During Pride Month, the New York State Office for the Aging presents a new LGBTQ+ Resource Guide For Older Adults and Aging Services Networks.
The guide provides background on the unique service needs of LGBTQ+ older adults, along with a comprehensive statewide directory of over 200 organizations who specialize in LGBTQ+-inclusive services.
This statewide resource is designed for older adults and the providers who serve them. It identifies trusted organizations that provide a range of services and supports, from nutrition to legal advocacy, home and community-based care, long term care, health services, social supports, and so much more.
Over 5 percent of all New Yorkers, 3.8 percent of adults aged 55-64, and 2.3 percent of adults over the age of 65 openly identify as LGBTQ+. Studies have shown in recent years that despite various efforts made for civil rights and inclusion, LGBTQ+ older adults continue to face discrimination when seeking health or supportive services. A January 2021 report by AARP, SAGE (Services & Advocacy for GLBT Elders), and other advocates for LGBTQ+ older adults revealed several disparities:
- 23 percent of LGBTQ+ New Yorkers of all ages cite inadequate insurance coverage as the most significant barrier to health care.
- One-third of LGBTQ+ adults aged 50 and over live at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level, compared to a quarter of non-LGBTQ+ people.
- 21 percent of LGBTQ+ adults aged 50 and over have provided care to friends – three-and-a half times the 6 percent of non-LGBTQ+ peers.
- Poverty rates are even higher for LGBTQ+ older people of color, those aged 80 and older, bisexual older people, and transgender older people.
NYSOFA’s Strategic Plan for LGBTQ+ Older Adults
NYSOFA has incorporated questions to identify the needs of LGBTQ+ older adults within NYSOFA’s Comprehensive Assessment for Aging Network Community (COMPASS), our primary screening instrument. This screening process assists in developing client-centered planning to provide any one of the seven supportive services, including case management, home health aides, adult day care services, and home-delivered meals.
NYSOFA has also developed a strategic work plan to enhance services for LGBTQ+ older adults in New York State. This plan was drafted in coordination with the Association on Aging in New York State, AARP, and SAGE. It includes:
- Establishing a NYSOFA standing committee on LGBTQ+ Aging to identify challenges and barriers to service access and ways to mitigate them.
- Sharing of best practices and developing expert recommendations on an ongoing basis to improve the quality of life for LGBTQ+ adults age 50 and over.
- Work to increase the involvement of racially diverse LGBTQ+ populations representing stakeholder groups on the advisory councils and long-term care councils that local Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) are required to organize.
- The inclusion of efforts being undertaken to assist LGBTQ+ older adults into NYSOFA's four-year plan and AAA local planning and conducting quarterly stakeholder meetings to identify issues and best practices.
- Encouraging regular assessments of older LGBTQ+ adults’ needs that can be accomplished through surveys, focus groups, and collected as part of the mandatory community assessments which are required for the development of local four-year plans.
- Facilitating training of service providers on unique needs of LGBTQ+ older adults.