Assisted living facilities primarily help residents with non-medical needs. Although minor and infrequent medical services, such as first-aid for a wound, can sometimes be met on-site by nurses. These communities may sometimes also be called ALFs, residential care facilities, retirement homes, or long-term care facilities.
The financial options available to help pay for senior care is dependent on, among other things, the type of care that is required. If you are just beginning the research process on how to pay for long-term care, it is helpful to have an idea about the type of care you or your loved one currently requires, as well as to anticipate future needs. In addition, it is important to be familiar with the associated eldercare terminology.
Can using home care technology help your family save money caring for an aging loved one? The answer is most certainly “Yes”. Our goal is not to provide a comprehensive list, but rather to make sense of those that are available on the market today and can reduce the care hours required by elderly persons. As such, they can reduce a family’s out-of-pocket care costs or reduce the hours they spend providing care themselves.
Medicare Advantage (Part C), a privately offered alternative to Original Medicare (Parts A and B), has grown in popularity over the years. Despite the growing popularity of Medicare Advantage, some seniors face obstacles that prevent them from truly understanding how it works and who it benefits. Common mistakes about Medicare Advantage include misunderstanding its differences from Original Medicare, getting it confused with other forms of private Medicare insurance (like Medigap or Part D), or not understanding how to look up or evaluate plans.
LGBTQIA+ adults face many challenges when searching for senior living options. Due to stigmas, individuals may encounter health care and housing discrimination because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. For example, health care providers or physicians may refuse treatment based on personal moral or religious objections. This is why finding a senior living community accepting of LGBTQIA+ individuals is crucial for maintaining quality of life.
According to the American Psychological Association, 2.4 million American adults over age 50 identify as LGBTQIA+, and that number is only expected to increase. Despite this, LGBTQIA+ adults disproportionately face economic and health disparities significantly impacting their quality of life. One survey found that 15% of respondents reported postponing or avoiding necessary medical care due to discriminatory experiences. The Equal Rights Center also reports that 48% of same-sex couples applying for senior housing experienced discrimination.
This guide breaks down the economic and health challenges LGBTQIA+ individuals face and provides information on LGBTQIA+-friendly senior living communities. It also lists available resources and financial assistance for additional help.
Housing Rights for LGBTQIA+ Seniors
LGBTQIA+ seniors have the right to live free from discrimination, abuse or harassment, whether in public or private housing. This right also extends to long-term care facilities or housing assistance programs, such as section 8 or senior housing. It’s important to understand the specific rights you have to protect your well-being.
Fair Housing Act
The Fair Housing Act prohibits direct providers of housing, such as landlords and real estate companies, from discriminating against people due to:
The sex discrimination policy applies to LGBTQIA+ people and includes harassment or discrimination based on someone’s gender identity or romantic relationships. This means housing authorities are prohibited from engaging in various discriminatory actions, including refusing to rent or sell, falsely claiming housing is unavailable and imposing alternative sale or rental prices for LGBTQIA+ tenants.
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Equal Access Rule
Enacted in 2012, HUD’s Equal Access Rule prohibits discrimination against LGBTQIA+ individuals, regardless of actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity or marital status. Owners and lenders of HUD-funded or -insured housing can’t ask about your sexual orientation or gender identity to gauge eligibility when you submit an application. This protection extends to multifamily, assisted living and senior housing.
Several states have laws that protect LGBTQIA+ individuals from discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Becoming familiar with your state’s housing laws can help you understand your rights. The Policy Surveillance Program provides an overview of state-level fair housing protections.
Challenges Faced by LGBTQIA+ Seniors
LGBTQIA+ seniors face various challenges that can make the aging process more difficult. In general, many LGBTQIA+ older adults are disproportionately affected by poverty and physical or mental health conditions from dealing with lifelong stressors unique to being a minority. As they grow older, they may encounter dual discrimination due to their sexual orientation or gender identity and age. Here are some of the top challenges LGBTQIA+ seniors face.
LGBTQIA+ adults experience a higher rate of workplace discrimination than the general population, leading to financial insecurity later in life. People in this community face various employment issues, including being fired, denied promotions or not being hired at all because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Research published by the National Library of Medicine found that nearly a third of LGB adults aged 50 and older and almost half of transgender older adults have household incomes below the federal poverty level. These financial constraints can lead to other issues, such as not being able to access necessary health care or housing.
Many LBGTQIA+ seniors fear housing discrimination, particularly in long-term care communities, which can force them to keep their sexual orientation or gender identity a secret. A nationwide survey found that 43% of LGBTQ seniors were mistreated after entering residential care. Many seniors don’t speak up or report the harassment out of fear the abuse may worsen or they’ll lose their place to live. This fear may come from experiencing a lifetime of discrimination and losing their home or being denied housing in the past.
