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Frequent Social Butterfly

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

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Message 11 of 24

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!)

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Info Seeker

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

1,050 Views
Message 12 of 24

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!

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Jen
Frequent Social Butterfly

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

1,708 Views
Message 13 of 24

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
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Frequent Social Butterfly

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

1,648 Views
Message 14 of 24

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...

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

1,643 Views
Message 15 of 24

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!

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Frequent Social Butterfly

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

2,534 Views
Message 16 of 24

ja8525501 wrote:

Does it count if I'm not even sure about that any more? 

 

I mean I used to be a lot of things, a single gay man was one of them, but at this point I hardly feel like I exist any more. I knew returning to small town WV was going to require a bit of a step back into the closet, but it's gone so much further than that. This is practically Narnia, and I might as well be the lamp post. 

 

My caregiver experience has been that you have to completely give up everything to take care of someone. I thought I knew what I was getting into, I went through at lot of this as a teenager taking care of my mother with early onset Alzheimer's and my dad with diabetes and chirossis. What I didn't realize that in the interim I was temporarily allowed to be a person instead of an appliance, and how difficult it would be to give that up. I can certainly sympathize with care recipients who find themselves needing care and wishing to retain their identity. It's hard enough giving up everything about yourself as a carer, I can't imagine trying to do that on top of everything else as a care recipient. 


Hi there, JA from west virginia,

 

or rather IN west virginia. since you mentioned you're returning, perhaps you are from there, or lived there at one point. It does sound as if the caregiving experience is pretty near to sucking the life out of you. Or at least your sense of self which is shrinking to only that: caregiving. This is so common. 

 

I hear you about whether you even know if you're a gay single man or not, anymore. I have a dear friend in her late 60s and she's been single so long she kinda forgets she is a lesbian. Seems irrelevant. Other parts of her identity come to the fore front. Happens particularly when you're single. 

 

Are you caring for a family member? an old friend? is there anyone else who helps, gives you a break, pitches in?  are there any caregiving support groups where you are? sometimes local hospitals have a group. 

 

I live with my partner, and just moved to a county in southern oregon that is cowboy/redneck rural to the max. There is no traffic light IN THE ENTIRE COUNTY. we found out about an LGBT potluck in the next county over and in one day met 4 other lesbians. It was such a treat. I know there are gay people in West Virginia. Sounds like you lack the energy to look for them. But i think it might be worth trying.

 

Fellow queer in the country: i salute you.

 

Now, what are we going to do about your burden, here? Hm?  You are not dead yet. So how can we bring life to your situation? Some relief? Talk to me.

 

your fellow gay-blossom-in-the-desert,

 

Jane

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

2,559 Views
Message 17 of 24

Does it count if I'm not even sure about that any more? 

 

I mean I used to be a lot of things, a single gay man was one of them, but at this point I hardly feel like I exist any more. I knew returning to small town WV was going to require a bit of a step back into the closet, but it's gone so much further than that. This is practically Narnia, and I might as well be the lamp post. 

 

My caregiver experience has been that you have to completely give up everything to take care of someone. I thought I knew what I was getting into, I went through at lot of this as a teenager taking care of my mother with early onset Alzheimer's and my dad with diabetes and chirossis. What I didn't realize that in the interim I was temporarily allowed to be a person instead of an appliance, and how difficult it would be to give that up. I can certainly sympathize with care recipients who find themselves needing care and wishing to retain their identity. It's hard enough giving up everything about yourself as a carer, I can't imagine trying to do that on top of everything else as a care recipient. 

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Regular Social Butterfly

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

2,669 Views
Message 18 of 24

Hey Tracey!  Nice to 'meet' you!  Yeah, me too. I've been a medical social worker for 30 years, and helped to care for my grandmother, my mother, then my father. My partner has MS, although she doesn't need caring for at this time, thank the god/ess. I remind her to take her baclofen, mostly.  ;-)

 

I did hospice social worker for 18 months. The nurses really run the show! Awesome women (no menfolk at our hospice, except for PTs).

 

There is the page on finding gay friendly care, which i wrote way back when i worked for aarp almost 10 years ago: http://www.aarp.org/relationships/caregiving-resource-center/info-11-2010/cultural-competence-and-se...

 

and there's the page for us gay folks in general, at http://www.aarp.org/home-family/voices/lgbt-pride/. But there isn't a discussion community for us that i can find. A great idea!  

 

I'm glad you're out and proud, and especially to reply to you on National Coming Out Day!  I've moved from a very gay friendly place (Washington DC) to a very conservative sparsely populated area (Lake County, Oregon) and there's definitely hostility here. Apparently everyone in the small town i live in with my partner already knows who (and what) i am, so i don't have to come out, exactly. But i'm looking forward to winning people over with my sense of humor. We'll see how that goes.  Funny/odd that the homophobes, to a person, simply refuse to look me in the eye. When i confirm who they are, my partner says, oh yeah, total fundamentalist. Weird.

 

Congratulations on your marriage! For financial reasons which effect str8t people, too, we won't marry legally, although i'd love a church blessing at some point. (I'm an episcopalian and most of the priests i've known and loved are gay!)  All in good time.

 

So glad you wrote. You've reminded me to hang out on the lgbt page here on aarp.org and comment, to give the pages there 'eyeballs.'  :-)

 

Hope you've enjoyed your day!

 

Jane

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

2,669 Views
Message 19 of 24
Hello dw9911,

I am brand new here, but maybe I have suggestions to help. Can you check into a local United Way or Alzheimer's Association? The former is a good social service resource and the latter truly helped me alot when my grandmother needed care. If you have an established lgbt community where you live, perhaps ask around or post an ad in a gay newspaper. Don't forget other resources like churches, synagogues, etc.
Just remember, you must take time to care for YOU first.
Hope this helps! Smiley Happy
~Tracey~
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Re: Any LGBT caregivers out there? Or caregivers to LGBT folks?

2,666 Views
Message 20 of 24
Hi Jane!
I have been a caregiver of sorts my entire life in some form or fashion, and I am openly gay. I have worked hospice, been a medic, and am currently pursing further nursing credentials.
My wife and I have been together 9 years and married for about 18 months. I look forward to making new friends on here. Are there any gblt-specific groups on here? If not, perhaps we should start one!
Take care,
~Tracey~
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