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Frequent Social Butterfly
Posts: 261
Registered: ‎05-04-2011

Re: Any LGBT caregivers out there? Or caregivers to LGBT folks?

Message 1 of 19 (448 Views)

Hi Andy!  So glad you wrote and introduced yourself!

It's almost 7 in the morning here in Eastern Oregon, 59 degrees and dry, as i live in the Oregon Outback as it is called, also known as high desert. It will be in the upper 80s but always cooler in the shade. I live with my 70 year old partner out here, and she has MS, although she is very healthy, and a part time ranch hand. If you ever have an organic, grass fed free range hamburger in Portland....  I'm 58 and  have my own health problems mostly related to my diabetes. So we'll see who lives longest.

             Has your partner applied for social security disability? He is certainly eligible. His income would not be the same as yours, but it WOULD be income. 

             I am so glad you have found sobriety. Praise be to the higher power. My partner is a black belt member of alanon, having had 3 alcoholic husbands before she figured out she is gay (late bloomer!). We've been together 7 years. BTW, happy anniversary! 23 years is impressive!!

             I'm glad you keep going to your group/volunteer place which makes you happy and pays it all forward. You need that for sure.

             Have you tried enlarging your caregiving circle?  To other friends, family, members of a faith community, friends of his of long standing? Getting some sort of schedule where, say, "Ed" shows up once a month to watch old movies together so you can get 3 hours off.... I recently bought on DVD a double feature of Le Cage Aux Folles, and the remake with Robin Williams. What a hoot. I laughed again so hard i felt like i'd done sit ups. Which i need to do!

           Very glad you're here. Write more!  We who are queer caregivers salute you!

           Jane

           who isn't in the middle of nowhere but can see it from here....

Info Seeker
Posts: 2
Registered: ‎08-07-2017

Re: Any LGBT caregivers out there? Or caregivers to LGBT folks?

Message 2 of 19 (451 Views)

Hi! My name is Andy and I am 52 and gay and caring for my partner who is 50 years old. We have been together for 23 years (today) and I can tell you we have we seen some good times, and recently some pretty bad ones. About 10 or so years ago my partner became disabled with a rare neuroligical disease and things seem to just have become worse and piled-up sinc. He was able to recover from the disease but soon began to have additional problems, one after the other. He hadn't been working for some years before it all started and has not worked since. I have been our sole financial provider for over 15 years and have been sole caregiver since 2006.

 

We both drank heavily most of our lives and decided to get sober about 6 months apart, roughly 7 years ago. I stayed sober and he relapsed after about 5 years, about 2 years ago. His drinking finally caught up with his liver and it failed at the beginning of this year.

 

The liver failure caused a "leaky" right heart valve which caused high blood pressure in the lungs, stalling the liver transplant evaluation that was already underway. The liver doctors will not evaluate for transplant unless they know he will be "operable", and he will not be operable until the lung and heart situation are stabalized.

 

That was six months ago and my partner has been home for the last 4 months and is on several medications to keep his liver functioning and his system compensating, while the doctors try to bring down the pressure in the lungs. We entered my partner into a medical trial for additional medicine for the lung problem in hopes of getting better care and that it may heal the problem quicker.

 

It has been a rough time caring for and watching someone who is gradually becoming less able to care for themselves despite all my best efforts. It is exhausting and frustrating and sometimes downright depressing.

 

I have a full-time job as a technical professional and I also spend a good portion of my free time giving back to the communiity that has freely given me my sobriety. I am thankful that the powers that be decided it was just the right time for me to be a sober friend to my partner. I am grateful for the higher-power that I found on my journey and for the fellowship and support that comes along with it.

 

Nevertheless, the feelings of inadequacy, guilt, anger, fear and uncertainty remain! I am putting all my efforts into caring for my partner and none into caring for my physical and mental health. I put the rest of my efforts into my job and volunteer work, which leaves little time for myself. I could cut back on the volunteer time but that is often the only bright part of my day. I am saying all this not to garner sympathy but just as a way to introduce myself and my situation, and state of mind. I am willing to take all advice and also willing to share my experience, strength and hope with whomever will listen.

 

Thanks for listening and I look forward to talking to you all!

Info Seeker
Posts: 4
Registered: ‎01-10-2009

Re: Any LGBT caregivers out there? Or caregivers to LGBT folks?

Message 3 of 19 (526 Views)

Jane,

 

Are you in Eastern Oregon?   Most of the towns in Eastern WA are exactly how you described your town. I don’t know that I could live in rural areas anymore despite growing up that way.  Small town in western WA and my father was a logger.  Mixed political family, mother was a liberal, my dad and brother red-neck conservatives.  My dad and brother just learned not to say much because my mother and I were much more vocal.

