Most Gay Seniors Can Look Forward To Being Re-Closeted And Heart-Crushing Loneliness

If you survived HIV, circuit parties, and the nonstop gauntlet of bashers to make it into old age, congratulations—you’ve become an old queer! Now are you ready for harassment by nursing home orderlies and the crushing effects of loneliness that typically awaits gay and lesbian seniors? Well get ready.

A group commissioned by the UK gay rights group Stonewall UK just conducted a survey into the lives of LGB seniors and found some pretty depressing facts:

– Older gay and bisexual men are three times more likely than heterosexual men to live alone.

– 90 percent of older heterosexual people have kids compared to 25 percent of gay and bisexual men and 50 percent of lesbians and bisexual women (thus, gays, lesbos, and bis have fewer relatives to bum money from and to hit up for free room and board)

– LGB older people are more likely to be single and less likely to see their families regularly; partially because lots of families still reject their gay family members (thanks, dad).

– 50 percent of older LGB people feel uncomfortable coming out to care home staff: Who wants some 30 to 50 year old nurse calling them a “fag-a-muffin” or a “dusty lez,” especially when these people provide sponge baths and medication?

All these factors can contribute to “loneliness in old age” which is also linked to depression, immune and cardio-vascular health problems and the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. Christ.

We’ve suggested five must-have amenities for any LGBT retirement home, but as we’ve just started collecting data on the health needs of LGBT people, it may take some time for the retirement community to catch up.

Maybe some older gays and organizations like Service and Advocacy for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Elders (SAGE) can step in and help bring American nursing care facilities up to speed.

Image via vivevans

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  • Chuck

    I read this and it’s sad and an issue which must be addressed. Having said that, most older gentlemen I have known keep a younger houseboy/companion, thus solving this issue as well as gay youth homelessness.

  • bandanajack

    UH CHUCK… what the f**k planet do you live on? was just going to post that for me its not a future event, its now. i think the the gay men you are talking about may represent about 1/10 of 1% of the gay population. there’s probably a bell curve in here somewhere representing lifetime incomes, but even those who lived well will suffer in long term care, where accommodation for gay seniors is non-existent. i currently live n a fairly nice low income apartment residence for seniors, but if i came out among all the roman catholic and born again old women who comprise 90% or more of the occupants, my life would become hell, and i likely would be driven out by hook or crook.

    only the very wealthy, or those smart enough to procure 1st class long term care insurance will escape in my generation, and even money may not prove a cushion from loneliness.

  • Skeloric

    All I know is, as I get older the more I realize what a true blessing Dr Kevorkian was.
    I’d much rather depart this life than end up in such a horrible end to my life.
    I’m already 42, I’ll probably have to come face to face with the very issue of how horrible America’s elder care system happens to be by the time I’ve gone another 20 to 25 years.
    Certainly by the time I’ve gone another 40 years.
    Even at 42, I already have a severe lack of “QUALITY OF LIFE” in my overall living.
    With NEWS that this will only go downhill from here?
    Not really inspiring me to try to go on living another day.

  • Chuck

    @bandanajack: I was just being honest of what my experience has been with older guys. As I said, this is a serious and important issue that must be addressed. What you are describing, though, seems to be a generational thing. That doesn’t lessen the impact of what you are going through, but I do feel that the people you are describing were probably always homophobic and that must have been just the way it was for that socioeconomic group of people during their lives. That being the case, it would tend to bode well for today’s gay people. Acceptance of young gay people would tend to be something that continues throughout the lives and into old age and elder care for the current generation. As bad as it it for you, it will be a little better for the Boomers, and better still for GenX in old age, till one day we could conceivably have full acceptance and respect by the time GenY is elderly. This just speaks to the importance of tolerance and gay acceptance programs and inclusion. Old, conservative people with closed minds may be beyond help at this point, but their deaths will allow them to be replaced by more tolerant, and better future elder generations.

  • skzip888

    Worked at an “assisted living facility” for 3 and a half years. They LOVE to set up those places in the most isolated, intolerant, homophobic bergs they can find.

  • Pat Duffy

    @skzip888: And as someone who used to work in such places, it sucks! At least if my “Gaydar” worked I could give them some quality time during and after my shifts. Sadly, I was usually given grief by other workers and residents for being nice to the “Homos”…..even when(staff) knew I WAS one!

  • the crustybastard

    Maggie Gallagher and Tony Perkins masturbate to this article.

  • Skeloric

    @the crustybastard: At least until they see each other across the NOM table — after that they had their entire sex drive killed off. LOL

Comments are closed.