Never Too Late - January/February 2024

Visibility Matters

Aging LGBTQ+ People at Greater Risk for Heart Disease: It’s Not Inevitable

Aging with Pride

By Sarah Bahnson , LGBTQI+ Initiatives Specialist According to the Centers for Disease Control, heart disease is the leading cause of death for people 65 and older. LGBTQ+ older people experience even higher rates of heart disease because they are more likely to be overweight, smoke, report depression, and are less engaged in medical care, making disease progression more pronounced when care is received. Social factors such as stigma and discrimination compound these health risks and create health imbalances within the LGBTQ+ community. A Lambda Legal 2014 report shows more than half of LGB people and 70% of trans and gender nonconforming people report experiencing discrimination from health care providers. Trans and nonbinary people today are more likely to experience bias from their medical providers and are more reluctant to So. AZ Senior Pride celebrating, supporting and uniting LGBTQI+ older adults (520) 312-8923; There are many events each month, so check out our website: Masks now optional for all in-person, indoor events engage in medical care. Incidents ranging from abusive language to denial of care from healthcare providers mean LGBTQI+ people are not receiving needed quality health care. To address gaps in healthcare for LGBTQI+ people, specialized training and

On-going events: Advance registration required to attend: GBTQI+ Mens Loss Group ; weekly on Tuesday; 1:30–3pm; in-person LBTQI+ Women’s Grief Support ; weekly on Monday; Noon-1:30pm; in-person Gayme Day; second Tuesday; 1–3pm; in-person experienced or anticipated, causes many LGBT older people to delay necessary doctor visits, medical procedures, or to avoid care entirely. LGBT older adults are five times less likely to access services for seniors, as reported by SAGE. For those that do seek out medical care, many are not out to their doctor. 40% of LGBT older people, ages 60-75, say their healthcare providers don’t know their sexual orientations, impairing the quality of healthcare received. (SAGE) The cumulative impact of a lifetime of stress from discrimination, lack of appropriate medical care, and higher rates of negative outreach are necessary. Pima Council on Aging offers the Visibility Matters Program, which includes a range of training options designed to meet the needs of any community aging care provider. Attendees of Visibility Matters trainings will learn foundational information about LGBTQI+ communities, particular vulnerabilities to look out for, and tools to make care more responsive and respectful. Recommended for in-home caregivers, medical providers, dementia care experts, staff and peers at residential facilities, ombudsman, and anyone involved in aging care. Fear of discrimination, whether

Book Club ; third Wednesday; 2–3:30pm; via Zoom Gathering in Himmel Park ; third Saturday; time varies; in-person Walk and Roll ; Enjoy an outdoor activity with friendly people; third Monday; time varies; in-person Community Potluck ; last Saturday; Noon-1:30pm; in-person health outcomes for LGBT older people is not inevitable. Historic discrimination has certainly contributed to the health disparities present for aging LGBTQI+ people. However, there are available resources to improve healthcare services and bridge the gaps caused by mistrust in providers. Visibility Matters is a great way to begin shaping programs and services to include LGBTQI+ older adults and their families. To schedule a training or learn more about the Visibility Matters Program contact us at

Page 30 | January/February 2024, Never Too Late

Pima Council on Aging

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