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Later Life Guide

Health issues and concerns of older adults - and how to cope

Similar Concerns, But Some Different Circumstances

Lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, nonbinary, gender-nonconforming, and transgendered people face the same issues and concerns as anyone else as they age - but they can also face additional challenges. A 2018 AARP Research report "Maintaining Dignity: Understanding and Responding to the Challenges Facing Older LGBT Americans"  found that at least half of the people surveyed were very concerned about getting adequate support as they age, and concerned that healthcare providers' insensitivity or lack of knowledge will badly affect their health. Many also worried that they would be neglected, harassed, or forced to go back into the closet in long-term care or nursing care.

The resources here and in the boxes below address those concerns.


A short note about language in this guide: We choose to use the term LGBTQ+ as a compromise between inclusivity and brevity when discussing matters that apply to the many identities under this umbrella, and more specific terms (ex., transgender) for matters that affect primarily one group.  However, links listed on this webpage use their original terminology.

Getting Appropriate Care

 Healthcare providers' lack of knowledge about the specific health needs of LGBTQ+ people can be worse than frustrating - even to the point of life-threatening at times. Often LBGTQ+ people have to strongly advocate for their rights and needs; here are some supporting resources.

Hospitalization or surgery can be especially fraught for LGBTQ+ or gender-nonconforming people:


Aging LGBTQ+ people may face extra complications:

Later Life Planning for LGBTQ+ people

Connecting to LGBTQ Community in Santa Clara County & Beyond

In addition to fearing the kinds of isolation that can be oppressive to any older adult,  LGBTQ+ people may also worry that they would have to go back "in the closet" as they age. Staying connected to community can help.


​Be sure to discuss information gathered from these resources with your health care providers to see if it is relevant to your individual situation. Health and medical information accessed through these websites is not intended to substitute for or to replace the advice or instruction of a health care professional. 

About PlaneTree Health Library

PlaneTree Health Library's mission is to guide the public to trustworthy, accurate, and free health and medical information. In operation since 1989, it is a free, public, patient and consumer health library and 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. It does not accept advertisements; it has no commercial relationship with the sources of information on these webpages. Visit our online information guides linked from our main website at:

The text on this page is copyright PlaneTree Health Library, licensed under Creative Commons CC BY-SA. Linked contents are the responsibility of their creators / copyright holders.