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Why Home Care Helps LGBTQ Seniors Live their Best Lives

March 30, 2019

 

The particular needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender seniors reflect the historical social context of their lives. As such, LGBTQ seniors often have unique needs and health disparities that require extra attention and care. A study from the University of Washington found that LGBTQ seniors had greater rates of disability, depression, and loneliness compared with heterosexual seniors of similar ages. Due to discrimination and alienation from family members, many LGBTQ seniors do not have access to the same level of support as their senior peers. LGBTQ seniors are also less likely to seek care for health conditions, have higher instances of trauma, and are more likely to be isolated from their communities in their older years. 

 

Given these conditions, home care is the best option for LGBQT seniors when it comes time for caregiving services. Home care allows people to age with dignity and maintain a sense of independence within the comfort of their own homes. Remaining in a safe space and being surrounded by familiar things provides a particular sense of comfort for any senior and particularly for seniors who have health conditions, disabilities, histories of trauma, or other debilitating factors. 

 

Keep in mind that it is important to enlist the help of a home care agency that has experience serving LGBTQ seniors. An agency like Alegre Home Care that provides specialized training for caregivers, has non-discrimination policies, actively advocates for the rights of LGBTQ seniors, and supports LGBTQ communities will be in a position to properly handle the particular needs of seniors who identify as LGBTQ. 

 

Why Home Care is the Best Option for LGBTQ Seniors

 

Home caregivers help with a number of tasks. These include standard tasks such as housekeeping and personal hygiene and also extend beyond to include the specific needs of each individual. There are many reasons why home caregivers from reputable home care agencies, like Alegre Home Care, are better equipped to help LGBTQ seniors manage the typical issues that arise with old age as well as the extenuating circumstances that come from identifying as LGBTQ. Below are three of the most important services home caregivers provide for LGBTQ seniors.

 

Health Advocacy

By having the support of a home caregiver, LGBTQ seniors are more likely to receive the medical care they need. According to SAGE (Services and Advocacy for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgender Elders), LGBTQ seniors find that they have unequal access to health care. This is largely due to growing up in a society in which they faced social and medical discrimination. Even today there are doctors who still discriminate against people who are LGBTQ. As such, LGBTQ seniors will often underreport health issues, downplay symptoms, or avoid going to the doctor. Home caregivers help by being an advocate. They act as a safe person to whom LGBTQ seniors can disclose their health concerns. They support LGBTQ seniors by advocating for their rights during medical exams and procedures. Home caregivers also literally stand by the side of LGBTQ seniors during hospital visits and trips to the doctor’s office, providing a sense of physical support and safety.

 

Social Connection

Loneliness has become an epidemic for America’s senior citizens. The effects of loneliness compound the health issues seniors already have to contend with. Depression, anxiety, stroke, high blood pressure, and cognitive impairment are all effects of loneliness. LGBTQ seniors on average experience more loneliness than their peers, putting them at even greater risk for health conditions. Many people who are LGBTQ have had to build their own communities, and having to leave these communities when they reach their senior years often leaves them without any kind of meaningful social support and increases risks of loneliness. Home caregiving allows seniors to remain in their homes and thus remain within their communities, reducing the chances for loneliness. Home caregivers also facilitate outings, gatherings with friends, and community functions, helping the seniors in their care connect to the people in their social circles. 

 

Personal Autonomy

Most openly-out LGBTQ seniors have had to fight for their rights to their own identities, facing immense hardships, abuse, and discrimination along the way. Their sense of personal autonomy has been hard earned. However, many of the old struggles return during their senior years as they lose friends to old age, have to relocate, and encounter health issues that put them in increasingly vulnerable positions. There are also LGBTQ seniors who never had a coming out and still want to keep their sexual orientation a secret or only want to disclose their identity to people they can trust. Home caregivers are able to safeguard the personal autonomy of LGBTQ seniors by being acting as allies and advocates as well as providing a way for seniors to retain their sense of identity by living out their remaining years in the safety of their homes. By nature of their work, home caregivers must advocate for and protect the identities of their clients. A home caregiver is often the first line of defense for their clients, which is especially important for LGBTQ seniors who may need the support more than their peers. Home caregivers are trained to spot and prevent elder abuse, come up with creative solutions to problems, and design care plans that are tailored to the specific needs and circumstances of the people in their care.

 

Are You Looking for Home Care Services?

 

Alegre Home Care is a locally owned and operated agency serving the needs of seniors and people with disabilities in Northern California for over 20 years. Alegre Home Care is also the top home care agency for LGBTQ seniors in California. As one of the few agencies that provides specialized non-discrimination training, Alegre Home Care is in a unique position to provide the best quality of care for LGBTQ seniors. The agency also actively advocates for the LGBTQ community and is a member of the Golden Gate Business Association — the world’s first LGBTQ chamber of commerce. If you are a senior who identifies as LGBTQ or if you have loved ones who are LGBTQ seniors, please get in touch with us and learn how our services allow people to live out their best lives.

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