The LGBTQ Caregiver Center is a developing virtual resource hub that aims to raise awareness of the unique needs, challenges and experiences of LGBTQ Caregivers and those who care for LGBTQ individuals. We engage in advocacy and research activities, provide training and deliver services that promote caregiver well-being and cultivate belonging.
Are you a Caregiver?
An unpaid family or friend Caregiver sometimes also referred to as a Care Partner, is someone who provides care and support for a loved one or someone they have a longstanding relationship with such as a spouse, life partner, aging parent, other relative, friend, neighbor, co-worker etc., who may be experiencing an illness, injury or disabling and condition and requires personal care and assistance with life tasks. There is no singular definition for an unpaid Caregiver and each caregiving journey is unique to the individual.
This care can be provided inside or outside of the home environment as some Caregivers provide care and support from across the miles long-distance coordinating medical appointments and services and others may be providing oversight and coordination of services for someone placed into a skilled care nursing facility.
Caregivers may perform hands on assistance with activities of daily living including bathing, dressing, getting out of bed, help with eating and incontinence. Caregivers may also perform assistance with instrumental activates of daily living such as transportation, grocery shopping, house keeping chores (i.e. laundry, house cleaning), meal preparation, oversight of financial affairs and more.
Many people don’t recognize that they are in fact a Caregiver. This lack of identification can sometimes be a barrier for seeking out support as the person simply views themselves as a helpful spouse, life partner, family member or friend.
In the LGBTQ community, it’s not uncommon to rely upon a network of social support through “families of choice” versus biological families of origin where there may be strained relationships or no relationships at all. Chosen family may include life partners, close friends or other loved ones that are not biologically related nor legally recognized but serve as a significant source of social and caregiving support.
Caregiving in the LGBTQ Community
Caregivers in the LGBTQ community share much in common with other caregivers but we also have unique needs, challenges and experiences. In the general population, the overwhelming majority of Caregivers are often a spouse or a biological family member who is providing care for a parent, spouse, or other relative. In the LGBTQ community, it’s not uncommon to rely upon a network of social support through “families of choice” versus biological families of origin where there may be strained relationships or no relationships at all. Chosen family may include life partners, close friends, or other loved ones that are not biologically related nor legally recognized but serve as a significant source of physical, social, emotional, and financial support so it’s not surprising that many LGBTQ people rely on each other and their social networks for caregiving support.
There are an estimated 3 million LGBTQ Caregivers across the Unites States. Recent research has shown that LGBTQ people become caregivers at higher rates than non-LGBTQ people. LGBTQ Caregivers tend to be younger, more racially and ethnically diverse than their cisgender, heterosexual caregiving peers.
YOU ARE NOT ALONE - THERE IS HOPE AND SUPPORT
As caregivers we can often feel isolated and alone. It’s important for you to know that there you are not alone in your caregiving journey. It can be helpful to seek out social support from others who understand the challenges you may be facing. Social support is an important component of our health and well-being. That’s why we established a Private LGBTQ Caregiver Support Group which is moderated by volunteer support and available on Facebook at the link below.