Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) seniors face unique challenges in today’s healthcare ecosystem. Is it due to access problems, poor previous experience or trauma associated with health care providers, or the lack of systems in place to serve older people regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity? Regardless, barriers to care for LGBTQ older adults can feel overwhelming to patients. , the patient’s loved ones, and the healthcare provider himself.
Rajean Moone, PhD, LNHA, LALD, FGSA, with the College of Continuing & Professional Studies, School of Public Health, and the Minnesota Northstar Geriatrics Workforce Enhancement Program (GWEP), helps older adults, their loved ones, and health care providers Discuss how you are working. You can work together to ensure that LGBTQ older adults receive quality care.
Q: What are the health risks for LGBTQ older adults?
Moon: LGBTQ older adults may experience suicidal thoughts, smoke or drink excessively, delay or fail to seek medical attention, delay or fail to dispense needed prescriptions, go to emergency rooms, experience distress, and experience certain types of cancer. more likely to develop cancer. Additionally, LGBTQ older adults may face anxiety, social isolation, or depression because of their homophobic or transphobic experiences.
Q: Why are older LGBTQ people reluctant to seek health care?
Moon: LGBTQ older adults can accumulate negative experiences with healthcare throughout their lives, including traumatic events, microaggressions, and the overall stigma surrounding LGBTQ healthcare, and how providers treat them. You may avoid health care services for fear of being treated. If you’ve been harassed, discriminated against, or abused by someone, would you want to come back? It often causes older people to delay seeking help.
Q: What is the LGBTQ aging paradox?
Moon: While many LGBTQ people rely on their chosen family (groups of people who are not legally or biologically related but who they consider to be their family), LGBTQ older adults need They are less likely to have a friend or family caregiver they can turn to for care depending on their needs. This social disparity, coupled with other risk factors, makes this group of older adults more likely to require support from the formal care system. This is the LGBTQ aging paradox. Inequalities require more help from formal services, but lifelong experiences have created a fear of access to these services among many LGBTQ older adults.
Q: How does cognitive impairment affect LGBTQ older adults?
Moon: Cognitive impairment occurs when problems with learning, thinking, or memory affect an individual’s daily life. Conditions associated with cognitive impairment include various forms of dementia such as Alzheimer’s disease, Lewy body dementia, Parkinson’s disease or symptoms associated with some forms of HIV. LGBTQ people are at higher risk of developing cognitive impairment, according to Alzheimer’s Association data.
Many of today’s LGBTQ seniors have remained silent or closed about their identities throughout most of their past, due to very real stigma and fear based on their past experiences. For LGBTQ older adults living with cognitive impairment, these past experiences increase uncertainty about their sexual orientation and public status of gender identity, which can lead to anxiety, fear, and self-imposed social isolation. There is a nature.
Q: What are you doing to promote equitable healthcare for LGBTQ older adults?
Moon: It is imperative that health professionals integrate LGBTQ-friendly practices into clinical care in order to reduce disparities. This is the core of what I do in her GWEP. Whether reviewing organizational policies or surveying community members to conduct needs assessments, my research seeks to understand the experiences of LGBTQ older adults and their families and translate those experiences into tips and recommendations. Focused on transforming and promoting LGBTQ-friendly care policies and practices. Many of my research findings have been incorporated into the tips and resources found in GWEP’s LGBTQ Aging Care Toolkit.
Rajean Moone, PhD, LNHA, LALD, FGSA, is Faculty Director of Long Term Care Administration, College of Continuing & Professional Studies and Associate Director of Education, Center for Healthy Aging & Innovation, School of Public Health. His work and research focus on the experiences of LGBTQ older adults and how these experiences influence policy, services and care. He is a member of the Age-Friendly Minnesota Governor’s Council, his MN Association of Geriatrics-Inspired Clinicians Committee, and the FamilyMeans Committee. He is a Fellow of the American Gerontological Society, a Life Member of the Minnesota Gerontological Society, a McNair Scholar, and a Congressional/Health and Aging Policy Fellow. He also holds a Nursing Home Administrator License in Minnesota.
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About Minnesota Northstar GWEP
The purpose of the Minnesota Northstar Geriatrics Workforce Enhancement Program is to improve the health and care of seniors throughout Minnesota. It is supported by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Health Resource Services Administration (HRSA). HRSA is the primary federal agency for improving health care for geographically isolated, economically or medically vulnerable populations. The content is that of the author and does not necessarily represent her official views or endorsements of HRSA, HHS, or the U.S. Government. The Minnesota North Star GWEP is also supported by the Otto Bremer Trust, the University of Minnesota Medical School, Academic His Clinical His Affairs Office.