Overall, research on caregiving to gay and lesbian seniors is just beginning to emerge in the United States and Canada. Although researchers have explored a variety of issues and factors, the literature has demonstrated that discrimination plays a key role in the capacity for seniors and their caregivers to access health care services Brotman et al.

Both the anticipation of discrimination and actual experiences of discrimination in health care services contribute to great tension and represent a challenge to the possibility of coming out to health care providers in order to receive appropriate care.

Many respondents also noted positive aspects of caregiving, including the fact that caregiving gave them the opportunity to show love and maintain a commitment to a significant other Hash, ; Shippy et al.

Research has also highlighted the challenges of navigating the disclosure or hiding of their same-sex relationship to family, friends, and coworkers during both the caregiving and post-caregiving periods Cantor et al. In these studies, most caregivers dealt with family members, friends, and professionals who did not provide them with the support they needed Cantor et al. Supportive family, friends, and professionals often served as buffers to caregiver strain, yet this support was not generally anticipated and respondents seemed to expect insensitive and unsupportive individuals Hash, Shippy and colleagues' more recent findings differed somewhat in that their examination of gay male caregivers presented a picture wherein caregivers received significant support from biological family members.

This challenged the myth of the isolated gay male senior. Shippy and colleagues found that caregivers had both friends and family with whom they were close.

Respondents asserted that, when present, biological family members were accepting and maintained contact. Nevertheless, the majority of respondents stated that, when in need of help, they were most likely to call on their partners followed by their friends. Remarkably, however, one third of the respondents expressed the need for more adequate emotional support, and most called for the gay and lesbian community to fill the important role of caring for their elders.

Other work by the latter researchers echoed the call for psychological and emotional support for elder caregivers within gay and lesbian communities Cantor et al. More than half of those caring for family-of-choice members were caring for a partner or a significant other.

Apart from the expressed desire for more psychological support, one third of the respondents also highlighted the need for more organized social activities for older lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgendered people Cantor et al. Some caregivers expressed anger and hurt at how they were repeatedly denied acknowledgement as family within policies such as visiting hours or parking Moore, Often professionals would look to biological family members to relay information or discuss issues that arose Hash, Caregivers were apprehensive about seeking support from health professionals and services such as groups or home care services; Hash, Studies have found that the majority of caregivers were apprehensive about disclosing the status of their relationship to health care professionals and that they would use generalized language hoping that, if professionals caught on, they would be alright with it Hash, ; Moore, Finally, participants expressed that coping can be severely hampered due to the fact that partnerships cannot be openly acknowledged, shared, or disclosed.

For example, in one study, caregivers expressed negative experiences with prior support groups wherein they felt unsafe or uncomfortable disclosing their same-sex relationship. In conclusion, several themes exist in the small literature currently available on caregiving to gay and lesbian seniors. These themes include anticipated and experienced forms of heterosexist and homophobic discrimination in the delivery of health care resources to gay and lesbian seniors and their caregivers; the challenges of identifying oneself as gay or lesbian, or as the caregiver of a gay or lesbian senior, in the context of receiving health care services; the management of caregiving responsibilities; the experience of emotional and physical strains; and the positive aspects of caregiving, including those related to a demonstration of commitment and the impact of informal support on the well-being of seniors and their caregivers.

Previous research has also concluded that professionals currently know little about caregivers to gay and lesbian seniors because of the paucity of studies that address their unique needs and realities.

These conclusions point to the need for further research on these often invisible populations. The findings presented in this article emerged from a larger study that investigated many aspects of accessing health and social services for gay and lesbian seniors in three cities across Canada.

The focus on seniors, their caregivers, and health and social service providers facilitated understanding of the potential dilemmas, gaps, similarities, and differences between the experiences of seniors and their caregivers and the ways in which service providers understand and make sense of that experience.

We determined research processes in conjunction with our local and national partner organizations, including those representing gay and lesbian community organizations, health policy bodies, home care organizations and caregiver groups. Our partner organizations were specifically involved in participant identification and recruitment, development of interview guides, review of data analysis, and member checking themes and patterns that emerged.

Several separate meetings of local team members provided the research team in local areas with opportunities to undertake more in-depth regional outreach and analysis and to plan knowledge transfer strategies. We designed this research process to be a change process, and we intended that the involvement of an advisory group would move investigators' and participants' understandings toward change educative and catalytic authenticity.

This was generally thought to be achieved. Issues of sampling are particularly relevant in studies addressing sexual orientation Brotman et al. The history of silence around discussions about the needs and realities of gay and lesbian seniors on the part of health care and social service providers as well as the reticence of seniors and their caregivers to come out to providers may have made some people hesitant to participate and often made recruitment quite challenging.

