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First-ever survey of LGBTQIA+ older adults cheered by senior living provider groups

Rainbow LGBTQI flag waving in the wind
(Credit: Alexander Spatari / Getty Images)

A planned first-ever statewide survey of LGBTQIA+ older adults in California is drawing cheers from senior living industry advocates.

Responses to the online survey, conducted by the California Department of Aging and a statewide coalition of LGBTQIA+ community-based organizations and research partners, will form a baseline data set to inform plans for tailored services, the CDA said in an announcement, which described the survey as “groundbreaking.”

“This is an opportunity for LGBTQIA+ older adults to share their perspectives, experiences, needs and priorities to help inform state policies and programs for older adults,” CDA Director Susan DeMarois said. “There’s no baseline data on the aging experiences and needs of older LGBTQIA+ Californians, so survey responses will help paint a current and comprehensive portrait of this community.”

Marina Servantez, LeadingAge California director of diversity, equity and inclusion and social impact initiatives, told McKnight’s Senior Living that the association is “excited” about the survey.

“We fundamentally believe in protecting the rights and freedoms of LGBTQIA+ older adults and their choice to age in places where they feel safe and supported,” she said. “We look forward to learning from the survey’s baseline data and adapting our efforts to better serve and advocate for the specific needs of all LGBTQIA+ older adults.”

Sally Michael, president and CEO of the California Assisted Living Association, said the group “applauds” the effort to gather baseline data on the experiences and needs of older LGBTQIA+ residents of the country’s most populous state.

“We are sharing this information with our member organizations so that they may disseminate the survey among their residents and team members,” she told McKnight’s Senior Living. “We look forward to the results of this initial survey and sharing the insights with the CALA membership.”

LGBTQIA+ older adults can use this link to participate in the online research, titled “Survey of LGBTQIA+ Older Adults: From Challenges to Resilience,” through March 31. The questionnaire is available in English, Spanish, Tagalog and Chinese. Participation is anonymous and is limited to California residents who identify as LGBTQIA+ and are aged 50 or more years, according to answers to frequently asked questions that is posted online.

Survey results will be gathered in support of the California Master Plan on Aging’s equity and inclusion goals and will enable more responsive and accessible services addressing health, mental health, housing, income, caregiving, food assistance and more, the CDA said.

“Studies have shown that LGBTQIA+ individuals face significant barriers to access healthcare, for example,” said Kathleen Sullivan, PhD, executive director of study partner Openhouse, a San Francisco-based LGBTQIA+ senior housing and services provider.

In addition to the CDA and Openhouse, partners in the survey effort include the Sexual and Gender Minority Health Equity Lab at the University of California, San Francisco; the Center for the Advanced Study of Aging Services at the University of California, Berkeley; and the Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society at UC Berkeley.

Source: McKnights Seniorliving

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