Take a look at this sobering piece in the NYTimes:
Sometimes tragedy results. In one nursing home, an openly gay man, without family or friends, was recently moved off his floor to quiet the protests of other residents and their families. He was given a room among patients with severe disabilities or dementia. The home called upon Amber Hollibaugh, now a senior strategist at the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and the author of the first training curriculum for nursing homes. Ms. Hollibaugh assured the 79-year-old man that a more humane solution would be found, but he hanged himself, Ms. Hollibaugh said. She was unwilling to identify the nursing home or even its East Coast city, because she still consults there, among other places.
How does your future look? Are you prepared for aging? One of the scariest things to think about, even for those of us with partners, is what will happen to us when we’re old. Will we have children to take care of us? Will it be our siblings’ children that are forced into that role? Or will we be subject to the whim of whatever state we happen to live in? What happens if your partner dies first? What if you die first? Will you be able to keep your home? What if you’re incapacitated?
Is your will made out? Power of attorney? Once you’re diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, it may be too late to sign those documents.
While none of the above questions is particularly pleasant to think about, not preparing yourself can result in much more than unpleasantness.
Elderly heterosexuals also suffer the indignities of old age, but not to the same extent, Dr. Lantz said. “There is something special about having to hide this part of your identity at a time when your entire identity is threatened,” she said. “That’s a faster pathway to depression, failure to thrive and even premature death.”
Ah, depression, my old friend. I thought I’d left you behind. And what of your companion, loneliness? Will he be back as well?
loneliness is a source of dread to the members of the Prime Timers, a Boston social group for older gay men. Among the regulars, who meet for lunch once a week, are Emile Dufour, 70, a former priest, and Fred Riley, 75, who has a 30-year heterosexual marriage behind him. The pair have been together for two decades and married in 2004. But their default position, should they need nursing care, will be to hide their gayness, as they did for half a lifetime, rather than face slurs and whispers.
To hell with that. We’re getting on the waiting list for a gay nursing home with scantily clad 23-year old pool boys. After all, at that age no one will notice the drool.