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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