“When Eleanor went into a nursing home to receive the care she needed in her final days, she was open about who she was as a lesbian. ‘You still have time before you die to repent, change your ways and be saved,’ a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) at the nursing home told her.”
To read more of the Huffington Post article, “‘We Made This Family’: End-of-Life Care in the LGBT Community,” go to http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jeanne-dennis/death-and-dying_b_4508724.html
Mere 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
The 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
Got a supervisor, elected official, or other authority figure you want to persuade to adopt more LGBT-friendly policies? The Gay and Lesbian Medical Association (GLMA) has compiled a tool that you may find helpful.
Their newly-updated “Compendium of Health Profession Association LGBT Policy & Position Statements” compiles information on and links to LGBT-related policy statements made by 11 different health care professionals’ groups ranging from the American Academy of Family Physicians to the American Public Health Association (apparently no health care professional association is going to start its acronym with anything other than “A”).
A 2012 study at Auckland University interviewed 47 staff people at seven nursing home facilities about their views and experiencing caring for older gays and lesbians.
“Staff in the study found it challenging to deal with homophobic attitudes and behaviour from other aged care residents, but said high levels of cognitive impairment among some residents was a mitigating factor.”
“Aged care staff said knowing family members, friends and colleagues who identified as lesbian or gay helped in their ability to empathise with those residents.” The article is available at http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10820524
Reuters has published an checklist for LGBT Americans planning retirement which includes a couple juicy statistics.
The article, available at http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/06/21/us-column-miller-lgbtretirement-idUSBRE85K12N20120621, urges LGBT adults to:
- Check your 401(k) beneficiaries, as starting in 2010, you’re allowed to list non-spouse beneficiaries;
- Check your pension survivor benefits; 73% of corporations now offer a survivor option for domestic partners;
- Check your retiree health insurance; if you’re one of the lucky ones whose corporation will pick up your post-retirement health insurance bill, there’s a 44% chance they will extend that coverage to your domestic partner;
- Think about estate taxes; starting in 2013, if your same-sex spouse will inherit more than $1 million from you (or vice versa), the federal estate tax will take 55% of it. Alternatives include a life insurance policy and annual tax-free gifts up to $13,000; and
- Consider lobbying your state to have it implement spousal impoverishment rules that will protect the spouses/partners of LGBT people whose nursing home bills are paid by Medicaid. (See previous posting for a webinar on this legislative issue.)
What are LGBT older adults experiencing in long-term (LTC) care facilities? That was the question asked by a coalition of LGBT and/or aging organizations in a national survey answered by 769 people, 284 of them LGBT older adults. Continue reading