When it is time for seniors to transition to the next phase of their lives, many older adults find this means it is also time to transition to a new living situation, or to consider an assisted living facility. While some seniors may hear the words "assisted living" and panic, an assisted living facility is much different than a nursing home. It doesn't mean they lose their independence and it doesn't mean that they are going to a hospital-like setting. In fact, many seniors describe it like living in college dorms, only the residents are just a little older.
As the baby boomer generation has continued to grow older, more and more new types of assisted living facilities are being created to accommodate the unique needs of this generation. The assisted living facilities of today are much different than those of the past. Today, these communities not only offer unique living options such as condos and apartments and all-inclusive amenities, but they often have very specific niches as well.
For lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender seniors who are looking for a new assisted living facility to call home, there are plenty of LGBT options available in today's market. In fact, more and more gay assisted living facilities are being built to accommodate the needs of today's seniors and to provide those in the LGBT community with a safe and welcoming place to live out their golden years.
A Social Community
One of the best things about assisted living communities is that they can help older adults maintain an active social life. In these niche assisted living communities, seniors can not only continue to maintain a healthy social life, but they can do so around their peers in an environment where they do not have to disclose or hide their true selves. Unfortunately, even in today's day and age, there are many seniors who feel uncomfortable or unwelcomed in traditional assisted living facilities, as some of their peers may not be as open to LGBT rights. This can perpetuate feelings of isolation and loneliness in some assisted living facilities instead of feelings of a strong community.
What is perhaps one of the most inspiring features of many of these facilities is that they still welcome straight seniors as well. There are some communities as Santa Fe-based Rainbow Vision that proudly boasts a mixed community of approximately 75% LGBT residents and 25% straight residents, further fostering the idea that assisted living facilities should be encouraging and welcoming to all individuals, no matter what their sexual orientation may be.
Just like any other assisted living facility, there is a great deal of emphasis on community in this facility. This facility, along with many other LGBT-friendly communities has activities, outings, clubs, games, live entertainment, exercise groups, arts and crafts and extras such as spas, restaurants and fitness centers. Together, thousands of straight and LGBT seniors come together to live in this beautiful hotel-like complex, designed with today's modern seniors in mind. The great news is, this particular assisted living facility is just one of many around the country that is open, welcoming and encouraging of LGBT members.
How LGBT Assisted Living Centers Help
For assisted living facilities such as Palm Springs' Stonewall Gardens, being LGBT-friendly is nothing new. In fact, if you were to visit the posh assisted living facility, you probably wouldn't even realize that it is any different than any other assisted living facility in the country, and that is the point. The goal of this facility, and many facilities like them, is to make sure the LGBT members don't have to step back into the closet just because they are transitioning to a new phase in their lives.
There are many community members who may feel understandably apprehensive about moving to a new assisted living facility after carving out their own life surrounded by other LGBT individuals and accepting individuals. With these assisted living facilities, seniors can move to a new home, access a new network of friends and neighbors and they don't have to worry about being accepted.
There are so many changes that seniors go through when they move from living independently to an assisted living community. There are some seniors that deal with serious issue with isolation, loneliness and depression during this phase in their lives. If their new assisted living facility isn't welcoming, encouraging and it doesn't promote social interactions, it can only increase the chances of any senior succumbing to these feelings and issues. It is important that seniors feel as though this transition is a positive one, not a negative one, and ensuring they are entering into a welcoming and supportive community is one of the best ways to do this.
Finding a LGBT Assisted Living Community
There are many areas of the world that offer multiple LGBT-friendly assisted living facility options. There are some communities that are more discrete about this and others that are much more open about their niche. There are also some areas of the country where LGBT community members may not be as welcomed. If seniors cannot find a specific LGBT assisted living facility in their area, this doesn't mean that there aren't great communities that will also welcome, include and protect LGBT community members.
As seniors start to look for an assisted living facility, it is important that they look for some of the signs that a community may be LGBT-friendly. Images of men with men and women with women on marketing materials is a great first sign. There are also many assisted living facilities that offer LGBT specific groups and activities underneath their roof, so make sure to browse the list of different offerings available in every facility. It is also a great idea to ask a specific assisted living facility about what they offer for their LGBT members. A great facility will have a quick response and a list of answers for you right away.
While there are still many areas of the country that are in need of LGBT assisted living facilities, it doesn't mean that there aren't great places for lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender seniors to live during this new and exciting time in their lives. There are resources and options out there, all seniors today need to do, is look for the right option for them.