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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 11 of 19 (2,336 Views)

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

Info Seeker
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎11-29-2015

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

Message 12 of 19 (2,361 Views)

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. 

Regular Social Butterfly
Posts: 409
Registered: ‎04-28-2014

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

Message 13 of 19 (2,471 Views)

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

Info Seeker
Posts: 2
Registered: ‎05-04-2016

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

Message 14 of 19 (2,471 Views)
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~
Info Seeker
Posts: 2
Registered: ‎05-04-2016

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

Message 15 of 19 (2,468 Views)
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~
Regular Social Butterfly
Posts: 409
Registered: ‎04-28-2014

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

Message 16 of 19 (2,948 Views)

Well heck, at the risk of having an echo chamber in here (thank goodness Dr Imani chimed in as well!!!) I will write another post...

 

So, I've moved to a rural area in southern Oregon that is not known for being progressive or gay friendly at ALL. And I'll be shopping for a health care provider. And in googling my little LGBT heart out, I found 2 articles in the local rag, the Klamath Herald and News, on getting health care as a gay person. Both articles are mostly about transgender health care, which is the hardest kind to find anywhere, in the LGBT realm. The very hardest.

 

Here's the second article of the 2 part series: http://www.heraldandnews.com/news/local_news/community/lgbt-in-klamath-health-care/article_92603849-...

 

And what i notice is that some brave soul named Sam did manage to find health providers who were willing to care for a transgender person, including managing hormones, etc. Primary care for trans people. Excellent. But when Sam went back to ask if any of them would be willing to be included in a DIRECTORY of LGBT-friendly providers, ALL OF THEM turned Sam down. 

 

So, to be seen in a directory of providers as an LGBT provider is too scary, too stigmatizing, to risk in Klamath County Oregon. Which is by the way the poorest county in the state. 

 

This gave me pause. 

 

My partner is independent despite a progressive neurological disease, and I have my own bag of ailments. I want us both to remain as healthy as possible as I approach 60 and she approaches 70. And i do NOT want to have any medical provider disapprove of my life or my love as a lesbian. Thank you very much.

 

I have been madly googling since i moved here. I found this: http://www.friendlyhouseinc.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/2015-Housing-Brochure-online-version-1.pd...  Which lists gay friendly places for seniors to retire or to receive gay friendly assisted living. They are all around or in Portland which is the most heavily populated area of Oregon. Doesn't help me. I don't need that kind of care yet, but if there isn't anything south of Portland, my work is cut out for me.

 

Any other LGBT folks in rural areas?  How did you find care? I'm looking up all the Pride organizations, i looked up SAGEUSA web site. I'm still looking...

 

Jane

in Klamath and Lake Counties, Oregon

Regular Social Butterfly
Posts: 409
Registered: ‎04-28-2014

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

Message 17 of 19 (2,972 Views)

 


dw9911 wrote:

Hello Jane,

I am a lesbian caregiver of my 83 year old stepmother who is in good physical health with a little memory loss. She is truly a stereotypical woman of her generation, never working outside of the home after marriage, and her husband, my dad, and managing everything. And in old age she is pretty much the same. She attends day care 4 days a week (God Bless the Downtown Clusters in Washington, DC!) and lives with my wife and I. I am her primary caregiver. 

A challenge that has consumed us from time to time and that has raised its ugly head again is: how can we slip away when we want to escape for a weekend or a week? How do we hire a "grand-ma sitter?"  Is there any such person, place or thing?!

We're going on vacation for a week  There is no on in her family she can stay with or wants to stay with LOL! We've thought about hiring an LPN or an aide, but they are ghastly expensive and bring a skillset that we don't necessarily need. Our solution to our vacation challenge is that she'll stay with my son and his family, event though they both work and have a little one, and he's watched at home. But what we really want is some sort of adult overnight camp like the day care center where she can spend the week  - a vacation of sorts for her; while we are out.  

 


Hi there, Dr. Imani!  That 'respite care' thing is a real pickle. Every possible option costs money, unless she's in hospice care, in which Medicare pays for 5 days every 3 months for a stay in a nursing home. Why is Medicare so 'thoughtful' to cover such a thing AT THE END OF LIFE and at no other time???  Well, that's a rant for another time.

 

Home health aides are about $20 per hour. And if you hire a live in aide (if she sleeps well at night) that adds up, for just one night. I guess you'd have to find some place to visit that costs nothing, and the 'travel' costs are the care costs!

 

Thank you for writing. Let me think on this puzzle. Anyone else has ideas?

 

Jane 

Info Seeker
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎09-27-2013

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

Message 18 of 19 (2,486 Views)

Hello Jane,

I am a lesbian caregiver of my 83 year old stepmother who is in good physical health with a little memory loss. She is truly a stereotypical woman of her generation, never working outside of the home after marriage, and her husband, my dad, and managing everything. And in old age she is pretty much the same. She attends day care 4 days a week (God Bless the Downtown Clusters in Washington, DC!) and lives with my wife and I. I am her primary caregiver. 

A challenge that has consumed us from time to time and that has raised its ugly head again is: how can we slip away when we want to escape for a weekend or a week? How do we hire a "grand-ma sitter?"  Is there any such person, place or thing?!

We're going on vacation for a week  There is no on in her family she can stay with or wants to stay with LOL! We've thought about hiring an LPN or an aide, but they are ghastly expensive and bring a skillset that we don't necessarily need. Our solution to our vacation challenge is that she'll stay with my son and his family, event though they both work and have a little one, and he's watched at home. But what we really want is some sort of adult overnight camp like the day care center where she can spend the week  - a vacation of sorts for her; while we are out.  

 

Dr. Imani
Frequent Social Butterfly
Posts: 261
Registered: ‎05-04-2011

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

Message 19 of 19 (2,421 Views)

Hey there, caregivers.

 

Are any of you LGBT? Or do you care for a person who is L, G, B or T? 

 

http://www.aarp.org/relationships/caregiving-resource-center/info-11-2010/cultural-competence-and-se...

 

That article here on aarp is a pretty good overview of the issues. How to provide care when either you yourself are gay (or lesbian or bisexual or trans) or, how to provide care to someone you love who is LGBT.  There is a legitimate concern of aging gay folks, that they will be rejected for their sexuality, which is only one part of who they are, but an important part. Perhaps a gay uncle didn't come out of the closet to his family until his 60s, and now's he 87 and needs help, but is afraid to have a home health aide start praying over him once they discover he's gay. And he really doesn't want to have to go back in the closet if he needs the supervision and support of an assisted livng facility or a nursing home.

 

I am a lesbian, and a medical geriatric social worker. I've taken care of both my parents, now deceased, and i have a partner who has multiple sclerosis. I wonder if there are folks reading these messages in the caregiving community who'd like to talk about this. Tips, stories, adventures, revelations.

 

Anybody out there???  "Out" and about???

 

:-)

 

Jane