Before same-sex marriage was legalized nationally, fewer LGBTQIA+ seniors were able to get married, resulting in higher rates of isolation as they aged. In a study conducted by the AARP, almost half of all LGBT respondents reported they were single. In addition, 72% of single respondents don’t live with other people, which may indicate a lack of social support.
LGBTQIA+ seniors grew up in a time when their sexual orientation or gender identity may have been less accepted by their families. If they faced rejection from loved ones in the past, they may be more cautious about forming relationships with others. Being alone may seem safer, but isolation can increase your risk of developing physical health conditions, depression or severe stress.
What Are the Best Places for LGBTQIA+ Seniors to Live?
1. San Francisco, California
The San Francisco metropolitan area has one of the highest population rates of LGBTQIA+ adults at 6.7%. San Francisco has a long history of protecting LGBTQIA+ rights, starting with the Human Rights Ordinance passed in 1978, effectively banning discrimination based on sexual orientation in housing, employment and public accommodations. In 1995, the city added gender identity as a protected class to its nondiscrimination ordinances. San Francisco has also hosted pride parades and other LGBTQIA+-friendly events for the past several decades.
2. Fort Lauderdale, Florida
In the Fort Lauderdale-Miami metro area, 4.5% of the population identifies as LGBTQIA+. Fort Lauderdale is also home to one of the largest percentages of same-sex households in the nation and a high number of LGBT-owned businesses. The city has earned a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign’s Municipal Equality Index (MEI) for three consecutive years due to its inclusive laws and policies.
Under the Human Relations chapter of Fort Lauderdale’s City’s Code of Ordinance, sex, sexual orientation and gender identity or expression are considered classes protected from discrimination. The city also reports hate crime statistics to the FBI annually, offers inclusive coverage for gender transition surgery and officially recognizes June as Pride Month.
3. Orlando, Florida
Orlando has an adult LGBTQIA+ population of 5%. The city has established several local programs, laws and ordinances to protect LGBTQIA+ rights. Their Human Relations Division enforces city and federal laws prohibiting discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodations based on sex, sexual orientation and gender identity or expression.
In December 2011, Orlando became the first government agency in Central Florida to create a Domestic Partnership Registry, giving all couples the same basic rights regardless of sexual orientation. The city also contributes to LGBTQ+ organizations annually. In the 2017-18 fiscal year, it gave $25,000 to Two Spirit Health Services, now known as 26Health, to expand primary care services for seniors.
4. Seattle, Washington
Seattle is home to an LGBTQIA+ adult population of 5.2%. The Seattle LGBTQ Commission advises the city’s government officials on local issues affecting the community and recommends policies to address them. Consisting of 21 representatives, the commission addresses issues such as health care access, especially for transgender and non-binary individuals, housing affordability and community outreach opportunities to raise quality of life for LGBTQIA+ people.
In general, Seattle has a lengthy history of LGBTQIA+ activism. Nondiscrimination ordinances were passed to add sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes in 1973 and 1999, respectively. The city also elected its first openly gay mayor, Ed Murray, in 2013.
Pittsburgh received additional points from the MEI for its city services focused on helping LGBTQIA+ older adults, people living with HIV or AIDS and the transgender community. Allegheny County, where Pittsburgh is located, provides a list of LGBTQIA+ services on their website, including resources to help caregivers address the unique needs faced by the community.
Affordable LGBTQIA+Friendly Housing Options for Low-Income Seniors
HUD’s Section 202 Housing for the Elderly Program provides supportive housing for low-income seniors and rent subsidies to make costs more affordable. The program allows seniors to maintain their independence while receiving support for activities such as cleaning, cooking and transportation. You must be at least 62 years old at the time of occupancy and meet income requirements for approval.
North Park Seniors in San Diego offers affordable living for seniors aged 55 and older, including on-site resident services from the San Diego LGBT Community Center. The community is fully ADA accessible, accommodating seniors with disabilities.
Town Hall Apartments is a 55+ senior living community in a former police building. The community offers studio and one-bedroom apartments, a family dining room, a computer lab, and a terrace. LGBTQIA+ residents have access to social services at the nearby Center on Halsted.
Triangle Square Apartments offers LGBTQIA+ seniors attractive one- and two-bedroom apartments with efficient appliances, natural lighting, and spacious bathrooms. Community amenities include a picnic area, gated parking, 24-hour emergency maintenance, and a fitness center.
These residential communities or housing complexes are designed for seniors who can live independently and still care for themselves. However, some retirement communities allow you to receive assistance from home care agencies if needed. Scheduled activities are usually provided to help older adults build relationships with their peers and feel a sense of belonging.
