Two billion people will be 60 years or older by 2050, making up over 20% of the world’s population. A global rise in life expectancy combined with falling fertility rates has contributed “to the rapid ageing of populations around the world” (WHO Report on Ageing, 2015). Older LGBTQI people are one such population experiencing significant population growth, and face additional challenges throughout the ageing process globally.
As mentioned in this article, a study produced by SAGE, the United States’ oldest and largest organization serving older LGBTQI people, notes that one third of older LGBTQI people live alone and 40% expressed that their support networks decreased in size over the years. Additionally, a report by AARP and the National Alliance for Caregiving states that members of LGBTQI communities are more likely than the rest of the population to become caregivers for other adults.
Due to distrust of various social and medical institutions, the sexual orientation of many older people was kept secret from doctors, family and friends, shrinking their social networks even further. Many laws and institutional regulations make it difficult for individuals in non-married LGBTQI relationships to have a say in caregiving decision-making processes, with biological family members stepping in and excluding partners and friends.
The unequal treatment experienced by older LGBTQI people throughout the caregiving process is just one of many issues which negatively impact health and well-being as these communities age.
The IFA 14th Global Conference on Ageing (www.ifa2018.com) is focused on addressing inequalities, featuring a major sub-category on older LGBTQI people. Interested in learning more from IFA Experts who will be attending the Conference? Contact Dr Debra Whitman to learn more about the work of AARP in protecting vulnerable populations, Dr Marie Beaulieu for her expertise around isolation and caregiving experiences or Dr Jane Barratt to discuss the work of the IFA in advocating for the rights of older LGBTQI people globally.
Dr. Jane Barratt Secretary General
As Secretary General of the IFA Dr Barratt is an internationaly respected speaker on age related issues across the globe.
Dr. Debra Whitman Chief Public Policy Officer
Debra Whitman, PhD, is an economist and expert on aging issues with extensive experience in national policymaking and global research.
Prof. Marie Beaulieu Professor, School of Social Work
Marie Beulaieu is a professor at the department of social services of the faculty of letters and humanities of the Université de Sherbrooke.