AARP Survey Says Older LGBTQ Adults Are Worried

Posted on 06/14/22

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A new AARP national survey shows many LGBTQ adults age 45 and over have concerns about aging, with worries about having enough money in retirement, discrimination and a lack of family support topping the list. 

Nearly one-half (49%) of LGBTQ participants were either extremely or very concerned about having enough family and social supports to rely on as they age. More than half (52%) report being socially isolated, and 22% see a mental health professional for depression or anxiety. Most gay men reported that they are less likely to be married, less likely to have children or grandchildren and more likely to live alone, which could put them at greater risk of becoming isolated as they age. Almost two-thirds of the lesbian women in the research said they have a child or grandchild, compared to less than one-third of gay men.

“The realities of older LGBTQ adults are often invisible, but our research shows they are clearly worried about aging with dignity, especially when it comes to finances, discrimination and family and social support,” said Cassandra Cantave, AARP Senior Research Advisor. “It’s critical that we as a society address the unique challenges and disparities that older LGBTQ adults face so they can thrive throughout their lives.”

In addition to family and social supports, LGBTQ adults also reported concerns about their financial security as they age. The vast majority of respondents (85%) are at least somewhat concerned about having enough income or savings to retire, with highest concern among those who are age 45 to 54, Black, and transgender and nonbinary participants. While two-thirds of participants indicated they are in at least good financial health, 35% evaluated their financial situation as fair or poor. 

Older adults across all segments of the LGBTQ community have anxiety over discrimination and the negative impact it may have on them as they age. Most (85%) are at least somewhat concerned about sexual discrimination, while transgender and nonbinary adults are more worried with gender (86%) and gender identity (72%) discrimination.

AARP’s national survey, “Dignity 2022: The Experience of LGBTQ Older Adults,” was fielded online in November 2021. A total of 2,004 LGBTQ community members age 45 and over participated, including 926 cisgender gay and bisexual men, 770 cisgender lesbian and bisexual women and 308 transgender and nonbinary (TGNB) participants. The study oversampled Asian, African American/Black, Hispanic/Latino, and transgender and nonbinary participants.

AARP offers resources on aging for the LGBTQ community, including a guide to caregiving. Find more at AARP.org/pride.

This story is provided by AARP Colorado. Visit the AARP Colorado page for more news, events, and programs affecting retirement, health care, and more.

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