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LGBTQIA+ Comfort in Senior Living

Who you are and who you love shouldn’t dictate where you are able to live, but for LGBTQIA+ older adults and seniors, whether or not a community is friendly has become an often-discussed topic. It is the responsibility of the community to have a focus on non-oppressive spaces for LGBTQI+ people to age-in-place. When it comes to finding an inclusive community, there are several considerations one must take.

From the moment you walk in the front door notice if the community is using inclusive language in signage, literature, and advertising materials. It’s helpful to note if they display logos or cultural symbols that reflect tolerance of all individuals. They should also offer inclusive options for shared spaces like healthcare suites and restrooms. This often means that the community understands and caters to the unique needs and care for those whose bodies are different from their gender identity.

Staff training is important as well, so ask if the community educates staff members and healthcare professionals within their community how to interact with LGBTQI+ people, including providing regular in-services and training on cultural competency and sensitivity. Note that staff and residents alike utilize preferred pronouns and respect how individuals self-identify.

The community should have a confidentiality policy available and share it without reservation. Ask for their non-discrimination and bullying policy, how to report bullying or harassment, and ensure it is clear-cut with guidelines. The activity calendar should feature partner opportunities with LGBTQI+ organizations, events, and programming, both on and off site.

It is important to tour the communities of interest. Ask the staff questions about each of these points, as you have the right to be comfortable in your own home. It is also key to ensure that these communities have the clinical and social service systems necessary in addressing the holistic health of LBGTQIA+ older adults in affirming housing. This means that they are addressing not only the physical needs within the physical structure of the community, but are meeting the cognitive, social, and mental health needs of the seniors they serve.

If you are looking for an inclusive community in your retirement, call Elderwerks today and let us help you find the perfect community to call home.

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