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Where’s the old dykes’ home? : a needs assessment of older lesbians using participatory action research Adin, Emilie

Abstract

The study of older lesbians has largely been lacking in the field of elder care planning. There is a gap in knowledge among planners about the needs of this population. A concerted effort to learn more about the situation of older lesbians was initiated by the Vancouver lesbian community. In cooperation with a community steering committee, a research study was conducted to determine the needs of lesbians aged 50 years and over. The needs assessment focused on the areas of health care, housing and community support services. The scope of the survey was the greater Vancouver area, British Columbia. The needs assessment was conducted using a comprehensive self-selected survey of 85 women, as well as six in-depth interviews of survey participants. The study found that the greatest areas of concern for older lesbians were invisibility, financial and physical accessibility, safety and isolation. Particularly significant were survey results, which showed that participants in the study had a lower rate of home ownership and a higher rate of reported chronic health problems than the general population of older women. The study found that there is an opportunity for the lesbian community to use its internal social capital to support elder community members who prefer to age in place.

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