This article reports the findings of a study, undertaken in 2000, whose purpose was to gather information about the experiences and realities of gay and lesbian seniors and their families from across Canada in accessing a broad range of health and social services in the community, and to examine the role of health care and social service organizations in shaping access and service delivery.
This study used a qualitative exploratory design based on focus group interviews. Perspectives of older gay men and lesbians and their families involved in organizations addressing these issues, as well as professionals from both gay and lesbian health organizations and mainstream elder care organizations were sought.
Specific reference was made to the impact of discrimination on the health and access to health services of these populations. Issues relating to invisibility, historic and current barriers to care, and the nature of service options are identified.
Recommendations for change are highlighted, including those related to best practice programs and policies in the long-term care sector.