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. Many seniors feel they need to go back into the closet when they entered the senior care system.
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.
While the situation has improved in recent years, there is still a demand for supportive retirement communities for LGBT people. Here are the LGBT-focused retirement communities and homes that are currently operating in the United States.
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 a few 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 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, but they have apparently emerged and the community still exists.
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 offers one- and two-bedroom apartments. Amenities include a fitness center, meditation room, laundry facilities on every floor, and a library.
Living Out in Palm Springs, California broke ground in late 2021 and expects to open for move-in in March, 2023. Living Out will offer 122 luxury apartments on more than 9 beautifully landscaped and amenity-appointed acres, within walking distance of Palm Canyon Drive. Reservations are being accepted now.
Village Hearth Cohousing in Durham, NC is the first 55+ cohousing community in the USA created by and for LGBTQ people and their friends and allies. There are 28 homes in 4-unit buildings and a common house, on 15 wooded acres.
Mobile Home / Manufactured Home / RV Parks
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. No contact information is available.
The Pueblo is a women-only mobile home and RV park in Apache Junction, Arizona. They don’t have a website, but the Pueblo Home Owners Association has a Facebook page.
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. Fountaingrove Lodge offers a full schedule of activities, fitness center, restaurant-style dining, maintenance, and housekeeping. I toured Fountaingrove Lodge; you can read about that here.
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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.
The Connie House, in Boynton Beach, Florida, is a home in a residential neighborhood with four semi-private bedrooms. It’s staffed 24 hours a day, and all meals and services are provided.
Low Income Subsidized Housing
Low-income retirement apartments for LGBT seniors have opened in several major cities. These facilities are government-subsidized and require low income qualifications for entry. In many cases, rent is calculated on a sliding scale based on a percentage of the renter’s income. Affordable facilities are in high demand, and most of these places were filled via a lottery system prior to opening. They are fully occupied and their waiting lists are usually full or closed. The demand clearly exceeds supply.
Triangle Square in West Hollywood, California
John C. Anderson Apartments in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
55 Laguna in San Francisco, California
North Park Senior Apartments in San Diego, California
Stonewall House (formerly Ingersoll Senior Residences) in New York City (Brooklyn), New York
Crotona Pride House in New York City (Bronx), New York
Bay Shore Senior Residences in Bayshore (Long Island), New York
These low-income LGBT residential facilities are in various stages of planning or construction:
Mary’s House for Older Adults in Washington, DC
The Residences at Equality Park in Wilton Manors, Florida
The Pryde in Boston
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.
Please feel welcome to comment below.
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© 2021 Dave Hughes. All rights reserved.
Originally published on November 16, 2016, reprinted from my blog on U.S. News – On Retirement.
Updated in February, 2018 to add a couple of links.
Updated on August 23, 2019 to update links, remove Argyle Apartments in Los Angeles and add Village Hearth Cohousing in Durham, NC and The Residences at Equality Park in Wilton Manors, FL.
Updated on October 20, 2020 to update links, remove Seashore Point (Provincetown, MA) and Spirit on Lake (Minneapolis, MN), and move Village Hearth Cohousing (Durham, NC) to open.
Updated on October 2, 2021 to add Bay Shore Senior Residences.
Updated on December 9, 2021 to add Living Out apartments and reformat the article into subheadings for housing categories.
Updated on August 16, 2022 to add The Pryde. Moved Crotona Pride House to open. Removed Town Hall in Chicago, as it appears to be no longer LGBT-centric.
Updated on May 7, 2023 to add The Connie House.
Dining room and piano: Dean Harman. Some rights reserved.
People in dining room: Fountaingrove Lodge. Used by permission; all rights reserved.
Two men having a conversation: Daniel Coy. Some rights reserved.
We would love to be included in your list of fabulous LGBTQ+ active senior communities. We are Living Out, Palm Springs and we have just begun construction on our community that will be ready for move-in March, 2023. Living Out will be 122 luxury apartments on more than 9 beautifully landscaped and amenity-appointed acres with everything you can imagine, including: bocce courts, swimming pool and spas, putting green, dog park, outdoor dining and BBQ locations, movie theatre, restaurant and piano bar, fully-equipped gym, etc., etc., etc. An amazing community within walking distance of Palm Canyon Drive, where everything happens in historic Palm Springs.
Check us out at http://www.livingout.com.
Thanks for bringing Living Out to my attention. I have added it to the article.
I was wondering if the Palms of Manasota is still an active gay retirement village. How do I find information about it?
Thank you for your help.
The Palms of Manasota appears to be alive and well, at least according to their website: https://palmsofmanasota.net/.
There are currently no homes for sale there, but there is a contact form and a phone number on the website, so I’m sure they would be happy to answer any questions you may have.
Any international tips, Dave? Thank you for the good work.
In terms of established LGBT+ communities or apartments, the are a couple I’m aware of, but they are in countries that are very difficult for US citizens to immigrate to.
In Australia, there’s Linton Estate, about an hour west of Melbourne. There are two facilities for “aging care”: Lifeview Marigold in Melbourne (under construction) and Parkwood on the Gold Coast (Queensland). Sadly, it’s now practically impossible for retired people to immigrate to Australia.