 

Yes,  the UW profession is very inspirational; she’s a great speaker and has done some amazing work. .

 

Pat (aka Patricia McIntyre)

I’ll send you a friend request on FB, I will be the person with a picture of a calico cat.  I would certainly like to keep up some of our conversations.

Frequent Social Butterfly
Posts: 261
Registered: ‎05-04-2011

Re: Any LGBT caregivers out there? Or caregivers to LGBT folks?

Message 4 of 19 (531 Views)

PatriciaM2 wrote:

Hi Jane,

 

Thank you for the warm welcome.  Yes, of course I am "family."  Card carring lesbian.  LOL

 

A bit about me...yes, I have shared caregiving for my mother, dad and aunt all who have been gone now for many years now.  Besides learning a lot from being the part-time caregiver, full time employed it was the impetus to return to school and get my masters in human services - gerontology. Of course the area that I concentrated on was LGBT aging.   One of the questions I had to ask myself at the time was “ my Dad, brother and I take care of mother, but who will take care of those in our own LGBT community who don’t always have those resources as we age?”   I didn’t have a good answer.  At the time of my studies, there was little research done on aging LGBT, but you are absolutely correct, there has been more work toward understanding caregivers and LGBT older adults. 

 

A University of Washington professor is known both nationally and internationally for her research and studies of aging LGBT adults and has done a lot for changes in the field.   I consider myself fortunate to be able to call her both a friend and sit on the board of directors with her on a non-profit. . I also founded a  small non-profit 30 miles south of Seattle where we provide cultural competency trainings to professionals who serve the aging population as well as throw events for LGBT older adults in an effort to fight isolation. I also sit on our state council on aging and triple A.   LOL this is what retirement looks like. 

 

Pat


I think I've met that UW professor. She is an inspiration, and she's an ally. Thank god/ess for academicians like her.

Sounds like your retirement is very full!

You're aware of this then: http://www.lgbtagingcenter.org/resources/resource.cfm?r=865

 

I moved to a county with 7500 souls in it (the size of Connecticut), and although it is in Oregon, its politics is more like Idaho or Wyoming. As far as i can count, there are 10 out people here. And in my 8 months as a practicing therapist, i've met and worked with 2 transmen, one intersex client, and a lesbian teenager. Amazing. My partner and i live in a very small town, "250 people when they're all home" as she puts it. Although all 3 churches in town are very conservative, and many of its people are, too, i've ingratiated myself in several ways, like joining the volunteer group, and mentioning on facebook when i'm heading to town to see if anyone needs a rotisserie chicken or a prescription at the one pharmacy in the entire county. I may be a lesbian, but i'm a thoughtful lesbian.

 

Glad to meet you!

Jane (on facebook as Jane Lincoln)

Info Seeker
Posts: 4
Registered: ‎01-10-2009

Re: Any LGBT caregivers out there? Or caregivers to LGBT folks?

Message 5 of 19 (540 Views)

Hi Jane,

 

Thank you for the warm welcome.  Yes, of course I am "family."  Card carring lesbian.  LOL

 

A bit about me...yes, I have shared caregiving for my mother, dad and aunt all who have been gone now for many years now.  Besides learning a lot from being the part-time caregiver, full time employed it was the impetus to return to school and get my masters in human services - gerontology. Of course the area that I concentrated on was LGBT aging.   One of the questions I had to ask myself at the time was “ my Dad, brother and I take care of mother, but who will take care of those in our own LGBT community who don’t always have those resources as we age?”   I didn’t have a good answer.  At the time of my studies, there was little research done on aging LGBT, but you are absolutely correct, there has been more work toward understanding caregivers and LGBT older adults. 

 

A University of Washington professor is known both nationally and internationally for her research and studies of aging LGBT adults and has done a lot for changes in the field.   I consider myself fortunate to be able to call her both a friend and sit on the board of directors with her on a non-profit. . I also founded a  small non-profit 30 miles south of Seattle where we provide cultural competency trainings to professionals who serve the aging population as well as throw events for LGBT older adults in an effort to fight isolation. I also sit on our state council on aging and triple A.   LOL this is what retirement looks like. 

 

Pat

Frequent Social Butterfly
Posts: 261
Registered: ‎05-04-2011

Re: Any LGBT caregivers out there? Or caregivers to LGBT folks?

Message 6 of 19 (564 Views)

Hi PatriciaM!

You sound like family. 

