Increased Risks of Needing Long-Term Care Among Older Adults Living With Same-Sex Partners

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Abstract

Objectives

We examined whether older individuals living with same-sex partners face greater risks of needing long-term care than their counterparts living with different-sex partners or spouses.

Methods

With data on older couples (at least 1 individual aged 60 years or older) from the 2009 American Community Survey, we estimated logistic regression models of 2 activity limitations that signal a long-term care need: difficulty dressing or bathing and difficulty doing errands alone.

Results

When we controlled for age, race/ethnicity, and education, older women who lived with female partners were statistically significantly more likely than those who lived with male partners or spouses to have difficulty dressing or bathing. Older men who lived with male partners were statistically significantly more likely than those who lived with female spouses or partners to need assistance with errands.

Conclusions

Older individuals living with same-sex partners face greater risks of needing long-term care than those living with different-sex partners or spouses, but the role of relationship status differs by gender. These findings suggest more broadly that older gay men and lesbians may face greater risks of needing long-term care than their heterosexual counterparts.

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