Many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender older people report concerns about aging and retirement, according to the nonprofit group Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders. 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. The loneliness and isolation that can accompany aging is often compounded by discrimination and the fact that LGBT people are less likely to have children and may be ostracized by their families. Many seniors have to go back into the closet when they enter the senior care system.
The situation has improved in recent years, and there are now several supportive retirement communities for LGBT people. Here's a look at some of the LGBT-focused retirement homes and communities in the United States.
Fountaingrove Lodge in Santa Rosa, California, is a luxurious, full-featured LGBT retirement home. It's also a continuing care retirement community, 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.
Seashore Point in Provincetown, Massachusetts, offers studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom units for independent living. There's a wellness center on site. Should health needs arise, you can avail yourself of home health or companion services in your home, or take advantage of the professional rehab department.
Both Fountaingrove Lodge and Seashore Point offer a full schedule of activities, fitness center, restaurant-style dining, maintenance and housekeeping.
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 a 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, recently opened and currently has one- and two-bedroom apartments available. Amenities include a fitness center, meditation room, laundry facilities on every floor and a library.
If you are active and independent, you have several options for owning your own home in a 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 about 20 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 Resort on Carefree Boulevard in Fort Meyers, Florida, is a women-only community of manufactured homes and recreational vehicles .
Discovery Bay Resort is a small women-only development featuring small manufactured homes of about 400 square feet and RVs. It's located on the North Olympic Peninsula, about halfway between Sequim and Port Townsend, Washington.
The Pueblo is a women-only mobile home and RV park in Apache Junction, Arizona.
Stonewall Gardens is an assisted living facility for LGBT seniors 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.
In recent years, low-income retirement apartments that are friendly to LGBT seniors have opened in several major cities. These facilities are government-subsidized and require low income qualifications for entry. In most cases, rent is calculated on a sliding scale based on about 30 percent of the renter's income. Affordable facilities are in high demand, and most of them were filled via a lottery system prior to opening. Many are fully occupied and their waiting lists are usually lengthy. Apartment complexes include Triangle Square and Argyle Apartments in Hollywood, California, Spirit on Lake in Minneapolis, Minnesota, John C. Anderson Apartments in Philadelphia, Town Hall in Chicago, and 55 Laguna in San Francisco.
Several other low-income LGBT residential facilities are under construction, including North Park Senior Apartments in San Diego, California, Mary's House for Older Adults in Washington, DC, and Crotona Senior Residences and Ingersoll Senior Residences in New York. These housing options may help LGBT seniors to find a comfortable place to retire without fear of being ostracized or discriminated against.
Dave Hughes is the founder of Retire Fabulously.