Tag Archives: long term care

Palm Springs LGBT Assisted Living

lgbt-senior-livingStonewall Gardens, a 24-unit assisted living facility in Palm Springs, CA, is expected to begin taking LGBT (and LGBT-friendly) residents in late July or early August.

The bungalow-style facility will include 20 studio units and 2 one-bedroom apartments, plus “two shared apartments as living quarters,” all converted from a boutique hotel formerly known as the Desert Moon.  Potential residents will need to pass a health care assessment by a visiting nurse and a financial review.  Entrance fees start at $3,500, with monthly fees beginning at $3,850.  Three meals a day will be available.  You can get more information and apply at www.stonewallgardens.com

The Shape of Housing Discrimination Against Same-Sex Elders

lgbt-senior-livingJust when some people suggest that discrimination against lesbian and gay people is a thing of the past, along comes a report that proves otherwise.

“Opening Doors: An Investigation of Barriers to Senior Housing for Same Sex Couples,” (available at http://www.equalrightscenter.org/site/DocServer/Senior_Housing_Report.pdf?docID=2361) is a 2014 report by The Equal Rights Center.  They conducted 200 tests across 10 states in order to see if same-sex couples seeking housing in independent living facilities (as well as some continuing care and assisted living facilities that include independent living units) were treated the same as opposite-sex couples seeking housing.

They found that in 60% of the calls they made between April and November 2013, the “family member” seeking housing for an older relative and their same-sex spouse received adverse, disparate treatment from the “family member” seeking housing for an older relative and their opposite-sex spouse.  Many times, it was the exact same rental agent giving the two callers different information.

How did the discrimination play out?

10% of the time, same-sex couples were told about fewer available units than opposite-sex couples.  This included telling same-sex couples there were no units available while opposite-sex couples were offered units, and offering only 2-bedroom units to same-sex couples requesting 1-bedroom units.

10% the rent quotes to the same-sex couple were at least $100 more than that quoted to the opposite-sex couple.  In six of those cases, the “heterosexual” prospective renter was offered a rental option that was $200 to $500 less.

21% of the time same-sex couples were asked for higher fees or deposits.

4.5% of the time the same-sex tester received significantly less information regarding available amenities than did the opposite-sex tester that spoke to that same agent.

5.5% of the time, the heterosexual tester was offered a special incentive to rent at the facility that was not offered the same-sex tester.

11% of the time, same-sex couples were told of additional application requirements — background checks, credit checks, proof of income, or a wait list — that were not discussed with heterosexual applicants.

It’s important to note, as the study report makes clear, “Housing discrimination does not just harm the targeted individual or couple, but hurts all of society.  Residents of senior housing facilities are denied the opportunity to live and learn in a diverse community; relatives and loved ones are more limited in the options available when assisted care is needed for their aging relatives; and non-seniors observe the stigma that may confront them in their retirement planning, dimming their prospects for a healthy, productive, optimistic retirement.”

Although the report makes various recommendations, it is interesting to note that whether or not the state explicitly outlawed housing discrimination against same-sex couples appeared to have little effect on how much disparate treatment couples in that state encountered:

State State prohibits LGB housing   discrimination % same-sex older couples treated less well % same-sex older couples treated less well in two or more ways
Arizona

No

80%

15%

Colorado

Yes

50%

10%

Florida

No

45%

10%

Georgia

No

70%

40%

Michigan

No

35%

5%

Missouri

No

45%

10%

New Jersey

Yes

40%

15%

Ohio

No

45%

5%

Pennsylvania

No

40%

10%

Washington

Yes

30%

5%

Overall

48%

12.5%

Bullying Knows No Age Limit

bullyLGBT elders are not the only ones who can meet derision and abuse in elder settings; a growing number of articles are addressing the phenomena of bullying among older adults.

A recent Kansas City Star article (http://www.kansascity.com/2014/02/03/4796201/bullying-knows-no-age-limit-warn.html) estimates that between 10 and 20% “of residents of senior facilities and those who regularly visit senior centers have endured some form of bullying.”  Bullying can include “bossing others around, verbal putdowns, spreading rumors and sometimes physical violence.”  Like its middle- and high-school counterparts, elder bullying can even lead to suicide:  “Last year, a resident of a Kansas City senior housing facility tried to overdose on prescription pills after another resident prevented her from spending time with a sibling who also lived in the facility….”

“Seniors who bully typically have experienced loss, experts say.  They may have recently moved into an assisted living facility or senior apartment building….”  Such moves typically signal a host of losses:  “They are not as valued as much in the community or workplace and maybe not as important in your family system as you used to be,” one expert said.  “That magnitude of loss creates a need to be in control of something.”

FORGE Transgender Aging Network, a member of the National Resource Center on LGBT Aging, is working on a training that will address bullying and bias in elder settings.  We will post here when the training is available.

Suburban or Urban? Weighing the Choices

55-Laguna-Site-PlanLGBT-friendly retirement homes are still few and far between, but we are slowly getting to the point where there are actually choices to be made.  A recent post in “My Dad’s Closet: A Daughter’s Memoir,” examines the pros and cons of suburban-based LGBT retirement facilities like Fountaingrove Lodge in Sonoma County, CA, and urban-based ones like John C. Anderson Apartments in Philadelphia and 55 Laguna, a development that’s under construction in San Francisco.

