How to Spot a Transgender-Friendly Retirement Community

While decades of hard-fought recognition of LGBTQ rights have taken root across the United States, depending on where you live in this current social and political climate, there are still some instances that feel more like one step forward and two steps back. As transgender older adults look to enjoy life at a senior living community and the peace of mind of available on-site health care it provides, many want  to ensure they’re also LGBTQ- and transgender-friendly.

The Importance of Transgender Health Care Through Every Phase of Life

While choosing and maintaining an identity that fits how you see yourself has become easier when interacting with family and friends, health care is oftentimes more intimate. Especially if you’re moving to a community where you don’t initially know every staff member. That concern of how you’ll be treated and could also leave you wondering if your choices will be honored and respected. Plus, moving from a place you feel welcome can make the thought of moving somewhere difficult.

If the time comes where you need help with activities of daily living like getting dressed, bathing, grooming, medication management, etc. that concern could become more than overwhelming and lead to you not seeking out the help you need. That’s why it’s important to not only choose a community that offers the lifestyle, activities and services you want but also provides the dignity, respect and senior care you deserve.

To Find a Transgender-Friendly Community, Ask Questions

Asking, “Is you community transgender-friendly?” might seem like a good place to start. However, a question that really gets to their philosophy on improving the lives of transgender older adults would be, “How is your community transgender-friendly?” This encourages them to list specific examples about their community’s inclusiveness and gives them the opportunity to talk about the health of transgender older adults. If they’re unable to answer this initial question to your satisfaction, it also lets you know you might want to look elsewhere.

Some other questions you can consider asking include:

  • Do you have gender-neutral bathrooms? Or is there a policy that transgender residents can use the bathroom that matches their gender identity?
  • Has staff developed specialized cultural competence or undergone LGBTQIA+  training from organizations like SAGECare?
  • In higher levels of care, are there gender-segregated spaces like bedrooms and wings? 
  • Do you have a safe and confidential way to ask residents about sexual orientations and gender identities?
  • Do you have LGBT community events or organizations?
  • Are health care providers at the community trained and do they have experience with transgender older adults?

Friendship Village is a Friend and Ally to All

At Friendship Village, we believe life is more enjoyable and just downright more interesting when it’s filled with people who offer a variety of different perspectives, backgrounds and choices. That’s why we believe in a culture where you’re free to be yourself. You can learn more about our inclusive community here. If you’re ready to experience our welcoming community for yourself, contact us here.