242092 Aging Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual (LGB) Adults in California Face More Health Problems than their Heterosexual Peers

Wednesday, November 2, 2011: 1:00 PM

Eva M. Durazo, MPH , UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, Los Angeles, CA
Steven Wallace, PhD , UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, Los Angeles, CA
Susan D. Cochran, PhD, MS , Epidemiology, UCLA School of Public Health, Los Angeles, CA
Chandra L. Ford, PhD, MPH, MLIS , Department of Community Health Sciences, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA
Policy and practice that meets the needs of California's rapidly growing older population requires accurate information on the full diversity of the population. In 2007, an estimated 170,000 (2.3%) adults in California ages 50-70 identified as lesbian, gay, or bisexual. Using data from the 2003-2007 California Health Interview Surveys, we present unique population-level data on aging LGB adults, documenting their demographic, health and access trends. Aging LGB adults exhibit distinct social and demographic characteristics, in particular higher rates of living alone and lower rates of marriage or living with a partner, which can impact the availability of resources and networks during the aging process. We find that aging LGB adults have higher rates than similar aging heterosexual adults of several health conditions. In particular, aging LGB adults have higher rates of psychological distress, fair/poor health status, and physical disability in comparison to aging heterosexual adults. Yet despite differences in health status, aging LGB and heterosexual adults report similar levels of access to health services. Mental health services is an exception, with aging LGB adults exhibiting both higher self-reported needs and use of services than aging heterosexual adults. The data indicate a need for targeted preventive programs and awareness of the interaction of social characteristics with health needs. Understanding the patterns of health and health care of the aging LGB population statewide in California is critical to improve policy and practice to better support this group.

Learning Areas:
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe the social and demographic characteristics of aging LGB adults in comparison to aging heterosexual adults. 2. Explain how demographics and other factors are important for aging LGB adults given the health and access differences. 3. Identify how public policies and programs can improve the quality and focus of services available for aging LGB adults.

Keywords: Gay, Aging

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: as a PhD student and research assistant I contributed to the overall prokect and conducted the analyses.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.