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As a society, we tend to put a lot of focus on the younger members of the LGBT+ community, and perhaps quite rightly. They are, after all, the next generation who will support and strengthen the community.
Many of us also want to spare the next generation from the challenges and harms we faced when we were younger – including widespread prejudice, health inequalities, isolation, and lack of support networks.
But it’s essential not to ignore the older members of our community too. Read on as we lay out the case for supporting our elders.
A wealth of experience
LGBT+ elders have plenty to offer our community. They can serve as role models of resilience, they’re experts by experience, and they can provide much-needed support to the younger generation.
Unfortunately, our elders also face their own risks and vulnerabilities.
Some of those issues are associated with age. Others, especially mental health issues, are often the result of being queer in a society that doesn’t always accept us.
Older adults are less likely to reach out for help from assistance programs in general. In the case of LGBT+ elders, they might also be hesitant to visit doctors because they have experienced discrimination from healthcare providers in the past.
Many LGBT+ elders also face isolation in a way their straight peers don’t. They may not have the same support systems to fall back on when times get hard.
No matter your age, then, it’s essential to support our elders in the LGBT+ community. Bolstering each other and ensuring all our needs are met will foster an even closer, stronger community, and will help keep older LGBT+ people happier and healthier for many years to come.
With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at some of the issues our elders face, and what can be done to help.