This article was brought to my attention through one of the Facebook group called Dementia Knowledge Exchange Global. I have a few other articles on this blog about LGBTQ issues in aging and in care, but haven’t yet focused on LGBTQ carers so this article is a great addition! It is the viewpoint of the author, David, as a gay man caring for his father and what he observes in this role. A good sociocultural piece on how LGBTQs can be stigmatized and overlooked, even when the issues aren’t about them.
Please note that I have edited some of the content to better fit with this blog; you can read the original article by clicking on the title. This article originally appeared on CaregiverRelief.com, a website that offers a host of information and support for carers, with a focus on dementia.
If you want to check out some of my related articles:
There’s a double-edged sword when it comes to LGBT people and caring.
First, LGBT people often fall into the carer role. Many caregivers, gay or not, will attest that when you don’t have children and/or a spouse, you tend to be elected mom’s or dad’s carer by your siblings. The idea is that you don’t have kids to look after, you don’t have a spouse to coo over, so “it’s just easier” for you to do it.
In some cases, these gay and lesbian carers are married. And they do have children. It’s just that their siblings and their relatives don’t legitimize them.
Time and again, I see many gay and lesbian people caring for mom or dad, grandma or grandpa, an aunt or an uncle, or even just a friend. And often, but not always, it’s because they’re flying solo.
When I first met other carers like myself, which really never happened until my dad went into a care home, I was shocked by the sheer number of “family” (as in “friends of Dorothy” as they say) that seemed to be all over the place.
And here’s the other side to the double-edge LGBT caring sword. Going back to being that person with no spouse, and no children, what does that mean for you when you get old?
It means you might be by yourself. Eighty percent of all carers are family members, statistics show. So who takes care of you if you have no family? (You can read about that in part II of my report on LGBT carers, coming soon.)
It’s a cruel, uncomfortable riddle increasingly coming to light and being addressed in communities from coast to coast, albeit slowly.
Family, friends either don’t care or don’t get it
In Baltimore, Chase Brexton Health Care has launched an initiative called SAGECAP. The initiative provides resources, education and support for informal, unpaid LGBT carers. It is modeled after a similar program in New York City. You can learn all about the SAGECAP program by clicking here.
The truth is, all carers need way more help than we’re getting. So what makes caring any harder for LGBT people?
Read the rest of this article here, on CaregiverRelief.com.
You can also find more information here:
Family Caregiver Alliance (another one of my go-to sources!!) Special Concerns of LGBT Caregivers
National (USA) Resource Center on LGBT Aging LGBT Caregiving Facts
Openhouse (housing, services, and community for LGBT seniors, based in San Francisco)