The New York elder law estate planning attorneys at our firm have worked for years with local GLBT residents on the unique issues that they face when planning for their long-term financial, social, and physical well being. Even though New York leveled the playing field this year by passing legislation which allowed same sex couples to marry, these families continue to face complexities in their planning because of inequalities at the federal level. Same sex couples still need to take special steps to ensure that their assets are protected and distributed according to their wishes.
Beyond estate planning needs, senior members of the GBLT community also continue to face unique challenges when planning for their long-term well being. The latest research reported in MetLife’s “Out and Aging Study” found that three out of four GLBT seniors lived alone. In addition, these seniors are much less likely to have children than their heterosexual counterparts. As a result they are often less likely to have relatives able to help care for them as they age. Of course, GLBT seniors encounter the same problems as they as age as the rest of the community, and so these demographic differences mean that they have a particular need to conduct New York elder care planning to ensure necessary resources will be available in their golden years.
Unfortunately, our New York elder law attorneys know that many GLBT seniors fail to properly plan for their long-term healthcare needs. Many elder care advocates recognize the unique vulnerabilities of these seniors and are working to help. In an effort to provide the necessary aid, this weekend local officials announced the opening of the nation’s first GLBT Senior Center. As explained in the New York Examiner, the Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders Center (SAGE) is expected to open in January in Manhattan. GLBT seniors in all five New York City boroughs will be able to benefit from the facility. As Mayor Bloomberg noted during the announcement, “The needs of seniors have evolved since senior centers were created fifty years ago, and now is the time to re-envision the one-size-fits-all approach that has traditionally shaped many of our centers.”
The new facility will provide a range of services from health and wellness programs and social activities to work skills training and hot meals. As with the rest of the population, the gay senior population is expected to rise considerably in the coming years and demand for these unique services is expected to increase steadily. The new director of the center revealed that the facility has been a long time in the making. He explained that the organization “was thrilled to be part of a bold initiative that emphasizes innovation in aging services.”
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