Gay Boomers More Concerned about Long-Term Care

A recent study has found that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) baby boomers have more concerns about long-term care in retirement than the general population.

Seventy-four percent of those surveyed in the MetLife study of LGBT baby boomers said they are afraid of not being able to care for themselves and 56% said they are concerned with being dependent on others. The survey also revealed that three-quarters of respondents expect to act as caregivers for someone else, but one in five respondents said they do not know who will take of them.

Men surveyed were more likely than women to be concerned with being alone (43% versus 36%), becoming sick or disabled (59% versus 50%) and losing the ability to care for themselves (76% versus 68%).

Another great concern particular to the LGBT group is that slightly more than a quarter (27%) said they believe they will face discrimination as they age. Less than half said they think health care professionals will treat them with “dignity and respect,” according to the study, which was also conducted by the Lesbian and Gay Aging Issues Network for the American Society on Aging. These fears of insensitive and discriminatory treatment are particularly strong among lesbians, with 12% saying they have absolutely no confidence they will be treated respectfully as they age.

Fifty-one percent of all LGBT boomers, and women in particular, have yet to complete their will, living will or other similar legal directive, an implication further pronounced by the fact that LGBT couples and families currently lack legal protection, according to the authors of the study.

A 2005 survey by MetLife found that LGBT Americans in the same generation groups are particularly likely to worry about their later years (41%), compared to 33% in the heterosexual population.

Other findings of the study included:

  • Sixty-percent of women and 55% of men surveyed are worried about outliving their income in retirement;

  • Gay and bisexual men reported managing finances slightly more often than the women (50% vs. 45%);

  • Lesbian women are more concerned than gay men about their financial stability as they age and report being less financially prepared for retirement than gay men;

  • Lesbian women are notably less likely to have purchased long-term care insurance;

The online survey of 1,000 self-identified LGBT individuals, ages 40 to 61 was conducted by polling firm Zogby International in 2006.

The full copy of the study is here.