Read more about it at http://mydadscloset.com/elders-lgbt-and-others/

When Senior Living Goes “Gay-Friendly”

rosevilla_logo_in_color_with_taglineHow, exactly, does a continuing care community actually implement an LGBT-friendly policy?

That’s what Vassar Byrd, Chief Executive Officer, and Rachel Rushing, Director of Social Services for Rose Villa in Portland, Oregon, discuss in a blog post at the website ElderBranch.

The 52-year-old facility has always had an open door policy, but upped their commitment to LGBT friendliness after a 2009 meeting with a lesbian couple who reported that another facility had accepted their money before telling them, “you realize when you move in, you’re going to need to be sisters or roommates right?”

The process Rose Villa engaged in included individual conversations with residents who management felt might have problems with the new policy:  “I actually went and spoke to a couple of those folks one-on-one and said, ‘This is something that’s important to our community and I feel that there’s broad support here, but I really want to be sure that you’re comfortable with it too — how do you feel about having neighbors who are not like you?’  People surprised me in a very positive way.  The worst comment I [received] was, ‘I’m not sure, I’m a little scared, but we’ll see who they are.’  You really can’t ask for more than that.  I was very pleased.  Other people — maybe they just didn’t want to go on record as being more biased — but they asserted that they would have no problems with all kinds of neighbors.”

Staff trainings on LGBT residents are held twice a year, and the facility has an active partnership with the Gay & Grey organization in Portland.

You can read the whole article at http://www.elderbranch.com/blog/lgbt-senior-living-at-rose-villa/

LGBT Residents’ Nursing Home Rights

Senior gets a kissAre you an LGBT nursing home resident?  The friend, partner, or advocate of such?  If so, you should take a look at the new publication, “Residents’ Rights and the LGBT Community: Know YOUR Rights as a Nursing Home Resident.”

The new 4-page publication was produced by the National Resource Center on LGBT Aging, the National Long-Term Care Ombudsman Resource Center, and Lambda Legal, and is available at http://issuu.com/lgbtagingcenter/docs/lgbtrrfactsheet-final

There are not many LGBT-specific rights; rather, there are rights that all nursing home residents are guaranteed by the federal government, and many of these — the right to be free from abuse, the right to privacy, the right to be treated with respect, for example — may be of particular interest to LGBT residents.  This document highlights some of these rights, plus gives a short bulleted list of your options if you think a right has been violated. There is also a page of LGBT-specific resources that may be of particular interest to LGBT older adults.

California Mandates LGBT Cultural Competency Training

cultural competencyThis week California Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill mandating that 5 hours of LGBT cultural competency training be integrated into the training received by residential care facility administrators before they can be certified.  The bill was Assembly Bill 663, authored by Assemblymember Jimmy Gomez.

LGBT Nursing Home Rights

nursing homeMere days after the Defense of Marriage Act was struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued a Memorandum entitled, “Reminder: Access and Visitation Rights in Long Term Care (LTC) Facilities.”

The memo addresses resident rights to access and visitation, noting that LTC facilities must “ensure that all individuals seeking to visit a resident be given full and equal visitation privileges, consistent with the resident preference and within reasonable restrictions that safeguard residents.”

The memo goes on to explain that “Residents must be notified of their rights to have visitors on a 24-hour basis, who could include, but are not limited to, spouses (including same-sex spouses), domestic partners (including same-sex domestic partners), other family members, or friends.”  “[R]easonable restrictions…such as denying access to those engaged in disruptive behavior” are permitted.

The memo is available at http://www.washingtonblade.com/content/files/2013/06/SC13-42-Access-and-Visitation-Rights.pdf

Contrasting Stories of LGBT Long-Term Care

Ann WallsThe Dallas Morning News recently ran an article showing the diversity of what LGBT elders might encounter in long-term care facilities.

Three years ago Kee Holt, center services manager at Resource Center Dallas, called all the nursing facilities in town to ask about LGBT residents.  “I was told, ‘We don’t have that here.’ I was hung up on a few times.  I was told, ‘They’ve grown out of that by now.’ I was really disheartened to find that people just didn’t think it existed in those places.”

On the other hand, Ann Walls and her partner Gienna Smith moved into an independent living facility together.  “They knew what the situation was, but nobody talked about it,” she said.  “We didn’t tell them.  We chose to be discreet.”  But after Smith died, Walls said, “I stayed there another year and those ladies really stepped up and were there for me.  It was like living with a built-in support group.”

The full article is available at http://www.dallasnews.com/business/health-care/20130215-lgbt-seniors-carry-additional-worries-when-seeking-care-facilities.ece

Lesbian Widow Explains It All

handsThe Huffington Post has produced a 20-minute video, “Retirement Home-ophobia,” that gives a great overview of LGBT housing issues, including interviews with several LGBT elders and housing providers.

But what makes the piece invaluable is a quote from widow Alice Herman that starts around minute 9:20.  Talking about the recent loss of her life-partner, she said, “All that made me real was my history.  I had a 45-year history of love.  And if I couldn’t talk about it, share it, where was my life?”

There, in a nutshell, is why LGBT-affirming services are so critical.  Check it out at http://live.huffingtonpost.com/#r/segment/elderly-gays%3B-lgbt-nursing-homes/51140a38fe344437520001da