Roger Bushnell and his husband have been together for nearly four decades. The couple doesn’t have children and they don’t have a strong relationship with their immediate biological family, so establishing a support care network for future long-term health care needs for conditions like dementia could be especially challenging.
Their situation is common among the LGBTQ+ community. There are 2.7 million LGBTQ people ages 50 and older, and an estimated 34% live alone. It’s estimated some 7% have some form of dementia.
This community has also historically faced barriers to health care, and almost half haven’t come out to their healthcare providers.
That’s why the Alzheimer’s Association has partnerships with groups like the SAGE and The Human Rights Campaign to educate the LGBTQ+ community and providers about dementia.
Amelia Schafer is part of the diversity, equity and inclusion team at the Alzheimer’s Association, which works to educate providers on what inclusive dementia care looks like.
“It’s a matter of knowing that an organization has been trained, understands and isn’t making assumptions,” noted Schafer.
During a recent online discussion, the Alzheimer’s Association shared stories about dementia from the LGBTQ+ community members and invited advocates to talk about programs and partnerships in place.
Schafer says resources aren’t all that different when people reach out to the Alzheimer’s Association for guidance.
“We don’t ask when people call the help line if you are married or have a spouse. We ask who are the people who are important to you,” she said.
The number for the Alzheimer’s Association help line is 800-272-3900.