Articles and analysis regarding the aging U.S. population often lump everyone over the age of 65 into one category: seniors.  This type of lump categorization tends to oversimplify seniors and the market for senior housing.  Seniors, like all groups, are diverse.  Their backgrounds, socioeconomic status, ethnicities, interests, and even ages vary and create different wants and needs in a skilled nursing facility or other form of senior housing.  Developing facilities that consider and fit a diverse senior population can be tricky and requires forethought regarding the different types of senior housing populations.

One group of seniors that has been growing and increasingly seeking facilities and housing with services specific to its needs is the senior LGBT population. The following are a few basic tips to help you determine how to establish your senior housing facility as LGBT friendly.

Understand the Culture of Discrimination

Seniors in the LGBT community face unique challenges in finding housing generally and senior housing is no exception. One U.S. study across ten states found that 46% of gay couples faced discrimination when seeking housing.  Combine this with the discriminatory environment that many LGBT seniors grew up in and you get some idea of the hesitancies and concerns that many LGBT seniors have when searching for housing.

Facilities can help attract LGBT seniors if they address this culture of discrimination head-on rather than ignoring it.  One simple but effective measure facilities can take is training staff of all levels on LGBT issues to ensure that they are sympathetic to seniors concerns when seeking housing as well as their needs once they become facility residents.

The National Resource Center has an entire website dedicated to issues related to LGBT aging which provides some useful perspective on the issues faced by LGBT seniors.

LGBT Seniors Seek Community

The National Resource Center website mentioned above is also useful to review to get a sense of the senior LGBT market and what they will be looking for in prospective senior housing facilities.  As discussed in earlier blogs, seniors of all sexual orientations are seeking a sense of community.  This need is even higher among LGBT seniors who are at high risk for social isolation.  Even something as small as providing organized LGBT social gatherings can help increase the attractiveness of the facility to LGBT seniors and can help maintain the health and well-being of LGBT residents.

Consider Niche Facilities

In recent years there has been a rise in the number of niche senior housing facilities and some have successfully made their niche the LGBT community.  A niche community is one avenue for appealing to the LGBT senior community.  Niche LGBT communities do present a number of legal and practical issues and seniors are divided on their appeal.  These issues will be discussed in greater detail in a future blog.

Financing Facility Changes

Improvements and changes to senior housing facilities invariably require funding.  Existing capital may not adequately cover larger improvements and modifications.  That’s where Cambridge Realty Capital comes in.  Contact us today to discuss your facility improvement plans and capital needs.

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