I was happy to contribute to this new article about the current state of LGBT senior housing by Dave Singleton on Caring.Com. It's a worthwhile read about an issue few people are attuned to.
"There is a great need for LGBT senior services and housing options, which have gained steam in the last decade, led by the rise of older LGBT baby boomers. But there’s still work to do. Is it getting better for LGBT seniors who need help and a place to live? How can we make sure none of them takes a backward step into a senior living closet?"
Most lists of top retirement destinations focus on medium to large cities. For LGBT baby boomers, as well as many others who prefer places with diverse populations with thriving arts and culture scenes, larger cities usually have the most to offer. Larger cities also provide more options for medical care and senior support services.
But if you prefer the more relaxed pace of small town living but still hope to find an inclusive and welcoming community with a fun, artsy ambiance, you’re in luck. Here are five small, affordable, LGBT-friendly towns with big personalities that are worth your consideration as retirement destinations.
When it comes to selecting a highly desirable retirement destination, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) people have a few additional criteria to consider than do most Americans. In addition to considerations such as low cost of living and low taxes, LGBT people tend to value cities with strong LGBT communities, higher levels of acceptance and the presence of non-discrimination laws.
Cities that are most famous for their prominent LGBT communities, such as New York City, San Francisco and Los Angeles, are also very expensive. LGBT baby boomers who want to stretch their retirement dollars farther would do well to consider these cities that offer lower cost of living, cheaper real estate and lighter tax burden, but still have thriving LGBT communities. These cities are excellent retirement choices for non-LGBT people as well, because cities where LGBT people enjoy greater acceptance tend to be more welcoming of all types of diverse people and offer plentiful art and cultural amenities.
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.
When it comes to choosing a place to live during retirement, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) people want the same things that everyone else wants – someplace safe, reasonably priced, agreeable climate, cultural and recreational amenities, and good healthcare.
LGBT people, however, have a few additional factors to consider. Those include: how tolerant an area is, the presence of a gay community, and healthcare providers that are welcoming towards LGBT people. Sadly, instances in which LGBT patients are treated poorly and same-sex partners are denied visitation rights or decision-making rights in hospitals and nursing homes are still all too common.
How can straight people benefit from a list of LGBT-friendly retirement cities?
First, most of the criteria used to select these cities are the same ones that are important to most retirees.
Second, a city’s acceptance of its LGBT citizens is a good indicator of how accepting it will be for people of all diverse demographics, such as ethnic minorities or religious minorities. Areas with rich diversity tend to offer more culinary choices and broader cultural offerings than areas with more homogenous populations.
I recently had the honor of contributing a guest post on this topic to TopRetirements. TopRetirements.com is the place to go for information about retirement communities throughout the United States and elsewhere in the world. Their wealth of collected information comes both from data and from their readers' real-life experiences. I have learned a lot simply by reading the comment threads to many of the site's articles.
Jump on over to this article on TopRetirements to discover ten great places for LGBT people - and everyone - to retire, and learn what makes them good choices.
For many years, Spain has enjoyed a reputation as a fantastic vacation destination. It’s warm climate, sunny Mediterranean beaches, history, art, and culture, as well as its friendly, easy-going, relaxed atmosphere, have delighted travelers for years.
More recently, Spain has emerged as a top-tier retirement choice. Let’s look at why.
If warm weather is your preference, you’ll find most of Spain to your liking, especially along the Mediterranean coast.
All along the Mediterranean coast, summers are hot but not oppressive. Malaga (a coastal city in the south) records average highs of 30oC (86oF) in summer. Temperatures rarely dip below freezing in Barcelona (at the north end of the coast), coastal cities farther south never experience freezing temperatures, and it never snows. ...continue reading "Fabulous Places to Retire: Spain"
[Editor's Note: An updated version of this article appears here.]
You are probably aware that the baby boomer generation (those born between 1946 and 1964) is now reaching the ages of 50-68, which means that we’re entering an era in which a lot of people are and will be retiring. According to Serena Worthington of the nonprofit Services & Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE), there are currently between 1.75 million and 4 million gays and lesbians over age 65. By 2030 that number is expected to nearly double.
Given these statistics, it seems reasonable to assume that there could be a boom in the need for LGBT retirement community options. Over the past ten years, many projects have started, but most never made it out of the planning stages. The recession and real estate bust that occurred in the late 2000s scuttled some projects. But the question still remains: how big is the need for LGBT-focused retirement communities, now and in the future?
When I polled readers of this blog in August, 2013, 30% of the respondents said they would seriously consider living in an LGBT retirement community, and 50% said they might consider it if the community was located in the area they were planning to move to anyway.