Gay Seniors Fear Nursing Home Discrimination

A national survey done two years ago on the topic indicated that of about 770 gay seniors living in nursing homes, 43 percent reported some type of mistreatment by staff or fellow patients.

The most common complaint was abuse or harassment by other residents. This accounted for about 25 percent of all the problems faced by LGBT patients. This is not surprising, given that long-held attitudes and beliefs die hard. For many years, discrimination and harassment of gays and lesbians were the norm. Many people aren’t able to let go of those beliefs. The problem is, now they’re living side-by-side, and sometimes in the same room.

Additional problems included that about 20 percent of LGBT patients were abruptly discharged from their facility – a far higher rate than their straight counterparts.

A number also admitted verbal and physical harassment from staff, specifically pertaining to their sexual orientation.

What’s worse is that for many of them, the fact that they are gay has often served to isolate them from friends or family members. This is often a common thread in many abuse and neglect scenarios. With no one to closely watch after them, they are more vulnerable than their straight counterparts.

About 75 percent of LGBT respondents in another poll said they would likely hide their sexual orientation if they ended up in an institution.