Partners Edwin Fisher, 85, and Patrick Mizelle, 64, moved to Rose Villa in Portland, Oregon, from from Georgia about three years ago. Fisher and Mizelle worried residents of senior living communities in Georgia wouldn’t accept their gay lifestyle. (Anna Gorman/KHN)

The time eventually comes in most people’s lives where they have to consider moving to a senior care facility. This can be an extremely difficult process, especially for LGBTQ seniors. 

Throughout various research conducted, the conclusion is that senior facilities are not that welcoming of people who are LGBTQ. To combat this, many senior care facilities implement discrimination laws, but they have proven to not be as effective as you might think. They are murky and differ depending on the type of housing and funding stream.

Better alternatives are out there, but they can get rather expensive, which can be a bit of a challenge for a community that has high rates of poverty when compared to the others. LGBTQ facilities are on the rise in recent years, however they are far from enough to cater towards the entire community. 

The Facility Options for LGBTQ Seniors

Aside from the fact if a facility is LGBTQ friendly, you also need to consider if it’s a private or public housing and the level of assistance the seniors receive. 

Private housings offer a higher level of care but can be quite pricey. At the very least, you are looking at a price of $5.000 per month. 

Public housing options tend to have lower budgets, that does not always bode well for a caring staff. 

Some cities even offer affordable housing through public and private sector partnerships. 

Some facilities might even offer independent living, assisted living or highly skilled nursing. Each has their own levels of personal and medical care, and there are also care retirement communities that have all options on one campus, allowing for a high level of flexibility as a result.

How to Determine A Facility’s LGBTQ Level of Acceptance?

If you are on the search for a senior care facility for yourself or a loved one that is welcoming of LGBTQ, here is what you need to do:

  • Always try and find a non-discrimination policy within the facility that also includes sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.
  • Make sure to analyze the percentage of people who are residents within the facility and are LGBTQ themselves. Note that the facility might not share this information with you due to privacy reasons but it is always a good thing to ask. 
  • You can always try and find a facility that also has LGBTQ specific certifications and cultural competency training sessions. 
  • Try and ask for permission to speak to the current residents as-well to get a real-world perspective of what it is like there for LGBTQ elderly people.
  • Last but not least, ensure that the facility can live up to you or the person you are trying to place. The main aspect of any facility is the comfort and specific health requirements of each individual.
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