Over the next 25 years, persons in America who are 65 and older are expected to grow from about 12 to 20 percent of the total population. Estimates indicate that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered individuals will comprise 7 to 10 percent of that senior population. (Article continued below...)Gay seniors are twice as likely as straights to live alone, and 10 times less likely to have someone to care for them should they fall ill, according to SAGE. Ninety percent of gay retirees have no children, and nearly 80 percent are single, according to some estimates. Despite infection rates that remain level, people over 50 now make up the fastest-growing segment of those living with HIV. Between 1990 and 2005, the number of AIDS cases among people over 50 increased more than 700 percent--today, 35 percent of people with HIV are 50 and older, and 70 percent are over 40, according to the AIDS Community Research Initiative of America (ACRIA).Gay seniors are half as likely to have health insurance coverage than their straight counterparts, according to the Williams Institute.According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, 76 percent of the general public supports laws to protect gay men and lesbians from discrimination in employment. Most also support giving benefits to same-sex partners, including inheritance rights, employer-provided health insurance and Social Security.A survey conducted for SAGE's Long Term Care Task Force found that only 13 percent of long-term care facilities include sensitivity training on sexual orientation.A study by the Milwaukee County Department for the Aging found that the city's gay and lesbian seniors were five times less likely than straight seniors to access needed services if they feared discrimination.
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