This is particularly true for the current cohort of gay and lesbian seniors, who have a unique historical experience regarding oppression that is different from the experience of middle-aged and younger gays and lesbians today. Many older gays and lesbians lived their youths and young adult lives in very hostile environments prior to the development of the gay liberation movement that began in the late s in Canada and the United States Brotman et al.

We cannot understate that gay and lesbian elders who grew up prior to the era of gay liberation faced considerable obstacles to coming out. Many experienced overt discrimination in their private and public lives.

As such, recruitment efforts in the current study emphasized the importance of addressing this information and stressing the confidentiality of interview processes in order to respond to potential participants' concerns.

Snowballing techniques can be effective when a sample of interest is difficult to identify Grinnell, This is pertinent with respect to gay and lesbian populations who, because of past and current experiences of discrimination, have remained largely invisible in health and social service environments.

Unfortunately, one of the weaknesses of this technique is the risk that the sample will result in a relatively homogenous group of participants e. This emerged in the current study, with many participants coming from referrals from a small number of agencies or from within the same community or circle of people. For example, our female participants were largely activist in orientation, having come from an experience of feminist community organizing. Also, our participant group was relatively young.

Still, caregiver participants represented a wide range of people with different relationships to the senior they were caring for partner, child, friend, other relative , living arrangements with and away from the care receiver , gender, and sexual orientation, and with a variety of caregiving tasks and frequencies and durations of support see Table 1.

We placed special attention on establishing a climate of confidence to facilitate participant involvement. Overall, recruitment proved to be very challenging throughout the research process, particularly in Halifax, where we succeeded in interviewing only 2 caregivers.

In Montreal, we identified only 5 caregivers for participation in the study. This directly points to the level of invisibility of this population and the variation of support in different parts of Canada. In Vancouver, for example, where a unique organization directed toward the needs of community-residing gay and lesbian seniors exists, recruitment of both seniors and their caregivers was far more successful.

The concern of having to identify as a gay man or lesbian in the case of spouses and partners or as a child of a gay or lesbian senior in the case of adult children in order to participate in the study may have also contributed to difficulty in recruitment.

Still, we must consider the possibility that gay and lesbian seniors in these locations have fewer avenues of informal support or that there exists a lack of identification on the part of those who provide support to gay and lesbian seniors with the term caregiver. Our team theorized that those caregivers who form part of a friendship or fictive kin network with gay and lesbian seniors may not identify themselves as caregivers, particularly given the narrow definitions used in mainstream service agencies that focus primarily on advancing a caregiver agenda for heterosexual spouses or adult children.

This may be a subject for future research initiatives. Interviews lasted approximately 1. We developed the interview protocol in a two-stage process in conjunction with the research advisory group. First we developed interview guides and tested them with a small number of caregiver participants. The interview protocol was semistructured, with open-ended questions in several theme areas that provided participants with the opportunity to discuss issues important to them.

The interview was based upon four broad theme areas: a description of the caregiver role and relationship, b experiences of access to health care on the part of gay and lesbian seniors and the impact of these experiences on the caregiver role and relationship, c caregiver needs and issues, and d areas for future change. Included in the first theme discussion was a question designed to allow participants to explore their identity as a caregiver, whether they defined themselves as such, and their feelings regarding caregiving.

Section 2 of the interview focused more specifically upon experiences of caring for a gay or lesbian senior in the context of access to and equity in health service delivery i. Section 3 focused upon participants' own health care and service needs with respect to their caregiving role.

Finally, Section 4 asked participants to talk about what services were needed, with respect to both the gay or lesbian senior as well as caregivers. Participants had the option of having a copy of the interview guide during the discussion.

In addition, participants received a 1-page sheet on which the major themes were highlighted in order to provide them with an idea of where the interview was heading. All participants signed a consent form and were assured of confidentiality in conformity with ethical procedures of research. Interviews were undertaken by the same interviewer in two of the three regions, allowing for interviewers to learn from their experience and transfer knowledge from one interview to the next over the entire period of the study.

This supported integrity in the research process. The guide itself was meant to be open, allowing participants to focus on specific areas that they found meaningful while ensuring that they covered the major themes. Although some change in interviewers occurred in one region over the 3-year period, all interviewers were trained and were provided with support, feedback, and ongoing training to ensure consistency in the interview process across all regions.

We undertook analysis using the grounded theory method outlined by Glaser and Strauss and Strauss and Corbin Grounded theory is a popular research methodology developed as a model for theory generating research.

The goal of the analysis is to identify themes and the relationships between these themes patterns. Members met regularly to compare and contrast their analytic themes.

Seniors et gays

Seniors et gays