Freedom Plaza Is an Inclusive, LGBTQ-Friendly Senior Living Community
Although finding the right senior living community can pose a challenge for all seniors, LGBTQ seniors face unique difficulties when looking for a community where they feel at home. But there are LGBTQ-friendly senior living communities out there. Here’s how you can identify them.
Facing Unique Obstacles
Aging is rarely a picnic, but access to support, socialization, recreation and appropriate housing can help seniors age well. For many LGBTQ seniors, however, a variety of factors limit their ability to get the support they need as they age.
- Ongoing discrimination. A 2020 survey found that more than 1 in 3 LGBTQ Americans faced some form of discrimination in the past year. The number was even higher among transgender Americans. Fear of discrimination makes many LGBTQ older adults less likely than their heterosexual peers to access health care services and support programs.
- Social isolation. An AARP study found that members of the LGBTQ community are twice as likely as their heterosexual peers to age alone, and they’re less likely to have the support of their biological families.
- Lack of cultural competence. A lack of education about the unique needs of the LGBTQ community – especially the transgender community — makes it difficult to access quality health care. In fact, 1 in 3 transgender individuals report having to teach their doctors about their unique needs in order to get the appropriate care.
- Housing discrimination. There are no federal protections against housing discrimination for the LGBTQ community, and only 28 states and the District of Columbia prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. A 2013 study by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development found that same-sex couples and transgender individuals faced significant levels of discrimination.
Finding the Right Fit
There are senior living communities that proudly declare themselves LGBTQ-friendly. But you may want to ask further questions to make sure you choose a truly welcoming, inclusive community to call home. As you tour communities or meet with senior living representatives, find out about:
- Anti-discrimination policies. Because sexual orientation and gender identity aren’t protected in every state, you’ll want to choose a community that has clear nondiscrimination policies.
- Cultural competency or anti-discrimination training for staff. Even if the community has a formal nondiscrimination policy and well-intentioned staff members, additional education about terminology and unconscious biases can help create a truly welcoming environment.
- LGBTQ residents and staff members. LGBTQ residents and staff can be a good source of information about whether the community has a culture of genuine inclusivity and acceptance.
- LGBTQ community organizations or clubs. A vibrant social life with people who accept your identity can foster a fundamental sense of belonging.
- Employee benefits. If the retirement community offers LGBTQ-inclusive employee benefits, it’s a good indication that the community culture is affirming and accepting.
- Cohabitation policies. Some retirement communities allow only married couples to share a residence, and may limit the definition of marriage as existing between one man and one woman.
- Honoring durable powers of attorney and chosen family. A 2020 study found instances of discrimination against partners, spouses and legally designated health care surrogates of LGBTQ patients in health care settings. Knowing whether a senior living community honors chosen family is particularly important if the community offers a continuum of care, meeting residents’ changing health care needs even as physical and cognitive abilities decline.
- Events celebrating minorities. A community that recognizes and honors differences by celebrating a variety of cultural holidays and traditions is likely to be more inclusive of LGBTQ seniors even if there isn’t currently a large LGBTQ contingent.
Welcome to Freedom Plaza
“Without community, there is no liberation … but community must not mean a shedding of our differences,” wrote Audre Lorde, self-described Black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet. At Freedom Plaza in Sun City Center, Florida, we strive to create a retirement community that celebrates differences and nurtures belonging. We offer maintenance-free living and the opportunity to do the things you love – whether that’s sun worshipping at nearby beaches, creating something unique in our arts & crafts studio, or maintaining your competitive edge on our pickleball and tennis courts. Whatever you enjoy, you’ll find Freedom Plaza to be a welcoming, LGBTQ-friendly senior living community in which to thrive. Contact us today to learn more.