Worry and Wisdom: A Qualitative Study of Transgender Elders' Perspectives on Aging

Matthew Adan, Melissa Scribani, Nancy Tallman, Christopher Wolf-Gould, Lisa Campo-Engelstein, Anne Gadomski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations

Abstract

Purpose: While lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer or questioning (LGBTQ) elders face a multitude of barriers to healthy aging, little is known about needs and concerns specific to transgender elders, except that they face many self-perceived challenges to healthy aging, which exist at the individual, community, and institutional levels. To further understand these needs, we explored the perspectives of transgender individuals aged 65 and older on health care, expectations of aging, concerns for the future, and advice for young transgender people. Methods: We performed 19 semistructured interviews with individuals who identify as transgender elders, 10 transgender women and 9 transgender men. Interviews were transcribed and coded by three investigators to generate salient themes via thematic analysis. Results: We identified 7 major themes that exemplify the concerns and experiences of this sample of the aging transgender community: Fear of mistreatment in elder care, isolation and loneliness exacerbated by transgender identity, increased vulnerability to financial stressors, perceived lack of agency, health care system and provider inclusivity, giving back to one's community, and embracing self-truth as a path to fulfillment. Conclusion: While some of these concerns, such as fear of mistreatment, are common among elders, the concerns of transgender elders are heightened due to stigma compounded by being both transgender and elderly. Health care providers, nursing home staff, and social workers must be sensitized to these needs and fears to provide appropriate, affirming, and respectful care and support to transgender elders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)332-342
Number of pages11
JournalTransgender Health
Volume6
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2021

Keywords

  • health care inclusivity
  • healthy aging
  • transgender elders
  • transgender health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)

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