Karen Fredriksen-Goldsen, PhD, MSW
Professor and Director of Healthy Generations Hartford Center of Excellence at the University of Washington
LGBTQ elders are emerging from the margins both resilient and facing multiple inequities in our society. Dr. Fredriksen Goldsen, a leading national and international expert on aging and health in marginalized populations and Principal Investigator of Aging with Pride: National Health, Aging and Sexuality/Gender Study (NHAS), will discuss important new directions for the field. Aging with Pride, the first federally funded national research study is addressing aging, well-being and health of LGBTQ older adults and their caregivers by following 2,450 demographically diverse LGBTQ older adults over time. Despite the adversity of their lives (or perhaps because of it), LGBTQ elders display remarkable resilience and resistance — yet many remain at high risk of aging and health challenges and other economic and social disparities.
This presentation will illuminate important lessons learned about aging and health from this landmark project, including ways in which trauma and community engagement have shaped the lives of LGBTQ elders over the life course, including among those aged 80 and older. Examining both the timing and sequencing of life events of LGBTQ elders will shed new light on the diverse nature of the unfolding of LGBTQ lives across the many heterogeneous groups in these communities. As we move forward, it is imperative to be responsive and promote well-being for this largely invisible population by developing and implementing responsive services, programs and policies tailored to the distinct needs of LGBTQ older adults, their families and their communities. The development of culturally responsive practices and policies are necessary to promote well-being in our increasingly diverse and aging society.