12/29/2011 8:17 PM ET|
New options for gay retirees
Alternatives are increasing, and retirement experts expect the trend to accelerate as the economy improves. Also: Some retirees are forming DIY communities.
Not too long ago, there was no such thing as a gay retirement community in America. But as the number of retirement facilities that cater specifically to seniors with a common interest, hobby or trait has multiplied, so too have the options for gays and lesbians.
There are currently about a dozen seniors-only housing developments that are marketed specifically to gays and lesbians, says Andrew Carle, the founding director of the senior housing administration at George Mason University. That's up from just a few a decade ago. And retirement experts expect the trend to continue. "As the economy and the real-estate market improve, we may see more of this," says John Migliaccio, the director of research for the MetLife Mature Market Institute, who has studied the aging gay and lesbian population extensively.
Other types of senior facilities are also beginning to cater more to aging gays and lesbians, including continuing-care developments, affordable retiree housing and community drop-in senior centers. For example, the first gay continuing-care retirement community -- a facility that offers independent, assisted living and Alzheimer's care -- for gays and lesbians opened this year in California, and another gay and lesbian senior center is scheduled to open in New York in January. "There are now more options than ever for the aging GLBT (gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender) community," says Catherine Thurston, the senior director of programs for Services and Advocacy for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgender Elders.
Despite the recent growth, retirement options aimed at gays are likely to remain limited, say experts. Many of the large, traditional retirement community developers aren't interested in niche developments, says Migliaccio, and funding for public facilities devoted to the gay and lesbian community is difficult to get -- especially in conservative areas of the country. The recession hasn't helped much either. RainbowVision Santa Fe, which opened in 2006 as one of the country's first gay and lesbian retirement communities, filed for bankruptcy in June amid financial problems and a fight between management and residents over costs.
Still, experts say demand for these offerings is growing -- especially with the first baby boomers now hitting retirement age. By some estimates, between 2 million and 7 million gays and lesbians will turn 65 over the next two decades. While some of these boomers won't want to retire in primarily gay and lesbian communities, many others will, says Thurston. Some people choose gay-only communities because they want to be around like-minded people. That may be especially true for the one in four gay and lesbian boomers who report "great concern" about discrimination as they get older, according to a MetLife Mature Market Institute study.
Here are some of the newer retirement options for gays and lesbians.
In 2007, Alice Herman, 76, found Sylvia, her partner of 46 years, on the floor of their Los Angeles apartment unable to get up. At first Medicare covered most of Sylvia's hospital bills, but the longer she stayed in the hospital, the more the out-of-pocket costs began to add up. Two years later Sylvia died. "I had only enough money left to afford two months' rent," says Herman. "I was afraid I might have to live in my car with my two cats because I didn't want to burden my friends." Then Herman heard about Triangle Square, a gay and lesbian retirement community for low-income seniors in Hollywood, Calif., where she says Social Security covers her rent and other costs.
The Gay and Lesbian Elder Housing organization built Triangle Square in 2007. The $21.5 million development, funded in part by the City of Los Angeles and the California Housing Finance Agency, has 104 apartments that rent for between $200 and $500 per month for residents who meet certain income and age requirements. As with all the gay retirement spaces, straight people cannot be legally excluded. Plans for similar housing projects are in the works in Chicago and Philadelphia, says GLEH Executive Director Mark Supper. "The affordable side of this issue is critical," he says. "There are a lot of gay seniors who literally live on Social Security -- that's especially hard in big cities."
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I guess i would call myself an agnostic. My biggest problem with organized religion is tolerance...It's either their way or the highway. I could not care less what consenting adults do in the bedroom let alone be judgemental. Is your fanaticism any different then nuts that blow themself up in cars or malls or whatever?
This planet is a community for all intents and purposes and the sooner we all learn to live together and tolerate each others particular beliefs whether it be christianity , Islam, or others sexual orientation, as long as it is legal; the better off we'll all be..
What is so great about this topic today is we see what truly loving christians are all about. Their hate motivates them in their churches and lives.
Take a look at yourselves christians, tell us about love and the kindness you spread to others?
Jesus said love your neighbor, do you?
Also, since gay people for the most part do not reproduce, would one of these true christians tell us where they think gay prople come from?
And lets not have the normal ignorant answer that it is a choice.
Rob Rudzinski (terd cutter)-
really?? you think being gay is "perversion"? Sooo, sex for any human at or beyond age 50 is perverted? I hope when you get that age you are not still having sex, or else you too will be a pervert!!
Perseverate is a psychological term. It means to process an idea in a loop that goes nowhere. It's an esoteric term that doesn't appear in Websters.
Now, can you afford a therapist? You fixation on gay taxpayers isn't healthy. If you're fixating on gay kids, perhaps you need the police to intervene.
P.S. - Your fixation also isn't normal.
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