Creating Visibility: Considering LGBT Older Adults in the Canadian Caregiving Context

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Watson, Haley

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University of Guelph


Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) older adults are at a greater risk of physical and mental illness when compared to heterosexual/cisgender older adults, largely due to stigma and discrimination. LGBT older adults may also avoid or delay seeking care from formal healthcare systems due to historical discrimination, increasing the demand on informal caregivers as this population continues to age. The current study aimed to explore LGBT older adults’ (aged 65+) experiences with informal caregiving and healthcare services, contributing to the gap of Canadian research on this topic. The data of 50 participants were gathered using an online mixed methods survey and then analyzed using descriptive statistics and content analysis. The results indicate that LGBT older adults have unique needs in healthcare environments, especially in regard to their interactions with care providers. Participants had robust social networks, many of which contained other LGBT members with whom informal caring duties could be shared; however, the anticipated need of formal healthcare services remained. As LGBT older adults continue to age and subsequently may rely on more formal services, translating these results into policy and practice to improve their experiences is of utmost importance.



LGBT older adults, informal caregiving, healthcare services