The most important decisions older adults have to make involve how to age well. Planning for where you’ll live, anticipating any care you might need, saving for your expenses in retirement, and documenting your healthcare wishes are important for all older adults. And when you’re aging alone and/or are part of the LGBTQ+ community, planning ahead is of particular importance. Our Aging Life Care Managers® can help.
Solo agers are those who have no immediate family or friends who can provide support as they age. They may be a part of the LGBTQ+ community, or not. Perhaps they have no siblings or close relatives, their partner has passed away, or they live far away from family. Whatever the circumstances, they need an alternative support network – their own support team – as they age.
Ideally, the support team would include a financial power of attorney and a healthcare power of attorney (also called a healthcare proxy). A trusted friend, or professional such as an elder law attorney or professional fiduciary, can fill these roles. Solo agers who develop a relationship with an Aging Life Care Professional® can be confident that their care manager will collaborate with their financial adviser, healthcare providers, and other experts involved in their care. This team of professionals, led by the care manager, can ensure that the client’s healthcare, end-of-life, and financial/estate wishes are documented and carried out.
LGBTQ+ seniors, whether they’re solo or if they have a network of chosen family members, may have limited support from biological family members. According to the Movement Advancement Project (MAP) and SAGE (PDF), “a reliance on chosen family, due to family rejection and legalized discrimination, creates social isolation and vulnerability for LGBT elders.”
Older LGBTQ+ adults can also face discrimination in the healthcare system, and difficulty accessing culturally sensitive and appropriate care. Because of this, it is particularly important to have an advocate like a care manager who can help with accessing resources, as well as a healthcare proxy who can legally make decisions if needed.
Beyond those basics, LGBTQ+ seniors may also be concerned about finding a welcoming, supportive place to live if they reach a point where they are unable to live independently. We can help find and evaluate long-term care options. SAGE, a national organization dedicated to improving the lives of LGBTQ+ older people, also offers a number of resources. Their National LGBTQ+ Housing Initiative works with builders nationwide to develop LGBTQ+ friendly senior housing.
The importance of advance planning
Solo agers, whether they are within the LGBTQ+ community or not, can take proactive steps to plan for a positive aging experience. Advance planning can give you the confidence that you’re prepared for what may come and that you can age with dignity. When selecting professionals to partner with, consider their training and expertise. Windward Life Care is proud to have certification from SAGECare, a demonstration of our commitment to working with LGBTQ+ clients, caregivers, and community organizations.