Many of the diseases and disorders that affect the brain are progressive and their incidence and prevalence increase with age. Caring for those with adult-onset brain impairments frequently becomes a 24-hour, 7-day a week role. As the population ages, the need for care and for understanding the impact of these disorders on families becomes even more pressing.
Government agencies, nonprofit organizations and the media have focused increasing attention on the needs of seniors and those who provide them with support, assistance or care. Less attention has been focused on the needs of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) older adults and in particular, their caregivers, whether partners, friends or other family members. Many of the issues you or your loved one may confront—such as where to turn for help, what kinds of programs can support caregivers, how to access services—overlap with those faced by heterosexuals.
More than ever before, caregiving is recognized as a key element of everyday life for millions of families throughout the United States. As our population ages, more families are providing care for an older adult at home, and an increasing number of people will need such care in the future. Current demographic and healthcare trends make this issue even more significant:
Families—not institutions—provide the majority of care to chronically ill and disabled loved ones. These families know the enormity of the burden in caring for someone with Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s diseases, stroke, traumatic brain injury, or other long-term conditions. They also know the challenges in locating appropriate advice, services and respite.