While lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender older adults have a range of lived experiences, many grew up during a time when homosexuality and gender variance was denounced and criminalized.
Many are at risk for social isolation, chronic stress, physical health, mental health issues, economic insecurity, and other negative health-outcomes due to past issues and continued challenges. Additionally, changes in aging policy and programming in the United States create new challenges that make it difficult to reach underrepresented elder communities like LGBT older adults.
New solutions have shifted towards community-level interventions that focus on many issues for an entire resident elder population and that are implemented at a larger geographic scale. Specific challenges include a lack of knowledge about diverse needs and an absence of evidence-based strategies for effectively reaching underserved populations. This is particularly concerning for the LGBT community because the needs of LGBT seniors have not been adequately addressed by many aging-oriented agencies and organizations and remain largely overlooked by many of the communities in which they live.
To address existing challenges confronted in research and practice, Dr. Molly Elizabeth Ranahan’s dissertation explored the relevance of community-level aging solutions to the experiences and concerns of older adults in the LGBT community in Erie County, New York. It focused on older adults from the LGBT community because their needs have been understudied; the capacity of community-level interventions is also a research gap within LGBT aging literature.
Molly Elizabeth Ranahan, PhD Urban and Regional Planning, UB, 2017
Journal of Community Practice