7 Questions to Ask When Looking for LGBTQ-Friendly Senior Living August 11, 2022August 1, 2022 by Brad McCormick Although data varies, it’s estimated there are more than 2.4 million adults in the U.S. over age 65 who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual and/or transgender (LGBT), according to the American Psycholocial Association. The number of LGBT seniors is rising, and although there’s not an official census count of LGBT older adults, some researchers estimate this number could more than double by 2030, when the youngest baby boomers reach retirement age. This is an incredibly resilient generation of individuals who survived and thrived through social stigma and decades of discrimination. Today, LGBT seniors face unique challenges when it comes to aging, and they’re seeking safe spaces to retire in comfort and continue to build on their emotional, physical and financial security. A Culture of Inclusivity for Social and Emotional Well-beingThe need for social engagement is an essential part of aging well, regardless of a person’s background, gender identity, family situation or marital status. In fact, social connectedness is a key factor that can boost health and happiness for older adults. When seniors experience loneliness or social isolation, this can take a toll on physical and emotional well-being. Social isolation is an area that can be particularly impactful for LGBTQIA+ seniors, who often live alone and may have a smaller network of family support. A SAGE (Services and Advocacy for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Elders) fact sheet reports that LGBT seniors are twice as likely to be single and live alone, and four times less likely to have children. They’re also more likely to experience social stigma and discrimination than their straight peers. Living in a place where it’s easy to connect with others and socialize is one of the many benefits of living in a condominium community for independent adults 60 and over. LGBT seniors have much to gain from moving to senior living communities, but they may hesitate due to fears of discrimination and the uncertainty of whether they’ll be accepted and welcomed by their peers.At Peninsula Regent, we believe that together, we can help each other by reaching out and supporting one another as part of a diverse community. Questions to Ask About LGBT-Friendly Senior LivingSenior living communities are evolving to better serve LGBT seniors and meet their unique needs. The following questions can help you find a place where you can relax and be yourself in an LGBTQ-friendly retirement community. Following are some questions to ask to help you find a community with a welcoming culture for LGBT seniors and their friends, families and partners. Having an open discussion about these questions and others can help you find a community where LGBT seniors feel safe, supported and comfortable.Does the community have an anti-discrimination policy? Read a community’s anti-discrimination policy and learn how it applies to gender identity and sexual orientation. You’ll want to understand the community’s approach to definitions of family, which may include a family of choice such as your partner, significant other, or other people who are close to you.Do employees serving the community receive cultural competency or anti-discrimination training? Training brings awareness to the fundamental understanding that all people are deserving of compassion and respect, regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, gender identity or sexual orientation.Is there a culture of respect for those who identify as LGBTQIA+? When you visit a community, the people you interact with should be willing to refer to you by your chosen name and/or pronoun. You’ll want to know that leadership and staff culture will be respectful of your pronouns and your expressed gender. Does the community have an inclusive approach to bathrooms, amenities and more? Find out if there are gender-neutral bathrooms for staff and community members. You shouldn’t have to worry about which bathroom to use or where to find changing rooms for the pool or fitness classes.Are LGBT and minority groups reflected in the community’s marketing materials? Look for LGBT-inclusive images and other signs of inclusion visible in common areas and on a community’s website.Does the community celebrate cultural holidays and events recognizing minority groups? Rainbow flags and Pride Month celebrations are always a good sign, but support for diversity and equity should be woven into the fabric of a community and more than just a symbol. Progressive communities sponsor events, speakers and lectures that highlight diverse perspectives.Are there opportunities to join LGBT community organizations or clubs? LGBTQ-friendly senior living communities may have resident-led social groups for LGBT seniors. These groups provide an instant connection and a safe space for discussion with like-minded individuals.A Diverse and Welcoming CommunityThe Regent is a LGBTQIA+ friendly place where neighbors quickly become friends as they enjoy the freedom of our hassle-free lifestyle. Our organization has a strong culture of inclusivity and a vision for the future in which every person deserves a healthy, stable, and secure retirement experience. Learn more about the amazing retirement lifestyle you’ll lead when you become a member of The Peninsula Regent.