Study finds aging harder for LGBT people

SAN FRANCISCO | Aging is harder for LGBT people according to findings from an ongoing project, LGBTQ Nation reports.

“Aging with Pride: National Health, Aging and Sexuality/Gender Study,” a federally funded, ongoing study operated by the National LGBT Health and Aging Center, found higher rates of disability and mental distress among older LGBT people vs. their straight counterparts, a higher incidence of cardiovascular disease and obesity in older lesbian and bi women and a higher incidence of poor physical health and living alone for older gay and bi men, LGBTQ Nation reports.

Researchers are studying the lives of 2,450 LGBT participants ranging in age from 50-100. Many have faced serious adversity, with 68 percent experiencing verbal harassment, and 43 percent facing threats of violence. Many also report a lack of access to care, including 22 percent of older transgender people not being able to afford medical care, while 21 percent of all respondents not disclosing their sexual or gender identity to their doctor, LGBTQ Nation reports.

“We’ve found a constellation of high-risk factors, including a history of victimization and not getting access to the services they need,” said Dr. Karen Fredriksen Goldsen, one of the primary researchers for the study quoted in a release from the American Heart Association.

The project was funded via a federal grant from the National Institute of Health and the National Institute on Aging and is a collaboration of 17 community agencies serving older LGBT people across the U.S., LGBTQ Nation reports.

The agencies involved cut across a broad swath of demographics, allowing the project to look deeper into disparities amongst specific subgroups in the community. For example, older LGBT African-Americans are more likely to deal with obesity and high blood pressure, while older LGBT Asian/Pacific Islanders face a higher incidence of visual impairments, LGBTQ Nation reports.

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