Another policy that service organizations can implement to help LGBT older adults is data collection of sexual orientation and gender identity measures of adults who utilize organization services. The feasibility of service organizations or service providers collecting sexual orientation and gender identity measures is highly debated, particularly in the healthcare setting (IOM, 2013; Cahill et al., 2016). Questions arise around provider competency and comfort in asking sexual orientation and gender identity questions, client’s willingness to disclose such information, and even more damaging, whether simply asking about sexual orientation and gender identity would cause clients to delay or avoid healthcare (IOM, 2013). While examples of these situations exist, there are also many examples of healthcare service providers successfully collecting and storing sexual orientation and gender identity questions in electronic health record systems and of appreciation from LGBT individuals for being asked about their sexual and gender identity (IOM, 2013). Provider training, technical assistance from software vendors, and LGBT client training and education on why and how to best collect, store, and use LGBT data needs to happen for successful data collection by service organizations (Cahill et al., 2016; IOM, 2013). Though several measures to ensure confidentiality and remedy of disclosure would need to be in place to protect LGBT older adult identities, collecting service data can inform program managers and organizations of the prevalence and characteristics of LGBT older adults and their needs as well as identify any healthcare disparities based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Finally, LGBT older adults need additional support systems. Many LGBT older adults may not have the time to wait for traditional service organizations to provide support (MAP & SAGE, 2010). Rather, policy makers need to think of alternative solutions to support this population. Programs such as “Share the Care”, volunteer based networks composed of older adults’ family, friends, neighbors or other informal networks who provide support during times of crisis, have proven helpful to many LGBT older adults (MAP & SAGE, 2010). Share the Care has been mobilized in small, non-urban areas that have a sizable number of LGBT people. Such support systems have provided intergenerational support to older adults (MAP & SAGE, 2010) and would allow the burden of caregiving to be shared among a larger community.
Published on Sep 21, 2016
This report is a review of existing literature of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) older adults and provides recommendations f...