Continuing Challenges Faced By LGBT Seniors in Nursing Homes

My Elder Advocate touched on a very unique issue in a recent post discussing quality of life concerns in nursing homes. As Chicago nursing home abuse attorneys, it is sometimes easy for us to focus entirely on the individual instances of misconduct that cause serious harm (or even death) to residents. Obviously no senior should be hurt at one of these facilities as a result of unreasonable care.

But it is insufficient to focus only on stopping the most egregious harm. We should also pay attention to actual quality of life issues inside these homes Nursing home have the reputation of being a place where one simply exists, without a chance to thrive, grow, and meaningfully contribute to their community. It doesn’t need to be that way.

As the article from My Elder Advocate explained some groups of seniors face even more challenging quality of life issues at these communities than others, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered seniors.

The story notes that the federal Nursing Home Reform Act protects many groups of residents from discrimination, including discrimination based on sexual orientation. Yet legal protection from overt discrimination is not the same as creating an environment where all residents are free to be open and honest about themselves. Unfortunately we still have a long way to go in that regard.

A recent survey found that three out of every four LGBT seniors admitted that they would likely not be open about their sexuality in a nursing home. Nearly 90% of respondents felt that the staff members might discriminate against them if they knew. Another 80% thought that other residents would discriminate. These LGBT seniors were concerned about being isolated in the long-term care facility if they were open about their seuality. Nursing home lawyers know that it is little wonder why. Sexual orientation concerns are hot-button political issues which have clear generational differences. Many seniors in nursing homes grew up in an entirely different world in relation to these issues than the world in which the current generation is living. Thus, it is not surprising that entering a nursing home may feel like going back to less tolerant time for LGBT seniors.

The story shares the story of one female couple that was together for 58 years. One of the woman suffered from Alzheimer’s and was forced to move into a nursing home when her health deteriorated. However, as a result of various pressures, the woman’s partner had to pretend that she was a “sister.” The resident ultimately passed away. A few years later her surviving partner had to move into an assisted living facility as well. However, she stressed endlessly about displaying her pictures with the love of her life, over fear of the reception from others in the community.

Our Chicago nursing home abuse lawyers believe that all nursing home residents should be able to live safely as themselves in local long-term care facilities. Staff members should do everything in their power not only to keep residents healthy but allow them to thrive as unique human beings.

See Our Related Blog Posts:

First-Hand Portrait of Life Inside and Assisted-Living Facility

Aging Expert Optimistic About Senior flourishing in their Golden Years

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