What the Long-Term Care Equality Index 2021 Reveals About LGBTQ Inclusion in Senior Care Settings

Sage report - LGBT seniorsWhile any older adult looking for long-term care will certainly have questions and concerns about a facility, LGBTQ older adults seeking care face additional concerns and barriers.

SAGE and the Human Rights Campaign Foundation partnered on the Long-Term Care Equality Index (LEI) project, and they have just released the first Long-Term Care Equality Index. This project works to promote equitable and inclusive care for LGBTQ older adults, helping to ensure that long-term care settings are welcoming and inclusive of the LGBTQ population.

Why the Equality Index Matters to Senior Care Communities

Like all residents, LGBTQ seniors also have concerns and questions when seeking out a senior care community. But LGBTQ seniors face additional challenges, particularly the fear of being discriminated against or of being rejected and not being able to get the care they need.

According to the report, 67% of LGBTQ older adults have expressed concern about having the social support that they need to rely on while aging. They are less likely to have children or partners, meaning they’re more likely to need to seek out support from other sources, like senior living communities.

The LGBTQ population still faces discrimination, with half of all LGBTQ older adults living in states where it is legal to deny them housing and public accommodation access. With the lack of federal anti-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people, fear of how they’ll be treated in a long-term care setting is real and common.

An AARP study revealed that more than 60% of survey participants had fears of receiving limited care, being verbally or physically harassed, or of even having to hide their identity in senior care.

How the LEI Helps

According to the report, “the LEI encourages and helps residential long-term care communities to adopt policies and best practices that provide culturally competent and responsive care to LGBTQ older adults.” It uses these benchmarks to measure LGBTQ inclusion:

  • Foundational policies and practices, like a written resident non-discrimination policy and employee policy
  • Resident services and support like inclusive intake forms and staff training
  • Employee benefits and policies like domestic partnership benefits and Pride month celebrations
  • Resident and community engagement like LGBTQ-inclusive marketing

Communities that choose to participate in the LEI will have access to a free online self-assessment tool that helps them to identify which benchmarks they’ve already established and which they need to work toward. This is the first edition of the Long Term Care Equality Index report, and 78 long-term care community organizations signed the Commitment to Caring Pledge, while 49 communities completed a self-assessment.

The report highlights the efforts that some of the participating communities are already taking to improve their LGBTQ equality.

How to Participate in the LEI

If you would like to improve your community’s LGBTQ inclusion, you can participate and be included in the 2023 Long-Term Care Equality Index Report. By participating, you’ll have access to education and resources, technical assistance, and best practices. Your facility can be publicly recognized as a leader in providing LGBTQ-welcoming services, which can be a powerful way to differentiate yourself from competitors.

Participating the LEI may help to strengthen your community, increase your inclusiveness, and help you to better serve your current and future residents. Skilled nursing, assisted living, independent living, memory care facilities, and more are eligible to participate.

Topics: Administration , Featured Articles , Policy , Resident Care