LGBTQ Seniors in San Francisco Are Facing Problems Regarding Aging Services

The new report from the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) reveals shocking information regarding LGBTQ seniors in the area.  The results were compiled through collaboration from On Lok and Openhouse and were released today. The reported namely,Needs Assessment of LGBTQ Senior Health in San Francisco” says that 20% of the senior LGBTQ members in San Francisco are unable to avail of aging services and the healthcare sector should find effective ways to serve the needs of this area’s growing LGBTQ senior community. Every one in five people from the LGBTQ population doesn’t avail of aging services because they don’t feel safe or welcome by the healthcare units.

Jason Flatt, Asst. professor at the Institute for Health & Aging in Nursing School, University of California shares that this is not the first report presenting such results. In many ways, the senior members from the LGBTQ community of San Francisco have to go through a battle to access even the most basic services. They, in return, select the low-quality services that are more affordable because of the discrimination, trauma and social barriers which differentiates them from other members of the society. Often times they are going through this trauma of being victimized and may have to live with life-threatening conditions like HIV/AIDS.

This new report aims to introduce services that are specifically for patient cases from this community, preferably through LGBTQ-identifying staff. It can further expand services by trauma care, different programs to meet the social and emotional needs of the community members.

This report is an outcome of a detailed community-based survey that includes the opinion and experience of more than 100 seniors of LGBTQ community. The report also recognized different themes to identify the needs of these people.

One of the most striking barriers to accessing aging services for LGBTQ seniors is discriminatory behavior to them. In addition to that, many of the senior members also experienced poor services including long hours of wait and obvious discrimination from the service providers locally. They also had to go through discernment regarding homophobia, racism, and transphobia while struggling to access specialized HIV care. For all that, the LGBTQ seniors need specialized wellness programs, awareness and educational programs, improved transportation and emotional support.

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Flatt further added that many people are not able to access the support system because they are not affordable for a common person. They require critical services through customized programs that are specifically designed for them.

The key recommendations for adult care services for the LGBTQ community through this report include the following.

  • Specialized programs for LGBTQ community
  • Improved healthcare and patient management services
  • Awareness, educational and supportive programs
  • Services that are affordable for everyone

These report findings are eye-opening for everyone and emphasize on listening to the needs of LGBTQ seniors. Grace Li, CEO of “On Lok” calls this new partnership between Openhouse and On Lok is to help these problems.

The LGBTQ community of San Francisco is rapidly growing. By the year 2030, every one in three locals will be 60 or over 60 years of age and more than 12% of Can Francisco population identifies them as a member of the LGBTQ community.

This shows a high demand for LBGTQ-centered patient care and health services. That is why Openhouse is working with On Lok to make it happen.

Karyn Skultety, the executive director at OpenHouse hopes that this new partnership to open a new community center in 2020 providing affordable housing to the LGBTQ community along with basic services. Through this new venture, it is hoped that the LGBTQ community would be able to access benefits without discrimination and racism.