In recent years, the country has become more and more accepting of the LGBT community, which directly impacts older adults who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force estimates that there are over three million LGBTQ seniors in the U.S. with that number doubling by 2030.
While LGBTQ retirees still face many challenges, there are a wide variety of LGBT-friendly senior living options across the country. Fortunately, the number of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender senior housing options is growing. And as the demand rises—and it should—even more LGBT communities will be built.
Below we’ll walk you through some of our top retirement communities and cities for LGBTQ elders.
LGBT Senior Challenges
- Many same-sex partners are denied visitation rights in hospitals and long-term care facilities.
An AARP study found that 61 percent of LGBT Americans ages 45 and over were concerned about experiencing physical or verbal harassment in a long-term care facility.1 Laws from state to state vary widely concerning LGBT people. For example, in Alabama there are no laws to protect against discrimination based on sexual orientation when it comes to housing, insurance, and employment.
In some senior living communities, LGBT older adults are openly discriminated against and/or ostracized.
One Journal of Palliative Medicine study found that nearly one in four senior health care providers had witnessed “inadequate, disrespectful, or abusive care” towards LGBT 2patients.[/citation/
- A UCLA study showed that senior gay and lesbian couples have higher rates of poverty than married heterosexual couples do.
Hurdling the Challenges
Changes are happening for the LGBT community, albeit in small increments. According to an article in Aging Today:
- “The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued a letter informing states of options to more equitably apply rules governing Medicaid liens, transfer of assets and estate recovery for same-sex spouses and domestic partners.”
- New HUD guidelines state that “staff members must ‘treat gender identity discrimination … as gender discrimination under the Fair Housing Act, and instructs HUD staff to inform individuals filing complaints about state and local agencies that have LGBT-inclusive discrimination laws.’ This means people who face gender identity discrimination can now file complaints directly with HUD.”
LGBT Senior Living Options
LGBTQ older adults want to live in areas that can provide meet their needs and provide comfort. As of today, not all cities in the US are LGBT-friendly, so it’s important to find a place where LGBTQ retirees can live comfortably without discrimination.
As the population of LGBTQ seniors continues to grow, more and more unique types of communities are created to accommodate their needs. For LGBTQ retirees who are looking for new living options, there is a wide range of choices for LGBT seniors to live freely without fear of discrimination. You can now find LGBT senior housing, gay senior living communities, gay nursing homes and much more.
LGBTQ Retirement Communities & Villages
One of the best ways to enjoy retirement is to buy a home or apartment in a retirement community or village. These locations are generally designed for those over the age of 55 (and in some cases, designated for those who are a part of the LGBT community or friendly with it). There are many outstanding options available here for seniors. For example, you can enjoy community amenities such as swimming pools, golf courses, clubhouses, and a variety of other onsite activities and features. It tends to be a friendly, upscale community where you can be yourself.
Assisted Living Communities
Those who live in an assisted living community typically need a bit of help from day to day. They may need help such as support for getting around, handling hygiene, and medication management. Though assisted living communities for LGBTQ individuals are available, you will find that many are not designated just for this need. Many are designed to welcome all people regardless of their sexual orientation. Still, some assisted living communities for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender seniors are available and can help you to feel comfortable and right at home.
Many seniors who are in need of assisted living can still live on their own with a bit of help. Sharing your home with your loved one – no matter their sexual orientation – is welcome in these locations. Take a closer look at those communities designed to make life a bit easier.
Nursing homes typically provide individual care for individuals who need more advanced medical support. You can choose a nursing home that is accepting of anyone, but most locations do not designate their location as specifically for those who are LGBT. Still, some are available and can help you to get the care you need. Many times, it is possible for seniors to obtain a private room that they share with a loved one. However, some nursing homes are meant to provide care for a single person. They can still be LGBT friendly, but they may not allow for more than one person to share a space.
For LGBTQ adults with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia, finding LGBT-friendly memory care is important. Dealing with memory loss is already difficult, but LGBTQ individuals with dementia face many additional challenges. When visiting local memory care facilities, ask if the staff has experience or extensive training to meet the specific needs of LGBT individuals with memory loss.
Here’s a look at the LGBT retirement communities in the country that respect and accept all seniors, no matter how they identify.
LGBTQ+ Retirement Communities and Cities
Of course, it is possible to retire and enjoy a high quality of life just about anywhere. However, there are some cities that are more encouraging of LGBT seniors. Though it is possible to find a top-quality LGBTQ senior living community in virtually any state, we encourage you to take a closer look at these locations in particular.
- Austin, Texas: This location is very diverse and liberal. The community has mild winters and very hot summers. It is a fantastic place to retire for music lovers and those who want the very best care in a modern community.
- Atlanta, Georgia: Another key community to consider is Atlanta. It has a strong cultural component including art and music. More so, this is the place to be for southern food, history, and fantastic entertainment.
- Phoenix, Arizona: With a number of senior living communities, including a handful of those that are over 55 plus areas, Phoenix is a warm-weather city for anyone looking to retire. It has lots of history, culture, and entertainment.
- Orlando, Florida: Everyone knows Orlando for its entertainment, but it is also a hot spot for retirement. The gay community is well established here and offers a wide range of entertainment options for seniors.
- Tampa, Florida: Yet another area to take a closer look at is Tampa. The warm weather and outdoor activities here are perfect. There are many amenities here, but also a strong presence of quality senior relaxation.