I think that AARP has done a pretty thorough job of including LGBT folks in their resources offered for caregivers, and through the Pride page on the web site. But as you well know, we who are Rainbow are the best sources of perspective on the issue. I used to work for AARP, and wrote some of the original articles on caregiving for queer people. Since then there is much more. So that's very cool. Encouraging, i think, in this current situation where our president is throwing us under the bus.

 

Are you a caregiver?  Like so many of us, i have been a caregiver, and will be again. My partner has MS. She is extraordinarily healthy despite that; she works as a ranch hand, walking miles of fence to keep the 'grass fed, free range, antibiotic free' cows off the road. She hurls hay into the feed lot. She used a wood splitter and cut and stacked all of next winter's wood. Still, she's about to turn 70, and she has more and more difficulty walking. She'll be using a cane soon. And when other things become harder for her, i will take up the slack. We hope for a bright future; we've been together 6 years. I am very willing to do what needs to be done.

 

Thank you for writing. We, the gender outlaws, have so much to offer each other, and much to straight folks' surprise, to straight people as well. Meanwhile, we get up every morning and do what needs to be done, just like everyone else.

 

Do write more? Thank you for writing what you have. and Good morning!

Jane

(Lavender Jane loves women!)

Info Seeker
Posts: 4
Registered: ‎01-10-2009

Re: Any LGBT caregivers out there? Or caregivers to LGBT folks?

[ Edited ]
Message 7 of 19 (581 Views)

While I do believe you are very well intended but you should care if they are older LGBT adults. In the many trainings that we do here, your statement is very common. But I can tell you do care for everyone...and that is a great quality.

 

Many older LGBT adults have faced a lifetime of government sanctioned discrimination, they have faced loss of employment, loss of family and so many more things that their straight counterparts have never ever thought of or privileges that they take for granted that their LGBT counterparts have  fought long and hard to attain.

 

I hope that through understanding the history and culture that hopefully you see why it's important to see that you may have to treat them differently, understanding why trust might of service workers might take longer, why they might not share who are the most important people in their lives.   Understanding that their families may be different from the traditional families, understand how by treating the same there can be an unintentional discrimination. I can't tell you how many individuals have gone back in the closet because as they become more vulnerable they are frightened if someone will find out.  On the other hand many have never come out.

 

Like I said, I believe your intentions are very well intended, but if you are not LGBT, it's difficult to understand what many of have experienced over a lifetime. Many cities are developing older LGBT training and depending upon where you live, I would suggest you see about training for you and your colleagues.  Trust me it's well worth the time. Good luck and seriously thanks for caring!

Jen
Frequent Social Butterfly
Posts: 144
Registered: ‎11-20-2007

Re: Any LGBT caregivers out there? Or caregivers to LGBT folks?

Message 8 of 19 (1,240 Views)

Hi everyone!

I wanted to let you know that we have updated our LBGT article for caregivers. You can see that HERE

AARPJen
Caregiving Concierge
Highlighted
Frequent Social Butterfly
Posts: 261
Registered: ‎05-04-2011

Re: Any LGBT caregivers out there? Or caregivers to LGBT folks?

Message 9 of 19 (1,433 Views)

a721887b wrote:

Hi there!  I have worked with some in the LGBT community.  It doesn't matter to me what you are!  Regardless of it your L,G,B,T or S (traight), we are all human and need care, love and assistance during our lives.  I honestly don't see how someone can call themselves a care giver and not be willing to help certain people.   Everyone deserves respect and proper care.  It really irks me when someone can't find a caregiver because of who they are.  Sorry if that became a rant!


Thank you so much for your rant! And for your service to humankind, and your openness and affirmation of the sexual minorities known as LGBT et al. You are a gift, and i wish there were more like you. I think that as time passes, and the 'silver tsunami' hits in force, there will be more generous and skilled people like yourself. The silver tsunami refers to the baby boomers hitting retirement age and then in 20 years, bulging the population of people with disabilities, including dementia. And many if not most will need paid caregivers like yourself. 

 

We are here, we are queer, and we need our diapers changed!  Gently, and please put on lotion after!

 

Or something!

 

Jane,

a lesbian gal in rural oregon...

Info Seeker
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎03-04-2017

Re: Any LGBT caregivers out there? Or caregivers to LGBT folks?

Message 10 of 19 (1,439 Views)

Hi there!  I have worked with some in the LGBT community.  It doesn't matter to me what you are!  Regardless of it your L,G,B,T or S (traight), we are all human and need care, love and assistance during our lives.  I honestly don't see how someone can call themselves a care giver and not be willing to help certain people.   Everyone deserves respect and proper care.  It really irks me when someone can't find a caregiver because of who they are.  Sorry if that became a rant!