• Karen McPhail

Why Long Term Care Planning is Important!

Growing older can be a difficult task for most people, but for LGBT older adults, who often face special challenges, it can be very concerning and evoke fear and worry.  LGBT older adults often face discrimination and a lack of understanding and compassion when seeking out senior living communities and home caregiver services. Socialization opportunities can also be an enormous challenge.  Early and appropriate long-term care planning is imperative for all LGBT older adults.  

It is recommended that all LGBT older adults have specific steps in place to ensure that their wishes are heard, valued, addressed, and appropriately met across the continuum of care.  All LGBT older adults should begin long-term care planning early with a care manager or other experienced long-term care planning professional.  In addition, a trusted financial advisor and an eldercare attorney that have experience in working with the LGBT community should be consulted.  Having a care manager who has LGBT experience and is the right fit is a critical component to have in place early so that they have an advocate throughout the process to ensure that their expressed wishes are respected and followed. Interview several care managers before making a decision, as you want to find the right fit for you!  A care manager can provide guidance on LGBT friendly senior communities, home care providers, physicians, socialization opportunities, ways to pay for care, access entitlement programs, advocacy, 24 hour access to care guidance and support, and much more.  Some of these areas can be limited and a real challenge depending upon the region or area in which the older adult resides.  Socialization is especially difficult for many older LGBT adults since many are not in contact with their families of origin or have lost close friends in the past due to the HIV and AIDS epidemic of the early 1990’s.  In addition, some communities do not have many meeting spots to provide opportunities to form new friendships and easy access to socialization on their terms.  These conditions often result in seclusion and loneliness, which will impact overall health and wellness.  These issues can be avoided with proper long-term care planning and supportive services.  

A holistic, team approach in conjunction with long-term care planning can provide peace of mind, comfort, and ease the process of aging for many LGBT older adults.  With early planning and appropriate parties in place to provide support and services, LGBT older adults can age on their terms, have better quality of life and health outcomes, and be able to live happily and authentically.  

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