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How LGBT Older Adults Experience Aging

February 21, 2017

Findings from the largest national survey to date on the health and well being of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) older adults have been reported in a supplemental issue of The Gerontologist (2017;57[suppl1]).

According to research findings within the issue, 2.4% of US older adults currently self-identify as LGBT and account for 2.7 million adults over age 50, including 1.1 million aged 65 and older.

The entire supplemental issue (10 articles) focuses on aging with pride in relation to sexuality and gender identification. The cutting-edge research draws upon the 2014 section of data from the first national, longitudinal study of more than 2400 diverse LGBT adults aged 50 to 100.
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This journal issue editor, Karen I Fredriksen-Goldsen, PhD, University of Washington School of Social Work (Seattle, WA), said, “These articles provide the opportunity to consider how social, historical, and environmental contexts influence the health and well-being of LGBT older adults as we move forward in aging-related research, services, and policies -- especially if we are to understand the realities of older adulthood across diverse and vulnerable communities” (eg, Eurekalert. February 9, 2017). 

Collectively, the articles cut across three major themes: risk and protective factors and life course events associated with health and quality of life among LGBT older adults; heterogeneity and subgroup differences in LGBT health and aging; and processes and mechanisms underlying health and quality of life of LGBT older adults.

Dr Fredriksen-Goldsen said, “Discrimination, stigma, and lack of healthcare access is associated with these elevated disparities. It is important to understand that these communities are diverse, and unique groups face distinct challenges to their health.”—Amanda Del Signore

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