Study indicates poorer health for aging LGBs

According to a new study by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, aging lesbian, gay and bisexual adults have a higher rate of chronic disease and mental stress than heterosexuals. Three surveys from 2003, 2005 and 2007 included more than 1,000 LGBs each.

The study found that even more affluent and educated LGBs may be uninsured.

The survey group indicated that the older LGB population is more educated than the general population. Only 16.6 percent of heterosexual adults had an advanced degree, while 35 percent of LGBs did. The elderly LGB population tends to be more white than the general population.

A researcher said that the elderly LGB population should be “fairly privileged, but it actually wasn’t.”

Half of the gay and bisexual male population in California between the ages of 50 and 70 lives alone. Only 13 percent of straight men in that age group live alone.

Among women, 25 percent of lesbian or bisexual women live alone compared to 20 percent of straight women.

Lesbians tend to delay care at a higher rate than straight women. Because fewer men or women had children, they have less of a family support network as they age. Gay men have high blood pressure and diabetes at higher rates than straight men their age.

The study estimates California’s aging LGB population at 170,000, a number expected to double in the next 20 years.

—  David Taffet