Retire in style at Birds of a Feather, the LGBTQIA+ community with stunning homes on acres of forest land. Enjoy fireplaces, garages, and outdoor spaces with like-minded seniors. Select contemporary or Southwestern/Pueblo-style designs.
Join the LGBTQIA+ community at Carefree Cove in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Retire in a friendly environment with amenities like a maintained hiking trail, water features, and a community garden. Convenient access to medical care and local social groups.
Retirement life is better at Discovery Bay Resort, the LGBTQIA+-friendly community exclusively for women. Enjoy stunning views of Discovery Bay, heated pool, exercise room, community garden and Wi-Fi. Indulge in blackberry bushes, apple trees, and a beautiful green meadow.
Fountaingrove Lodge in Santa Rosa, California, is the epitome of luxury retirement living. Open to LGBTQIA+ community and allies who value inclusivity. Indulge in a private movie theater, wine cave, swimming pool, and well-maintained grounds. Enjoy local shops, art galleries, and restaurants a short walk away.
LGBTQIA+-Friendly Independent Living Communities
Independent living communities are ideal for seniors looking to simplify their lives without needing the individual care found in assisted living facilities or nursing homes. These communities offer various amenities, including social and recreational opportunities, daily meals, transportation, housekeeping and maintenance services. Around-the-clock staffing and building security are usually provided for emergencies.
A Place for Us, the first Ohio LGBTQIA+-friendly senior community, welcomes residents 55 and over to an inclusive environment. The community features air-conditioned apartments with fully equipped kitchens, large closets, and window coverings. Additional amenities include a business center, 24-hour emergency maintenance, and a well-stocked library.
John C. Anderson Apartments is the ideal senior community in Center City Philadelphia for the LGBTQIA+ community. Enjoy easy access to local grocery stores, restaurants, healthcare facilities, and cultural attractions. Each one-bedroom apartment features an open floor plan, perfect for entertaining or enjoying hobbies. Shared amenities include a patio and community room.
1122 East Tahquitz Canyon Way, Palm Springs, CA 92262
Living Out is a luxurious resort-style community designed for active LGBTQ adults aged 55+. Discover new friends who share your interests and enjoy concierge services, fitness center, salon, swimming pool, and spa. Admire stunning mountain and desert vegetation views from apartments with open floor plans.
Rainbow Vista is a gay community designed for men and women aged 55+. Live safely and comfortably, just 15 miles from downtown Portland, Oregon, in a welcoming environment free of discrimination. Rent includes parking, internet, laundry facilities, and utilities, except for telephone service. Each apartment features a kitchenette with a hot plate, microwave, and small refrigerator.
LGBTQIA+-Friendly Assisted Living Communities
Assisted living is a long-term residential care option for seniors requiring some assistance with personal care tasks and daily living activities, such as dressing, bathing, laundry or housekeeping. These communities usually offer 24-hour access to staff, daily meals, on-site amenities and organized activities to help residents stay social and active. However, skilled nursing care is limited, and around-the-clock medical support isn’t provided.
At 305 West End Assisted Living, seniors enjoy luxury living in the heart of New York City. Amenities include town car service, transportation to social events, on-site parties, a salon, and weekly laundry service. Although not exclusively for LGBTQIA+ seniors, the neighborhood is inclusive and accepting.
Belmont Village offers a welcoming environment for seniors of all ages and backgrounds, with about 9% of residents identifying as LGBTQIA+. Indulge in on-site physical therapy, a full calendar of social events, chef-prepared meals, and a fitness center with professional supervision. Access concierge services and enjoy high safety standards.
Kingsley Manor is a senior community offering multiple levels of care, including assisted living with various floor plans. Experience biweekly housekeeping, cultural programs, Wi-Fi, and transportation to shops and medical offices. The community includes a chapel, wellness clinic, and 24-hour emergency call system.
2150 North Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs, CA 92262
Stonewall Gardens in Palm Springs offers 24/7 staffing, ensuring residents receive the support they need. Enjoy an emergency call system, three meals per day, roll-in showers, and numerous social and leisure activities. Floor plans feature individual HVAC controls to maximize comfort.
The Montecito in Santa Fe offers personalized services such as supervision, case management, medication monitoring, and daily health reminders. Residents of all backgrounds enjoy an inclusive environment that celebrates differences, although it’s no longer marketed as an LGBTQIA+ community.
LGBTQIA+-Friendly Memory Care Communities
A memory care community is a secured residential facility designed to help seniors with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. Residents receive specialized services led by trained professionals to make life safer and more comfortable, such as cognitive therapies or programs, music, dancing, and arts and crafts. These communities also offer amenities similar to assisted living, including 24-hour staffing, assistance with daily living activities and housekeeping services. However, nurses are available around-the-clock for medical support.
