Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered (LGBT) older adults have unique and varying physical and mental health needs. Yet their experiences have often been ignored in gerontological and LGBT studies.

In this important and timely volume, Orel and Fruhauf bring together crucial research from leading experts in the field to shed light on the unique challenges facing this oft-overlooked but growing population.

This book uses a life course perspective to investigate how LGBT older adults have been shaped by social stigma and systematic discrimination. Although many of their experiences are similar to those of younger LGBT individuals, LGBT elders grew up in a particularly oppressive time, which continues to impact their well-being. However, these individuals have also developed coping mechanisms to adapt to stigma, discrimination, and the challenges of aging.

Thus, the book explores not only the challenges and needs of this population but also their strengths and resilience. The intersection of cultural factors and personal attributes is highlighted.

Table of Contents


Michael Adams

  1. The Intersection of Culture, Family, and Individual Aspects: A Guiding Model for LGBT Older Adults
    Nancy A. Orel and Christine A. Fruhauf
  2. The Health and Well-Being of LGBT Older Adults: Disparities, Risks, and Resilience Across the Life Course
    Karen I. Fredriksen-Goldsen, Charles P. Hoy-Ellis, Anna Muraco, Jayn Goldsen, and Hyun-Jun Kim
  3. Stigma and LGBT Aging: Negative and Positive Marginality
    Brian de Vries
  4. Theories of Aging Applied to LGBT Older Adults and Their Families
    Douglas C. Kimmel
  5. The Meaning of Spirituality in End-of-Life Decisions Among LGBT Older Adults
    Cody Swartz, Morgan Bunting, Christine A. Fruhauf, and Nancy A. Orel
  6. Access and Equity in the Design and Delivery of Health and Social Care to LGBTQ Older Adults: A Canadian Perspective
    Shari Brotman, Ilyan Ferrer, Tamara Sussman, Bill Ryan, and Brenda Richard
  7. Community Resources and Government Services for LGBT Older Adults and Their Families
    Sean Cahill
  8. Family Issues for LGBT Older Adults
    Kristin S. Scherrer and James P. Fedor
  9. Transgender Aging: What Practitioners Should Know
    Loree Cook-Daniels
  10. Conclusion: Fostering Resilience in LGBT Aging Individuals and Families
    Christine A. Fruhauf and Nancy A. Orel


About the Editors

Editor Bios

Nancy A. Orel, PhD, LPC, received her doctorate in counselor education from the University of Toledo in 1999. In 2000, she joined the faculty of Bowling Green State University, where she is a tenured professor in the Department of Human Services.

Dr. Orel currently serves as associate dean of the Gerontology Program (College of Health and Human Services), and graduate coordinator for the Master of Science in Interdisciplinary Gerontology.

Dr. Orel's research and publications have focused on intergenerational relationships within diverse family structures and the needs and concerns of vulnerable populations of older adults (e.g., lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender elders; older adults living with HIV/AIDS).

Christine A. Fruhauf, PhD, received her doctorate in human development from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in 2003. The same year, she joined the faculty of Colorado State University, where she is a tenured associate professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies (HDFS). She serves as director of the HDFS Extension and Coordinator of the Gerontology Interdisciplinary Minor.

Dr. Fruhauf is currently treasurer elect to the Association for Gerontology in Higher Education and serves on the editorial board of the Journal of GLBT Family Studies and the Journal of Intergenerational Relationships.

Her research interests include grandparent–grandchildren relationships, young adult caregivers, and gerontological education and instruction.

Reviews & Awards

This volume represents a highly approachable and engaging review of the literature on the topic of aging in the LGBT community. Contributors offer a fresh and optimistic perspective highlighting resiliency, growth, and positive aging within this diverse population. A must-read for anyone working with LGBT older adults and their families!
—Kate L. M. Hinrichs, PhD, VA Boston Healthcare System