Assisted-living and the LGBT community

As the baby boomer generation has continued to grow older, more and more new types of assisted living facilities are being created to accommodate the unique needs of this generation. The assisted living facilities of today are much different than those of the past. Today, these communities not only offer unique living options such as condos and apartments and all-inclusive amenities, but they often have very specific niches as well.

For lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgendered seniors who are looking for a new assisted living facility to call home, there are plenty of LGBT options available in today’s market. In fact, more and more gay assisted living facilities are being built to accommodate the needs of today’s seniors and to provide those in the LGBT community with a safe and welcoming place to live out their golden years.

Unfortunately, there are many seniors who feel uncomfortable or unwelcomed in traditional assisted-living facilities, as some of their peers may not be as open to LGBT rights. This can perpetuate feelings of isolation and loneliness in some facilities instead of feelings of a strong community.

There are many community members who may feel understandably apprehensive about moving to a new facility after carving out their own life surrounded by other LGBT individuals and accepting individuals. With these facilities, seniors can move to a new home, access a new network of friends and neighbors, and they don’t have to worry about being accepted.

There are so many changes that seniors go through when they move from living independently to an assisted-living community. Some seniors deal with serious issue with isolation, loneliness and depression during this phase in their lives. If their new facility isn’t welcoming, encouraging and it doesn’t promote social interactions, it can only increase the chances of succumbing to these feelings and issues.

It is important that seniors feel as though this transition is a positive one, not a negative one, and ensuring they are entering into a welcoming and supportive community is one of the best ways to do this.

Manyy areas offer multiple LGBT-friendly assisted-living facility options. There are some communities that are more discrete about this and others that are much more open about their niche. There are also some areas of the country where LGBT community members may not be as welcomed. If seniors cannot find a specific LGBT assisted-living facility in their area, this doesn’t mean that there aren’t great communities that will also welcome, include and protect LGBT community members.

As seniors start to look for a facility, it is important that they look for some of the signs that a community may be LGBT-friendly. Images of men with men and women with women on marketing materials is a great first sign. There are also many facilities that offer LGBT-specific groups and activities under their roof, so make sure to browse the list of offerings available in every facility. It’s also a great idea to ask a specific facility about what they offer for their LGBT members. A great facility will have a quick response and a list of answers for you right away.

While there are still many areas of the country that are in need of LGBT assisted-living facilities, it doesn’t mean there aren’t great places for LGBT seniors to live during this new and exciting time in their lives. There are resources and options out there, all seniors today need to do, is look for the right option for them.

Lori Thomas, who wrote this article, is an associated editor of