Aston Gardens at Pelican Marsh provides a person-centered approach to dementia care, including the SHINE® program designed for seniors with memory loss. Services include special dietary plans, small-group activities, and sensory activities for relaxation. Staff members participate in ongoing training to provide excellent care.
Bristol House Memory Care provides an uplifting environment for seniors, making it a great option for LGBTQIA+ community members. The memory care program emphasizes effective communication and understanding how dementia affects daily activities. Security features include locked doors and hidden exits.
Plymouth Terrace Senior Living is committed to creating an inclusive environment for all residents, including LGBTQIA+ community members. Staff members perform individual assessments to determine the level of care needed. Amenities include housekeeping, linen services, cable, and an on-site salon, some of which may incur extra fees.
The Foundations at Sea Bluffs provides memory care that emphasizes each resident’s overall well-being. Staff members are leaders who strengthen connections among residents. The community offers nutritious meals, art therapy, music therapy, and other services to promote engagement.
The Parkview offers multiple floor plans for memory care residents. Every apartment has a kitchenette and emergency response system. Amenities include restaurant-style dining, 24/7 supervision, weekly housekeeping, cable TV, and a state-of-the-art fitness center. Although not exclusively for LGBTQIA seniors, The Parkview welcomes every senior with Alzheimer’s disease or another type of dementia.
Downloadable Checklist: What to Look For in a Senior Living Community for LGBTQIA+ Adults
The Senior Rainbow Assistance Program is an Illinois-based nonprofit dedicated to helping the LGBTQ community stay safe and healthy during hard times. It offers assistance for basic necessities and rent or mortgage payments for LGBTQ adults aged 55 and older who’ve faced a recent hardship, such as the death of a loved one, job loss or costly medical bills.
According to VA policies, LGBTQIA+ veterans can’t be denied services or benefits because of their identity. LGBTQIA+ veterans are at an increased risk for stress and certain mental health conditions, including anxiety, depression and substance use disorders. The VA offers high-quality health care designed specifically for LGBTQIA+ veterans, so you can access needed help.
Social Security provides survivors’ benefits to widows, widowers and dependents of eligible deceased workers. Many same-sex couples now qualify for these benefits. You may be eligible for survivors’ benefits if you were married to your partner at the time of their death, and you would have married earlier if constitutional laws hadn’t prevented you from doing so.
SAGECents is a digital wellness platform that helps LGBTQIA+ seniors increase their financial stability to reduce economic stress. You can create a free account to access various tools and resources on several topics, such as accessing Medicare benefits, creating a health care proxy and increasing your credit score.
The National Council on Aging offers BenefitsCheckUp® for seniors, regardless of gender or sexuality. This online tool connects millions of older adults with various benefits programs to help pay for health care, medicine, utilities and food. LGBTQIA+ seniors can use this resource to find supportive programs aligning with their needs.
SAGE is the largest advocacy and services organization providing various resources to help LGBTQIA+ seniors nationwide. It strives to build welcoming communities and keep issues affecting LGBTQIA+ adults in the national conversation to push for a more fulfilling and accepting future. The available resources span various issues, including access to inclusive long-term care and housing options.
The National Resource Center on LGBTQ+ Aging is the United States first and only technical assistance resource center designed exclusively for LGBTQIA+ seniors and their families or caregivers. It offers various educational resources, guides, webinars, reports and articles on navigating aging services and ensuring LGBTQIA+ seniors have access to quality support.
The SAGE National LGBTQ+ Elder Hotline connects LGBTQIA+ seniors with a friendly responder to help them feel less isolated. Hotline responders are certified in crisis response and trained to offer judgment-free support and maintain confidentiality. Seniors can use the hotline to access information about community resources, including health care, counseling and legal services.
The Human Rights Campaign is committed to helping marginalized communities live free from fear and discrimination. It offers several resources through its Health & Aging Program, including the Healthcare Equality Index and Long-Term Care Equality Index, to make health care more affordable and accessible to LGBTQIA+ seniors and decrease the economic and health disparities they face.
The National LGBTQ Task Force’s mission is to advance freedom, justice, equality and equity for all LGBTQIA+ individuals. It advocates for various issues, including better access to health care and stronger nondiscrimination policies, which can help LGBTQIA+ seniors get the assistance and services they need for a better quality of life.
The ASA’s LGBT Aging Issues Network strives to raise awareness about the barriers LGBTQIA+ seniors face regarding access to quality and affordable health care, housing, long-term care and other critical services. The organization also provides free webinars for ASA members and other educational resources promoting quality services for LGBTQIA+ seniors.