The only other place I’m aware of that is up and running is an apartment building in Stockholm. I believe it’s government-supported, so it is probably not open to non-Swedish citizens. Last time I checked on it, it was full with a waiting list, and it’s not easy for a retiree to immigrate to Sweden anyway. And it’s expensive. So I don’t list this one.
I found this page on Wikipedia which lists “gay villages” around the world: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_gay_villages. These aren’t LGBT retirement communities, per se, but at least it gives you an idea of friendly areas.
There’s a lengthy section in my book “The Quest for Retirement Utopia” that deals with retiring overseas (in general), and another section that covers LGBT-friendly countries.
Good luck in your search!
Similarly, LGBT seniors who age in place have had to cross their fingers that their home health aides will treat them respectfully.
Yes – good point.
Hopefully, you would have some options for recourse here. You could report the disrespectful treatment to the agency the aide works for and ask for someone else. Although in some areas, there is a shortage of home health aides.
In any case, this is something you shouldn’t have to deal with at all.
Please send me phone number or materials 0n low income gay senior housing options for : Treasure Island, St. PETERSBURG, Madeira Beach and Seminole. Interested in trailer homes and apertment rentals. I want to move from Minnesota to Fla.0
I don’t believe there are any.
I hear Lowe’s City Mobile Home Park in St. Petersburg has a number of gays there.
Thanks for the tip. Lowe’s City isn’t specifically an LGBT+ focused community, but it’s good to know that some LGBT+ people live there.
I’m planning to retire to The Village just North of Tampa, Florida. It has a Rainbow Group that has dances, dinners, trips, parties and friendly interaction. I have quite a few gay and lesbian friends who have retired there and they love it. There is also a gay church service on sundays. They have single homes, town homes, villas and condos. They also have care from independent to 3 levels of assisted living. You only pay for what you use. The fee for the golf course is optional as well. Pools, tennis, golf etc. Reasonable and nice. I was impressed when I went to visit. It started out as a mobile home park and has become a totally independent city of its own with all the amenities. Another interesting place is a town called New Port Richey which is about 15 or 20 miles west of The Village. It is “gay friendly” and It has a Metropolitan Community Church (MCC), a gay bar for all ages (low key) and a gay restaurant and lounge but non gays are welcome and seem to blend well. It is VERY reasonably priced and rather charming with the brick buildings and northern style homes. As gays move in the downtown area is being restored to the old style street lights and trees etc. You know how we are!!!!! It is about 10-15 miles above Clearwater, Fla and close to the water, It has quaint parks and bridges and such. It is a small community and the people seem open minded. Some parts of it seem frozen in time with the white picket fences and well kept houses.
Good medical care in both places and I-75 is not far away to get into Tampa or other parts of Florida….4 hours to Miami or Ft. Lauderdale if you enjoy the gay cruises. The Rainbow Club gets discount rates for the cruises and usually go as a group. Oh – and of importance it is only 4 hours to the fountain of youth in the oldest city in the U.S. — Lots to see and do in Florida—more than most people realize.
Top of The World which Dave (above) mentioned is in Clearwater–about 30-35 minutes away from both The Village and New Port Richey.
Thank you for your comment! I am quite aware of The Villages, and I’m glad to hear that they offer this much for the LGBT residents. I will be very interested to hear more about your experience once you actually start living there.
The focus of this article is places that cater specifically to LGBT retirees, but I am always interested to know more about which “mainstream” retirement communities are welcoming of LGBTs.
Enjoyed reading this article. I can suggest another location – where I live. It is not an LGBT only community. Instead, a group of us (LGBT) live in a regular senior community which we have “colonized.” Many 55+ communities have good prices for housing. They are located in desirable locales and have nice facilities. So we decided to join ’em. We live in a large condo community in Clearwater, FL. Over the years, the straight seniors here have gotten an education about living with us. We have changed a lot of minds and attitudes on all sides – ourselves included. And this place has gone from gay foreign to gay friendly. To find out more about our community, go to http://lambdaclearwater.blogspot.com
I’m glad you have found On Top of the World to be a welcoming place. Many of the larger 55+ communities have clubs of all sorts, so it’s not surprising that there will be LGBT clubs at some places. I know there is one at The Villages and in Sun City, AZ.
Thanks for writing.
We are a Gay male couple legally married. And together for 40 years.
We are in the process of trying to find a safe Gay Friendly place to live out our lives together.
We currently live in NYC and Pa. We own 2 homes and are mortgage and debit free. and decided to do some research regarding we we plan on living out our lives together. As an accepted part of the Senior Gay community.
We need all the information you can supply regarding the above mention needs.
Congratulations on being together for 40 years and for being so financially well-prepared for retirement.
The places listed in this article are the only LGBT-specific retirement communities and facilities in the U.S. that I am aware of. For the best cities for LGBT people to retire in, please visit this article I wrote for TopRetirements.com: http://www.topretirements.com/blog/lgbt-retirement/ten-great-retirement-places-for-lgbt-people-and-everyone.html/.