Many other locations exist that can meet your needs. This includes Salt Lake City, Utah, Columbus, Ohio, Aurora, Colorado, and Dallas, Texas. Keep in mind that just about any city can offer outstanding amenities here. Your goal, as a senior looking for an LGBT senior community, should be to look at the individual location carefully. Then, you can find a wide range of opportunities available to you in that city.
Some retirement communities have taken a variety of steps to help ensure that people, no matter what their preferences are, are given access to the highest level of care possible. We took the time to pull together some of the best LGBTQ retirement communities available. Each one of these locations is dedicated to providing individuals with the type of care they deserve and want. This is only a handful of the locations available throughout the United States. We encourage you to explore numerous locations before making a decision.
- Fountaingrove in Santa Rosa, California is one of the first community for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered seniors with its continuous class of services. It consist of spacious and well-designed apartments with an allotted patio and balcony for every unit owner. The kitchens are full-sized and equipped with high-end facilities and appliances. Fountaingrove lodge also have wide areas for fitness centers, a salon and day spa, gardens, swimming pools and as well as parking garage for residents. Its nearly perfect luxury living and environment is a bit expensive but it is truly good to be true.
- Seashore Point is located in the heart of Provincetown with its unique residential community for seniors from 55 years of age and over. It has a fresh and beautifully-designed houses with a convenient access to a full range of amenities and personal medical services. They offer a wide variety of floor plans. One-bedrooms and two-bedrooms can be chosen in every unit with a laundry room on the second floor. Seashore Point also features a classy restaurant-style with private dining rooms, a multipurpose function room with a large screen TV, a fully-equipped fitness center, a well-stocked library, a reserved parking for each resident and is a pet-friendly community.
- Carefree Cove known as the “High Country” is a lesbian and gay log home community in North Carolina where you can enjoy the beautiful view of Appalachian mountains. The community offers the natural assets with mountain views in a mature forest. Carefree cove also features a rural life with the relaxing sound of owls in the night along with the most beautiful night skies. Its amenities includes the clubhouse and trails for walking and biking.
- A Place For Us is a new LGBT housing community that recently opened after two decades of work located in the border of Cleveland and Lakewood. It consist of one and two-bedroom spacious apartments with an oriented and dedicated staffs that offers a 24-hour emergency maintenance. Amenities includes the business center, community room with kitchenette, controlled access buildings, fitness centers, a library, a provided laundry room on every floor, meditation rooms, spacious closets and fully-equipped kitchens with energy star appliances. A Place For Us is also a pet-friendly community which is perfect for retirees who loves to take care of pets.
- Spirit On Lake us an urban living located at the vibrant heart of Minneapolis, Minnesota that supports LGBT seniors. It is a 4-story frame building that consist of 46 units and an underground parking. Community amenities include laundry facilities, handicap units, fitness centers, indoor and outdoor pools, vintage buildings, playgrounds, clubhouse and car ports. Spirit On Lake also accepts housing vouchers from the government.
- Rainbow Vista is an LGBT-oriented retirement community located at the Gresham, Oregon with a community size of 100 to 999 units. They offer housing and many amenities at affordable prices such as theater rooms, guest rooms, billiard rooms, fitness centers, BBQ and grilling area, a library and a garden for the residents. The area is located in a scenic view with landscaped grounds and several patios along with the astonishing view of Mt. Hood. It also offers activities that include BBQs on the deck, lunches and monthly dinners at their local restaurants and a monthly movies in their very own theater rooms. They also allow the residents in taking care of pets inside the units as long as the responsibilities of the owners are met.
- Stonewall Gardens is an LGBT retirement community that supports the group of LGBT seniors. It is made up of 24 bungalow-style apartments with 3 different types which are the studio apartment, one-bedroom apartment and a shared deluxe studio apartment. Its class of services includes the 24-hour staffing to help the daily living activities of the residents, weekly housekeeping and linen service and the appartment ground maintenance. They also offers high-quality amenities such as cafe area, activity rooms with a large screen TV, serene courtyards, well-appointed seating areas, laundry rooms, guest dining options and common areas inside and out for different recreational activities and events.
- Discovery Bay Resort is a luxury hotel-style LGBT retirement community located in the downtown of Kelowna in British Columbia, Canada. It offers a stunning views of the city and the vibrant atmosphere of the Lake Okanagan. There are also miles of waterfront walkways and trails that offers a relaxing park-like setting. Community amenities include coffee shops, restaurants and as well as the live entertainment venues within the reach. Discovery Bay Resort also features an easy access to two pools and two hot tubs, sauna and fitness centers, clubhouses with pool tables, couches and a wide TV screen to relax and have fun.
- Stonewall Gardens in Palm Springs. California is the country’s first assisted living facility catering LGBT retirees. The community provides complete meals, on-site nurses, and a dedicated staff that works 24/7 to assists residents with daily living activities like dressing, feeding, managing medications, bathing and grooming.
- Birds of a Feather in New Mexico was founded in 2004 as a community for gays and lesbians. They dubbed this place the “Land of Enchantment” because they are just a few miles away from the beautiful Village of Pecos and art haven Santa Fe. Most of the lot owners and residents in the community prefer aging in place, while some work online in their homes as the community offers high speed internet for all its residents.
Aging has its own difficulties for every seniors, but lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered men and women are often lonely. Many of them face rejection and ridicule from family and friends. With the continuous growth and development of LGBT-oriented communities in today’s generation, it would truly be much easier for them to settle in a community where they can live freely without fear of discrimination throughout their golden years.