An article in the Sunday, July 9 issue of the New York Times addressed aging and housing as they affect the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities. Not having some of the options available to many family members, L.G.B.T. adults often worry about where they will end up, and wonder about their ability to afford getting old and possibly sick in a society that is not totally accepting of them.
We are fortunate that as a married lesbian couple we do not have to depend on our families. And, we can afford to live within a community that practices its nondiscrimination policy. We interviewed only Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRs) that were welcoming. Only at one CCRC were we introduced to another gay person. We shared meals and histories with all the residents we met before we signed on to live at Collington Life Care. Here we met people who were friendly, curious, of course, and encouraging that Collington would be a good match for us.
The article spoke about gays and lesbians who had to go back “in the closet” or remain there in order to find a retirement community. That is a particularly sad state when individuals cannot be themselves and have to live a lie, mostly to protect the discriminator! We have no bias against those who are not like us. We are “out”. We have had a good life and continue to have a good life in the Collington community where there is diversity, friendship, intellectual stimulation, fun things to do, cultural activities, and paths through lovely woods inhabited with wild life.
The picture for older adults is not always this pretty regardless of sexual orientation. But for the L.G.B.T. adult, the choices can be limited and less clear. Communities such as Collington provide the safety, security and variety of activities we all want to enjoy during these elder years. We could have selected other communities, but Collington provides us with the best of many worlds.
We are grateful for all of you!
Editor’s note: Thanks Lois and Nancy, you have already added so much to our community.