SAGE Releases Comprehensive Research Report on Aging Concerns among Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Older People, Ages 45-75
New national study shows high concerns about retirement and healthcare providers among LGBT older people, as well as smaller support networks over time.
The report, Out and Visible: The Experiences and Attitudes of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Older Adults, Ages, 45-75, details findings from a uniquely comprehensive, nationally representative quantitative study on aging among older LGBT people.
The report is based on a national survey of 1,857 LGBT people and 519 non-LGBT people, conducted in March 2014 by Harris Poll on behalf of SAGE.
“SAGE is proud to continue leading the aging and LGBT rights field in better understanding and supporting the realities of a growing population of LGBT older people in this country,” said Michael Adams, executive director at SAGE, a national nonprofit dedicated to supporting LGBT older people. “This study should compel healthcare and aging providers, as well as leaders in the public and private sectors, to create services, policies, products and institutions that are responsive to a growing, underserved demographic.”
Out and Visible examines the values, needs, wants and lifestyle preferences of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender older people, ages 45-75. It explores five key areas: healthcare, finance and retirement, support systems, housing and sources of information. The report was authored by Robert Espinoza, SAGE’s Senior Director for Public Policy and Communications.
Among its many findings, Out and Visible reveals that one in two (51%) LGBT older people is very or extremely concerned about “having enough money to live on,” as compared to 36% of non-LGBT people; and one in three (32%) LGBT older people is very or extremely concerned about “being lonely and growing old alone,” as compared to 19% of non-LGBT people.
"This new SAGE report sheds a much-needed spotlight on the ways in which aging in the LGBT community may bring with it unique vulnerability and challenges both for LGBT seniors and those who care for them, said Gary J. Gates, PhD, Williams Distinguished Scholar at the Williams Institute, UCLA School of Law, a national think tank that produces research on sexual orientation policy and law." Aging can be complicated for all of us, but these new analyses represent an important step forward in documenting the unique perspectives of LGBT older adults."
In regards to healthcare, the study shows that 43% of LGBT older people who are single and 40% of LGBT older people in their 60s and 70s say their healthcare providers don’t know their sexual orientations. Two-thirds of transgender adults (65%) in the study feel that there will be limited access to healthcare providers as they grow older.
“This timely and well-developed report offers important information about the risks and concerns facing LGBT people as they age,” noted Karen Fredriksen-Goldsen, PhD, Principal Investigator of the National Health, Aging and Sexuality Study, Caring and Aging with Pride over Time, and Professor at the University of Washington. “Given the tremendous aging of the population, the report highlights many critical aging related needs of LGBT adults that must be a priority as we move forward serving these diverse communities. It is a must-read for service providers and policy makers, alike.”
The study also shows that about one in three (34%) LGBT older people lives alone (as compared to 21% of non-LGBT people), while 40% of LGBT older people say that their support networks have become smaller over time (as compared to 27% of non-LGBT older people). Of note, African American LGBT adults are three times as likely as White or Hispanic LGBT adults to say that people from their churches or faith are part of their support systems (26% vs. 8% and 8%).
To read the full report, including recommendations from SAGE, please visit sageusa.org.
ADDITIONAL KEY FINDINGS
- Finance and Retirement: Forty-two percent of LGBT older people are very or extremely concerned that they will outlive the money they have saved for retirement, as compared to 25% of non-LGBT people; and 44% of LGBT older people are very or extremely concerned that they will have to work well beyond retirement age in order to have enough money to live on, as compared to 26% of non-LGBT people. While most LGBT older people age 60 and older report being retired (70%), many of those who are not retired anticipate working, on average, until age 69. Moreover, half of all single LGBT older people believe that they will have to work well beyond retirement age.
- Housing: One in eight (13%) LGBT adults and one in four (25%) transgender adults say that they have been discriminated against when searching for housing on the basis of their sexual orientations or gender identities, respectively. Forty-four percent of LGBT older adults are very or extremely interested in living in an affordable LGBT-friendly housing development at some point in the future.
- Sources of Information: Both LGBT and non-LBGT older people are most likely to rely on the internet (40% vs. 38%) and family and friends (40% vs. 40%) as their primary sources of information on aging. LGBT older women are more likely than non-LGBT older women to look to government sources for information on aging (26% vs. 15%), while LGBT older men are three times as likely as non-LGBT older men to rely on social media (11% vs. 4%).
The data used in this report came from an 18-minute online survey conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of SAGE (Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders). A sample of 2,376 people ages 45-75 were surveyed online. The study was fielded between March 4, 2014 and March 21, 2014. Using figures from Harris Poll’s proprietary LGBT archive, data were weighted for education, age by gender, race and ethnicity, region and household income, where necessary, to align the respondent data with the U.S. population data on LGBT residents, ages 45-75, and non-LGBT residents, ages 45-75. Additionally, Harris’ weighting algorithm allowed for adjustments that accounted for attitudinal and behavioral differences between those who are online from those who are not; those who join online research panels from those who do not; and those who responded to this survey and those who did not. Finally, LGBT African American and Hispanic respondents were oversampled to ensure a sufficient number of completed interviews for analysis. For more information on the methodology, please read the full report at sageusa.org.
ABOUT NIELSEN AND THE HARRIS POLL
On February 3, 2014, Nielsen acquired Harris Interactive and The Harris Poll. Nielsen Holdings N.V. is a global information and measurement company with leading market positions in marketing and consumer information, television and other media measurement, online intelligence and mobile measurement. Nielsen has a presence in approximately 100 countries, with headquarters in New York, USA and Diemen, the Netherlands. For more information, visit nielsen.com.
SAGE (Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders) is the country’s largest and oldest organization dedicated to improving the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) older adults. Founded in 1978 and headquartered in New York City, SAGE is a national organization that offers supportive services and consumer resources to LGBT older adults and their caregivers, advocates for public policy changes that address the needs of LGBT older people, and provides training for aging providers and LGBT organizations through its National Resource Center on LGBT Aging. With offices in New York City, Washington, DC and Chicago, SAGE coordinates a growing network of 27 local SAGE affiliates in 20 states and the District of Columbia. For more information, visit sageusa.org.
Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE) is the country's largest and oldest organization dedicated to improving the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) older adults. Founded in 1978 and headquartered in New York City, SAGE is a national organization that offers supportive services and consumer resources to LGBT older adults and their caregivers, advocates for public policy changes that address the needs of LGBT older people, provides education and technical assistance for aging providers and LGBT organizations through its National Resource Center on LGBT Aging, and cultural competence training through SAGECare. With staff in New York City, Washington, DC and Chicago, SAGE coordinates a growing network of affiliates across the country. Learn more at sageusa.org and lgbtagingcenter.org.