Assessing the Needs of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Elders in Northeast Florida


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Assessing the Needs of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Elders in Northeast Florida

  1. 1. Assessing the Needs of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Elders in Northeast Florida Lynne Carroll  Tiffany Howard Danielle Krusemark  Kai Puhl Ma Tuason University of North Florida Jacksonville, FL
  2. 2. Research Goals • The LGBT elderly face the challenges of homo-, bi-, and trans-phobia and discrimination (Jackson, Johnson, & Roberts, 2008; Johnson, Jackson, Arnette, & Koffman, 2005; Knauer, 2009). • They are often an invisible minority, neglected when not discriminated against in society and academics. •A first-of-its-kind LGBT elders’ needs assessment was created to investigate information on the perceptions of life quality and available social, health, and housing services of LGBT elders in Northeast Florida.
  3. 3. • Data collection began in 2012 and is ongoing. • The 80-item survey is available online and in paper. • The online survey was advertised through LGBT and elders organizations’ websites and e-mail announcements. Methods • Paper versions and stamped, addressed envelopes were distributed to LGBT organizations and at LGBT community events.
  4. 4. Sample Characteristics GENDER Respondents were 34% female (n=38), 34% male (n=38), 31% male-to-female (n=35), 1% transgender (n=1), and 1% queer (n=1). RACE Ninety percent described themselves as Caucasian (n=102), 5% as African- American (n=6), 1% as Hispanic/Latino(a) (n=1), and 4% as “other” (n=4). SEXUAL ORIENTATION Fifty-seven percent identified as lesbians (n=64), 29% identified as gay males (n=33), 7% identified as bisexual females (n=8), 4% identified as “other”, and 2% identified as bisexual males (n=2).
  5. 5. Social Discrimination & Isolation • Although the LGBT elderly of northeast Florida are out to an average of 76% of the people in their lives, they are at risk for discrimination and isolation. • Nearly half of respondents (44%, n=48) were concerned about having others discriminate against them based on their sexual orientation and/or gender identity. • The majority (54%, n=59) were concerned about being socially isolated. • Sixty percent (n=64) are retired. • Sixty percent (n=67) do not have children. • Thirty-two percent (n=37) are single, widowed, or divorced. • Thirty-seven percent (n=40) live alone.
  6. 6. Discrimination in Elder Services • Seventy percent (n=73) indicated that nondiscrimination policies that specifically include sexual and gender orientation and gender expression were extremely important. • Seventy-five percent (n=80) stated that nonjudgmental/nondiscrimi natory attitudes toward LGBT elders in staff was extremely important.
  7. 7. LGBT Sensitivity in Elder Services • Most (73%, n=79) would be likely or very likely to use existing senior services if members received sensitivity training. • Seventy-two percent (n=76) thought that usage of LGBT- culturally appropriate language on intake forms and records was very or extremely important. • An overwhelming majority of 91% (n=91,98) thought that LGBT sensitivity workshops upon employment and staff knowledgeable about LGBT issues were very or extremely important. • Eighty-five percent (n=91) thought that knowledge of LGBT medically and culturally appropriate referrals in staff was very or extremely important. • Seventy-one percent (n=76) thought that the usage of LGBT culturally appropriate language in staff was very or extremely important.
  8. 8. Safe Spaces of Their Own • Most respondents desire services that are LGBT-sensitive and free of discrimination. • Seventy-nine percent (n=85) of respondents thought that a certain percentage of health and service programs specifically identified and advertised for LGBT persons was very or extremely important. • More than half (54%, n=58) would prefer LGBT-only support groups. • Thirty-two percent (n=35) would prefer LGBT-only retirement homes. • Twenty-nine percent (n=32) would prefer LGBT-only adult day care. • Twenty-seven percent (n=29) would prefer LGBT-only nursing homes and assisted living facilities. • Twenty-six percent (n=28) would prefer LGBT-only community- based senior care centers. • Twenty-four percent (n=26) would prefer LGBT-only home health care.
  9. 9. Limitations of the Study SAMPLING • Participants were a haphazard convenience sample. • They were recruited via the snowball technique and word-of-mouth. • Future studies should attempt to obtain a more random sample. SAMPLE CHARACTERISTICS • The majority of our sample were Caucasian and lesbian. • Future studies should include more diverse populations, perhaps through stratified random sampling.
  10. 10. Applications • These results emphasize the diverse needs and concerns of the LGBT elderly in Northeast Florida, with implications for those of LGBT elders in other states. • As the aging population grows, the issues that LGBT elders face will only become more prominent. • It is therefore imperative that sensitivity policies and training for elder services staff are established and expanded to all areas. • New programs, such as LGBT-only support groups, should be created to fill the needs of LGBT elders that present programs neglect.
  11. 11. Taking Action • Sociopolitical action from all areas is vital to establishing a better environment for the LGBT elderly. • Readers may get involved by working with or donating to the following organizations: Florida • ElderSource • LGBT Elders Task Force of Northeast Florida National • Local LGBT Centers • National Council on Aging • National Gay and Lesbian Task Force • National Resource Center on LGBT Aging • Services & Advocacy for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, & Transgender Elders
  12. 12. Acknowledgements We would like to thank all of the respondents who took the time and effort to participate in our research project. We are also grateful to the LGBT Elders Task Force of Northeast Florida and ElderSource for their invaluable help with participant recruitment and financial aid.
  13. 13. Contact Information • Lynne Carroll, Ph.D. • Tiffany Howard • Danielle Krusemark • Kai Puhl