Planning for the inevitable and the unexpected

Getting older can be challenging for all adults. For LGBTQ* individuals, there are unique considerations when it comes to aging. For example, finding a community where you can continue to be your authentic self and feel safe. In addition, it is important to plan for your future including understanding your rights, making sure that your wishes are known and ensuring that you and your loved ones are protected.,/p>

Finding a safe place to age

Older LGBTQ* individual can fear having to go “back into the closet” as they age because they are not able to find LGBTQ*-inclusive residential community options. As many older LGBTQ* adults can be estranged from their families, this puts LGBTQ* individuals in a distinct disadvantage when seeking or requiring long term care. Check out these resources for finding safe and welcoming long-term care options:

Living wills and Power Of Attorney (POA)

Living Wills: A written statement that details the type of care you want (or don't want) if you become unable to speak for yourself. This document is most often called a living will, though it may go by a different name. A living will has no relation to the conventional will or living trust used to leave property at death; it's strictly a place to spell out your health care preferences.

You can use your living will to say as much or as little as you wish about the kind of health care you want to receive. This is an important resource so your partner, family and/or healthcare providers are aware of what your wishes are. As you age, your living will should be kept in a known and obvious place, where it can be easily found.

POA for Health Care: It is recommended that you appoint someone you trust to be your health care agent (sometimes called a health care proxy, or surrogate). This person will be able to make any necessary health care decisions for you and to see that doctors and other health care providers give you the type of care you wish to receive. This is very important, especially if you are not in a legally recognized union and you would like to have your partner make these decisions.

Patient’s Bill of rights

At Stony Brook Medicine, we believe in patient knowledge and empowerment. It is important to know your rights as a patient. Please review important information about your rights as a patient here: Insert this link

If you are in need of legal assistance, you might consider reviewing resource provided by Lambda Legal. Founded in 1973, Lambda Legal is the oldest and largest national legal organization whose mission is to achieve full recognition of the civil rights of lesbian, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and everyone living with HIV through impact litigation, education and public policy work.

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