Members of the LGBT community have often had to face adversity throughout their lives, and they deserve to be treated with respect and receive high-quality care in their senior years. However, there are still many challenges that can arise for seniors who fit this description. If you are providing care for an elderly loved one who is part of the LGBT community, make sure to keep his or her unique needs in mind.
Acknowledge Your Loved One’s Past
The LGBT population is often seen as a single entity, but it is actually an incredibly diverse group with a distinct history. Until Lancaster caregivers better understand that history, it may be difficult to provide adequate empathetic support. LGBT seniors have faced a lifetime of stressors that can affect their physical health as well as their psychological wellbeing. Being mindful of your loved one’s past can be just as important as tending to his or her current needs.
Many LGBT seniors feel like they are being discriminated against on two different fronts. In addition to being part of the older population, they might also feel marginalized due to their sexual orientation or gender identity. This may come in the form of discrimination from peers or unwillingness to share their orientation or sexual identity with their current primary health care providers. Speak with your loved one to better understand some of his or her stressors so they can be addressed.
Suggest Support Groups
Social and emotional support is exceedingly important for LGBT adults. According to a multistate study carried out in 2011, LGBT seniors have higher rates of depression, loneliness, anxiety, and substance abuse. Support groups can provide your loved one with an opportunity to speak about his or her past and connect with peers who have had similar experiences.
Address Unique Health Concerns
LGBT seniors sometimes have unique health concerns that are less common in other aging demographics. Issues such as hormone treatments have opened up a whole new world of medical obstacles the health care industry knows very little about. When providing Lancaster at-home care for an LGBT senior loved one, take some time to research these unique problems and speak with your loved one about his or her medical history and current concerns.
There are many options to help LGBT elders preserve their health. If your loved one needs emotional support, social stimulation, or assistance with exercise, the caregivers at Home Care Assistance can help with these and many other important tasks. We also offer comprehensive Parkinson’s, post-stroke, and Alzheimer’s home care Lancaster seniors and their families can count on. For more information on our elderly care services and to schedule a no-obligation consultation, call one of our friendly Care Managers today at (717) 540-4663.