Today, 50 is the new 40, not the death knell it was for both Swanson and her character. Yet, for many LGBT seniors, life can be as lonely and desperate as Desmond’s was in “Sunset Boulevard.”
Add scary to that list. LGBT seniors face challenges their heterosexual counterparts simply do not. The most notable problems facing queers as they age are being alone and penniless. And for many older gay men, HIV/AIDS is another issue they face, making aging all the more difficult.
According to a recent study by the Williams Institute on Sexual Orientation Law at UCLA, lesbians and gay men are twice as likely as heterosexuals to grow old unpartnered and nearly 10 times more likely not to have someone (a spouse, child or other family member) to care for them in old age.
In addition to these daunting concerns, the Williams Institute report also cites lesbians and gay men as being half as likely to have health or long-term-care insurance. And, like a majority of seniors overall, the LGBT elderly do not have access to affordable and accessible housing.