Special Considerations for Senior LGBTQ Clients
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The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force estimates three million LGBTQ elders live in the United States. As Baby Boomers age, that number will grow. For many LGBTQ older adults, a lifetime of employment discrimination and other factors contribute to disproportionately high poverty rates, according to the National Consumer Law Center. However, despite that, some LGBTQ seniors have been financially successful and some may be your clients.
Here are some issues senior LGBTQ clients face and how you can help them.
Discrimination in care facilities likely mirrors society-wide discrimination, adding to the difficulties any aging person must face in deciding where to live and how to receive care in a dignified way. There may be no one to take on the task of caregiving. Family may have rejected them or disowned them due to their gender identity.
LGBTQ seniors may fall into the category sometimes called "elder orphans," those without family to attend to them as they age. They may not have an appointed trusted contact, or the ones appointed may no longer be available or willing to serve in the capacity of an attorney-in-fact on a durable power of attorney document or as an agent on an advance healthcare directive.
What can a financial advisor do in such situations?
Your client may or may not be married and may or may not have a supportive family or a community. Many who identify as LGBTQ are childless, leaving them without concerned offspring who might normally take them in or attend to their care needs as they age. The advisor can look ahead, which is what your job requires, and do your research to protect your older client in his or her special circumstances. The usual way of planning for retirement may not be feasible. Your research may need to include whether the area in which your client lives has services and friendly places to go when the need for care arises. You may need to direct your client to move to a place where suitable care is available without forcing them to go back “in the closet” just to get needed assistance.
First, consider that financially successful LGBTQ clients who need some care in their daily lives with aging may not be comfortable in just any nearby assisted-living facility or with any home care provider agency. Discrimination and ignorance will prevail, as they do in the larger society,unless a particular effort is made to create services and locations that are LGBTQ friendly.