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The Health of Aging Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Adults in California

March 1, 2011

Policy Brief

Authors: Steven P. Wallace, PhD, Susan D. Cochran, Chandra L. Ford

Research on the health of lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) adults generally overlooks the chronic conditions that are the most common health concerns of older adults. This policy brief presents unique population-level data on aging LGB adults (ages 50-70) documenting that they have higher rates of several serious chronic physical and mental health conditions compared to similar heterosexual adults. Although access to care appears similar for aging LGB and heterosexual adults, aging LGB adults generally have higher levels of mental health services use and lesbian/bisexual women report greater delays in getting needed care. These data indicate a need for general health care and aging services to develop programs targeted to the specific needs of aging LGB adults and for LGB-specific programs to increase attention to the chronic conditions that are common among all older adults.

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