As much as we all hate to admit it, more and more of us are getting older every day! Our LGBTQ cultures, like most others, have been youth oriented, defying mainstream norms for activity, hobbies, and interests based on gender. Our communities have often promoted “fast” living, with very active social events and celebrations that have emphasized and required high energy levels, both emotionally and physically. To top it all off, our lives often involve high stress levels, some of derived from the intensity of lifestyles, but a great deal derived from coping with social stigma. Then before we know it, we arrive at a place in life where we face various shifts that come with aging, and often are not at all prepared for what is before us. As rich and full as the elder years can be, there are all too many tragedies – isolation and separation from loved ones who have passed on, health problems, and lack of resources to adequately deal with a new life pattern that is required.
This challenge has been around as long as there have been LGBTQ people, but now there is, thankfully, a heightened recognition of the challenges faced by LGBTQ people as we age. The LGBTQ Aging Center provides a number of important resources that are freely available for anyone who is interested in contributing to a positive aging experience in our communities. One of the resources that caught my eye recently is a review of research findings titled “LGBT Aging: A Review of Research Findings, Needs, and Policy Implications,” published in August 2016. You can download the PDF file here.
Explore this important resource today, and find at least one thing you can do to inform your peers, help ease the way for an LGBTQ elder in your circle of friends, or take steps to prepare for your own aging!