In part one of this article the statistics and reasoning behind an increased possibility of LGBT elder abuse was discussed. The second part of this article concludes the reasons why LGBT seniors are at a higher risk of elder abuse and what to look for to prevent elder abuse against LGBT seniors that you care about.
In addition to an abuser threatening to out an individual, telling a senior that the authorities will not believe them, gaining control of finances, fear of spending the rest of their lives alone, and being easier to isolate the following are reasons why LGBT seniors are at more risk for elder abuse.
Abuser says that “this is what it means to be LGBT”
Because there are so few examples of healthy LGBT lives for seniors, it is still possible for LGBT seniors with limited experience within their own community to believe abusers who claim whatever is going on is “what LGBT people do.” This applies particularly in sexual elder abuse situations.
Society believes that this is best that LGBT senior should expect
Internalized homophobia, biphobia, or transphobia occurs in elderly LGBT people when they believe the social message that an LGBT lifestyle is not normal, lesser, sinful, or worse than a non-LGBT lifestyle. When an elderly LGBT person believes this they are much more likely to put up with being abused, neglected, or exploited. In addition, elderly LGBT people who have been abused in the past are far more likely to believe that this type of behavior is normal.
Victim has history of self-reliance and fears authority
Many LGBT seniors have faced rejection from family members and disrespect from social institutions. It leads many in the LGBT community to form a strong belief in self-reliance as a survival tactic. This leads to a common setup for self-neglect if LGBT seniors become frail and unable to care for themselves, yet unwilling to seek help from others.
Tips for Preventing LGBT Elder Abuse
Despite the heightened opportunities for LGBT elder abuse, there are measures that you can take to lower the chances of you or a loved one in the LGBT community from being abused, neglected, or exploited. These measures include:
· Get and stay actively involved · Do not live with someone who has a history of abusive or violent behavior · Do not give others access to your finances, and automate what you can · Plan for incapacity, and do it carefully · Practice safe dating · Be wary of new friends with financial problems · Thoroughly screen caregivers · Be wary of stereotypes regarding gender, orientation, and abuse · Ignore all unsolicited offers of money, jobs, and financial deals · If you live in a nursing home facility, know and assert your rights · Help other LGBT seniors stay active · Do not take “no” as an answer from friends forever · Try to keep all topics on the table · Help victims safety plan · Know the signs and remain observant · Be willing to “go with”
· Be resourceful