Many Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) elders report serious concerns about aging and retirement, according to the nonprofit group Services & Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE).
For years, LGBT retirees have suffered indignities during their final years. For example, same-sex partners have been denied the opportunity to share the same room, staff members who personally object to homosexuality have treated LGBT elders insensitively, and finances and benefits normally given to heterosexual partners have been withheld from surviving same-sex partners. The loneliness and isolation that can accompany aging is often compounded by discrimination and the fact the LGBT people are less likely to have children and may be ostracized by their families. Many seniors have to go back into the closet when they entered the senior care system.
While the situation has improved in recent years, there is still a great unrealized demand for supportive retirement communities for LGBT people. Here are the LGBT-focused retirement homes and communities that are currently operating in the United States.
Fountaingrove Lodge in Santa Rosa, California, is a luxurious, full-featured LGBT retirement home. It’s also the only LGBT Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC), meaning that you can move in being fully active and independent, then age in place as you require more levels of assistance. It’s a bit pricey, but so are most CCRCs – and you get a lot of amenities and luxury for your money.
Seashore Point in Provincetown, Massachusetts, offers studio, one-bedroom, and two-bedroom condominium units for independent living. There’s a wellness center on site. Should health needs arise, you can avail yourself of home health or companion services in your home, or take advantage of the professional rehab department.
Both Fountaingrove Lodge and Seashore Point offer a full schedule of activities, fitness center, restaurant-style dining, maintenance, and housekeeping.
Rainbow Vista in Gresham, Oregon, offers studio and one-bedroom apartments for independent living. They provide no medical or assisted living services. Communal facilities include a large event space, a comfortable area for chats, a video theater with large screen TV and surround sound, an exercise room, a game room with a pool table, and a music room.
A Place for Us in Cleveland, Ohio, recently opened and currently has one- and two-bedroom apartments available. Amenities include a fitness center, meditation room, laundry facilities on every floor, and a library.
If you are active and independent, you have several options for owning your own home in an LGBT-centric residential development.
Carefree Cove in Boone, North Carolina, is a gay and lesbian residential community in a mountain setting. The development features log cabin-style homes and still has about 20 available lots as well as several resale homes.
Birds of a Feather is a gated gay and lesbian community in a rural, mountainous area near Pecos, New Mexico, about a half hour east of Santa Fe. Lots are still available.
The Resort on Carefree Boulevard in Fort Meyers, Florida, is a women-only community of manufactured homes and recreational vehicles (RVs).
Discovery Bay Resort is a small women-only development featuring small manufactured homes of about 400 sq. ft. (also known as Park Models) and RVs. It’s located on the North Olympic Peninsula, about halfway between Sequim and Port Townsend, Washington.
The Pueblo is a women-only mobile home and RV park in Apache Junction, Arizona. They don’t have a website.
The Palms of Manasota in Palmetto, Florida, is the oldest and best-known LGBT retirement community in the United States, located between Sarasota and St. Petersburg. It was launched in 1994, and residents began moving in in 1998. The community filed for bankruptcy in October, 2011. Their website is no longer active, but numerous real estate sites in the area list properties for sale or rental in this community.
The nation’s first assisted living facility for LGBT seniors is Stonewall Gardens in Palm Springs, California. Stonewall Gardens offers an on-site nurse, meals, and a 24-hour staff that assists with daily living needs such as medication management, dressing, grooming, bathing and personal assistance.
In recent years, low-income retirement apartments that are friendly to LGBT seniors have opened in several major cities. These facilities are government-subsidized and require low income qualifications for entry. In most cases, rent is calculated on a sliding scale based on about 30% of the renter’s income. Affordable facilities are in high demand, and most of these were filled via a lottery system prior to opening. They are fully occupied and their waiting lists are usually full. The demand clearly exceeds supply.
Spirit on Lake in Minneapolis, Minnesota
John C. Anderson Apartments in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Town Hall in Chicago, Illinois
55 Laguna in San Francisco, California
These low-income LGBT residential facilities are under construction:
North Park Senior Apartments in San Diego, California
Mary’s House for Older Adults in Washington, DC
Until the day comes when LGBT seniors can fully avail themselves of all of the options available to other seniors without fear of being ostracized or discriminated against, it’s good to know that the options highlighted in this article exist. With an estimated 10,000 people turning 65 every day, it’s clear that more retirement communities that can meet the needs of LGBT seniors are sorely needed.
© 2016 Dave Hughes. All rights reserved.