Agency on Aging

LGBTQ+ Caregivers

Individuals who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) have much in common with other caregivers but also have unique experiences and needs. The unique needs of LGBTQ+ older adults and the people who care for them must be considered and addressed when developing caregiver plans. As a group, LGBTQ+ older adults experience social, financial, physical, and mental health disparities. They are at higher risk for developing chronic diseases, being diagnosed with depression and anxiety, living in poverty, and experiencing social isolation.


LGBTQ+ caregivers make up 9% of the 34.2 million Americans caring for adults over age 50.  LGBTQ+ people also become caregivers at a slightly higher rate than their non-LGBTQ+ peers. LGBTQ+ caregivers come from a variety of different backgrounds and provide care in a variety of different relationship structures. Still, there are some common themes in the unique needs and experiences of most LGBTQ+ caregivers, as well as those who are caring for LGBTQ+ older adults but may not be LGBTQ+-identified themselves. 

Family caregivers most typically are children of aging parents or spouses. LBGTQ+ older adults are less likely to have children or spouses to provide care. Additionally, there is a greater probability that a member of the LGBTQ+ population is estranged from family when compared with the non-LGBTQ+ population if family members do not accept sexual orientation or gender identity. 

Confronted with family estrangement, LGBTQ+ individuals have a long history of creating families of choice. Friends, partners, ex-partners, and some relatives are the people the older LBGTQ+ individual relies on when caregiving is needed. It is common for most of an LGBTQ+ older adult’s close friends and chosen family to be older adults themselves, which means that many older LGBTQ+ individuals rely on one another for caregiving, and a large number of LGBTQ+ older adults find themselves becoming caregivers. 

The most vulnerable of these groups is LGBTQ+ older adults caring for their LGBTQ+ peers. These caregivers experience compounded health disparities, and many have the added stress of knowing that there is no one else to care for their loved one should they need to relinquish their caregiving duties. They may be reluctant to access services for either themselves or their loved ones and require particular attention to engage and support.  

If you are an older adult caring for another older adult, you must build a plan of care that maximizes the support services in the plan of care. Sacrificing the health and well-being of one person to ensure the health of another isn’t a viable plan. There are programs and services available to help family caregivers. Seek out support. Contact us and ask to speak with the National Family Caregiver Support Program care manager to determine whether you are eligible for respite services.  

203 785 8533, option 4.