death becomes us

The Gays Are Planning For Retirement + Death Better Than Heteros

There are some 25 gay retirement centers, up from just one in 2001. That’s just one piece of anecdotal evidence that as gays get older, they’re better prepared for what happens in between middle age and meeting their maker.

But don’t let that be the only piece of evidence Newsweek can produce to convince you!

Gay baby boomers are more likely to worry about their later years than are their heterosexual counterparts, according to a new study on sexual minorities and aging by the Metlife Mature Marketing Institute and the American Society on Aging: “More than a quarter of LGBT boomers reported great concern about discrimination as they age.” And as [Jan Cullinane, co-author of The New Retirement: The Ultimate Guide to the Rest of Your Life] notes, “They often have no children to help care for them, may be alienated from other family, or just feel more comfortable in a setting with other gay or lesbian neighbors.”

So, we’ve been trained to be overly concerned about our medical care. Great! But we also have annoying criteria that, without, will make us even crankier, and we’re planning around that.

The key “amenity” sought after by sexual minorities is respectful medical care that recognizes the rights of same-sex partners to visit and be included in discussions and decisions. But there are others. “You need separate pools for the men and the women, and a place for dogs. Pets are very big,” says Veronica St. Claire, who is planning a full-featured continuing-care retirement community in Palm Springs, Calif., with her business and personal partner, Mary Thorndahl.

But I’d argue that not being able to file joint tax returns, visit our ailing loved ones in the hospitals, and having to spell out every last wish about who we want running our funerals — now that’s the stuff that’s made us better prepared to shrink up, get old, and die.


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    I’m 25 but this is a good-looking pair!

  • Jon (the old cranky one)

    Here’s the reality. . .I sit here as the “caretaker” for the person fell in love with over 20 years ago, and despite legal directives. . .days/weeks/months/years of needless and expensive bulshit. . .ANY of our family members can just step in & take over the care of my “partner” because by law “family” takes precedence over a “partnership”.

    Today, I’m watching the love of my life deal with
    Parkinsons. . .and knowing that we will not only lose our house/home, but our integrity in order to pay for his care.

    I also know that I will be left with nothing . .no survivor benefits from His 40 years of contributing to a 401K, no SS benefits . .no recognition whatsoever.

    POOF. . .”you weren’t Married, so in the lawers eyes . .Your relationship didn’t happen.”

    At some point a person just thows hands up in the air & says “fuck it”. What’s important is the treatment and care of my love, and if I end up in a homeless shelter so be it.

  • Pitou

    @Jon (the old cranky one): You’re right, in many places, this is the routine case.

    I know a man personally who went through this a few years ago when his husband died from a sudden heart attack and the deceased’s family came and took everything from businesses to personal belongings and left my friend only the house, and thats because they shared rights of survivorship with one another.

    That was pre-marriage equality here in CT, so I’m unsure how that would play out today. But CT is only one of a small handful of states that allow ss-marriage…so I assume this scenario runs rampant throughout this country.

    My heart breaks when I hear/read stories like yours. I’m sorry this Nations corrupt and inept lawmakers don’t see a need to address the very reason why we continuously have to fight for our rights. I really don’t think they can even comprehend. They’re simple rights that most straight people wouldn’t even think about. Most states inheritance laws, even if intestate, everything goes to the spouse automatically and theres slim chance for anyone else to stake claim to any assets.

    Like I just said, Your story and the countless others like it are a true testament to the reason I will never stop fighting the fight until we have our rights.

    To everyone in this situation, I hope you don’t end up homeless/bankrupt after your loved one passes. That is truely the saddest part of all of this. It’s almost punishment for being a loving and caring individual. I wish you all the best of luck in the trials life hands you.
    When I age, I hope I have someone as wonderful to take care of me. Selflessness is one of my favorite characteristics in people. It’s a glimmer of hope for humanity in general, that is often absent in too many people.

  • Cheryl Wright = ZZZ's (John From England)

    @Jon (the old cranky one):

    Jon you’ve reached out here, try and see if you can get some help. Your govt may not be able to help you but I’m sure outside organisations can?

  • Brian Kamin

    Very interesting post, it’s a sad situation that many loved ones have to go through with medical care. In addition to the all the other issues you mentioned, another one that you should think about is digital assets. For more info regarding digital assets and passing them on to loved ones check out this link

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