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.
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.
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.
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Town Hall in Chicago, Illinois
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
These low-income LGBT residential facilities are in various stages of planning or construction:
Mary’s House for Older Adults in Washington, DC
Crotona Senior Residences in New York City (Bronx), New York
The Residences at Equality Park in Wilton Manors, Florida
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.
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© 2020 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 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.
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.