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Silenced: Older LGBTQ+ Members and Health Inequity

Many older LGBTQ+ members are facing health disparities, because "older LGBTQ community members grew up in a culture where having to be quiet about who they were was ingrained. This "habit of silence" disproportionately affects [their health] because they're less likely to talk about who they need and what kind of care they want. Providers need to know a patient's entire history (and who they truly are) to offer the best and most complete care. But for the LGBTQ+ community, it's still considered dangerous and scary to provide that information, which results in delayed care and higher rates of adverse health outcomes." Dr. Carey Candrian, associate professor in the Division of General Internal Medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and board member at GLMA: Health Professionals Advancing LGBTQ+ Equality.

Also, LGBTQ+ are less likely to have a relationship with their biological parents/siblings, due to lack of acceptance and are less likely to be married and/or have children. Therefore, they are more likely to face a reduction of overall support as they age, which means the lack of emotional support when facing a health crisis or someone to take care of them during a health crisis. A contributing factor in health disparity.

Overcoming the silence in Elder LGBTQ+ concerning health disparities will mean training and educating Community Based Organizations (CBOs), that serve this segment of the community to provide the expert health information they want and need. "To actually see a trans person or to see an aging person with HIV is critical in demystifying and destigmatizing the provision of health care for older LGBTQ people." Dr. Carey Candrian


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