There are numerous issues facing the elderly in our world today. As medical advances continue, this population is living longer and healthier lives. As such, the demands on society have grown as well. Depending on the culture in any given society, the elderly face issues of loneliness, isolation, physical infirmities, loss of income, and the list goes on. The sad reality is that these same problems seem to be compounded for the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender elderly population.
Society is still coming to terms with how they want to view this particular segment of the population. For decades, marriage was not an option and couples were shunned when being seen out in public. While younger people can make the choice to confront these issues head-on, there are certain policy decisions and prejudices faced by the elderly that can become too difficult to bear. These issues range from not having hospital visitation rights and end-of-life decisions to simple inheritance and property issues. Retirement homes have been ill equipped to handle this particular population, and many family members have been less than accepting as well. Society seems able to handle the social issues that it faces with the elderly who are heterosexual, yet there are some major obstacles that the GLBT community must overcome. This report will deal with current published studies in this area in an effort to begin a dialogue about certain policy decisions that should be reversed moving forward in order to give the elderly GLBT a better quality of life in their remaining years.
In their younger and middle years, homosexual individuals and couples usually live independent lives. They have few family constraints, are far more mobile than the average heterosexual couple. In addition, they tend to rely less on social services. As this population ages, however, studies have shown that they do grow more dependent on public programs, social services, and assistance