May Is Older Adults Month

Older adults play an important role in our society, and enhance the vitality and richness of our families, neighborhoods, social networks, and lives. That’s why, every May, the Administration for Community Living leads a national observance of Older Americans Month. This year’s theme: Connect, Create, Contribute.

Although largely invisible until very recently, LGBTQ older adults make up a significant—and growing—share of both the overall LGBTQ population and the larger 65+ population. MAP recognizes that by engaging and supporting all community members we build a stronger society. We also recognize there are challenges for older Americans, especially those in the LGBTQ community, who face unique issues stemming from stigma, isolation, and discrimination. While confronted with the same challenges that face all people as they age, LGBTQ elders also face an array of unique barriers and inequalities that can stand in the way of a healthy and rewarding later life. Two MAP videos highlight just a few of the many challenges older LGBTQ adults face:

Our Nursing Home ad, released in partnership with SAGE and the Open to All coalition, illustrates the devastating harms many LGBTQ Americans face because of discrimination. The video features an older gay man and his family on the first day he moves into an assisted living facility. When the director of the facility learns the man is gay, he refuses to allow him to move in.

Our video, Understanding Issues Facing LGBT Older Adults, which was created to supplement the report of the same name, follows Jackie and Tina, two women born in the same town during the same year, and whose lives take very different turns and takes a look at their unique needs and experiences.

Older Americans Month is an important reminder to celebrate all of the members of our community. Please join MAP as we join in the discussion and share suggestions, resources, and materials that provide valuable insights and data into the lives of LGBTQ older adults.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES
The following sharable resources offer an overview into the lives of LGBTQ older adults.

INFOGRAPHICS: Religious Refusals in Health Care

Across the country, there is a growing effort to create religious exemptions in many areas of life. Religious exemptions are carve outs to existing laws and policies that aim to allow people, organizations, or businesses to be exempt from a law if they claim that the law violates their religious or moral beliefs. In the context of healthcare, these exemptions result in doctors medical providers refusing to provide medical care. These “religious refusals” can even allow hospital administrators to keep a doctor from providing the best care to their patients because the hospital objects to providing that care, even if the doctor doesn’t.

For example, some exemptions mean women could be denied birth control or other health care coverage because of their employer’s religious beliefs, and LGBT people can be denied basic services because of a doctor’s disapproval of who they are or the care they need. Allowing healthcare providers to ignore standard medical best practices and instead put their personal beliefs before patient health has the potential to gravely harm millions of people and their families’ health. Patients’ health and wellbeing should always come first.

These graphics show the impact and implications of religious refusals. Learn more in MAP’s latest report: Religious Refusals in Health Care: A Prescription for Disaster.