A series of reports believed to comprise the first longitudinal study of its kind found that LGBT Americans 50 years and older are at higher risk of disability, cardiovascular disease, depression and social isolation.
But the group — at 2.7 million strong — is also resilient, choosing to be active in their communities and participating in wellness activities.
Findings from “Aging With Pride: National Health, Aging, Sexuality/Gender Study” by University of Washington’s School of Social Work were published in a 2017 supplement of the journal The Gerontologist. Among the findings:
- Older lesbian and bisexual women have higher rates of cardiovascular disease and obesity than older heterosexual women. And older gay and bisexual men are more likely to experience poor physical health and to live alone than older heterosexual men.
- 82 percent engage in moderate physical activity. In addition, 91 percent engage regularly in wellness activities.
- 89 percent feel positive about belonging to their LGBT communities, and 38 percent attend spiritual or religious activities at least once a month.
- 68 percent have experienced verbal harassment; 43 percent were threatened with violence.
- 31 percent report depression; 53 percent experience loneliness.
- 14 percent of gay and bisexual male participants are living with HIV.
- 13 percent have been denied health care or received inferior care.