Thursday, October 11, 2007

On the age front...

Aging and Gay, and Facing Prejudice in Twilight
James Estrin/The New York Times

Jalna Perry of Boston said her guard was always up in nursing homes.

The result of her outspokenness, Ms. Donadello said, was swift and merciless. “Everyone looked horrified,” she said. No longer included in conversation or welcome at meals, she plunged into depression. Medication did not help. With her emotional health deteriorating, Ms. Donadello moved into an adult community nearby that caters to gay men and lesbians.

“I felt like I was a pariah,” she said, settled in her new home. “For me, it was a choice between life and death.”

Elderly gay people like Ms. Donadello, living in nursing homes or assisted-living centers or receiving home care, increasingly report that they have been disrespected, shunned or mistreated in ways that range from hurtful to deadly, even leading some to commit suicide.

Some have seen their partners and friends insulted or isolated. Others live in fear of the day when they are dependent on strangers for the most personal care. That dread alone can be damaging, physically and emotionally, say geriatric doctors, psychiatrists and social workers.

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