Online Program

Lifestyle preferences for older lesbians: Aging in place

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Judith Bradford, PhD, Director of the Center for Population Research in LGBT Health, The Fenway Institute, Boston, MA
The CDC defines aging in place as "the ability to live in one's own home and community safely, independently, and comfortably, regardless of age, income, or ability level." Aging in place affords elders the opportunity to maintain independence, autonomy, and residential stability in their community and home, increasing their social, mental and physical well being. The 2011 IOM report on LGBT health noted the absence of data to guide elder services. Healthy People 2020 included a Topic Area for LGBT Health, yet data is generally unavailable, limiting program development and monitoring progress. In a probability-based study, LGBT seniors were concerned about being out to service providers and in-home help and did not have informal care resources such as children and other family. LGBT seniors were more likely than heterosexual counterparts to call upon friends for help and expressed deep connections to other LGBTs in their residential communities. Lesbian women were particularly concerned about safety and adequate resources as they aged. Informed by these findings, an in-depth study sheds light on factors affecting older lesbians' ability to age in place. In urban and rural focus groups, older lesbians discuss expectations about lifestyle preferences and the potential for aging in place programs that consider their specific concerns and needs. Study results identify factors that may facilitate or pose barriers to older lesbians' ability to age in place, including health issues experienced disproportionately by lesbians, family and social networks, sociocultural environment in their communities, and minority stress from experiences of stigma and discrimination.

Learning Areas:

Other professions or practice related to public health
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Program planning
Public health administration or related administration
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Identify the unique concerns of older lesbians as they consider lifestyle options and adequacy of health services. Explain how and why these concerns limit the choices of lesbian elders, compared to heterosexual women and other sexual minorities. Discuss the public health importance of providing culturally appropriate lifestyle and health service options for lesbian elders.

Keyword(s): Lesbian Health, Aging

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have conducted research with sexual and gender minority populations for nearly 30 years, am principal investigator on numerous NIH funded grants and serve as reviewer for research applications. I conducted the first national survey of lesbians in 1984-85. I served as committee member for the 1997-1999 IOM report on lesbian health and in 2010-2011, as a scientific committee member for the IOM consensus study on the health of LGBT populations.
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.

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