Page 40

NHCOA’s needs assessment identified many areas where policy, social, and scientific changes could improve the lives of Hispanic LGBT older adults. Policy makers can reform Social Security to provide full benefits to LGBT married couples in all states. Local, state, and federal government can take a stand by promoting civil rights for LGBT individuals and by facilitating access to available benefits, like Meals on Wheels. Educational reforms can dispel stigmas around sexual diversity and better equip health care providers to treat LGBT patients. Organizations that already serve LGBT communities can join the effort by empowering their older adult members and helping them take advantage of available economic opportunities. As the first “out” generation comes of age, researchers should turn their attention to this new wave of diverse older adults. It was widely acknowledged that there are no definite data in relation to the size and composition of the LGBT Hispanic community, and their needs have been largely undocumented.

RECOMMENDATIONS

I

n part because of the difficulties they face earlier in life, many Hispanic LGBT older adults show signs of resilience. There remain, however, many problems to be solved. Based on the areas of change proposed by the study participants, the following recommendations have been developed and directed towards policy makers, service providers and the public in general. 1. Social workers and other professionals who provide support to Hispanic LGBT older adults need to take a holistic approach to understanding each person’s circumstances and experience. The key areas to consider include:  Economic status  Eligibility for government benefits  Employment  Health  Housing situation  Immigration status  Language proficiency  Social and recreational needs  Discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity  Caregiving supports and definitions of “family” 2. Professionals should conduct active outreach whenever possible, since some LGBT Hispanic older adults may be reluctant to come forward and ask for available services. When conducting outreach, one should be aware of the diversity of the LGBT community and therefore the diversity of their interests and needs. Hence, different groups within the LGBT community may not be reachable at the same public venues. For example, as study 40

In Their Own Words: Hispanic LGBT Older Adults  

This report was created by the National Hispanic Council on Aging (NHCOA) in partnership with SAGE and sponsored by the Diverse Elder Coalit...

In Their Own Words: Hispanic LGBT Older Adults  

This report was created by the National Hispanic Council on Aging (NHCOA) in partnership with SAGE and sponsored by the Diverse Elder Coalit...

Advertisement