Date of Paper


Type of Paper

Clinical research paper

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)


Social Work

First Advisor

Mari Ann Graham


Social Work


This qualitative research study was conducted to describe more clearly the barriers to care that LGBT older adults perceive in medical care settings and explore how social work professionals in these settings can effectively provide more culturally competent services. Previous literature indicates common concerns include: discrimination, receiving care from providers who are not LGBT-friendly, and the cultural competence of providers. This study interviewed 16 LGBT adults over age 62 to learn more about their perspectives and experiences using health care. The results indicated participants had concerns similar to what previous studies suggested. An unexpected finding was that participants overwhelmingly experienced positive experiences with health care providers and settings. Implications for social work practice are discussed at micro, mezzo, and macro levels. Recommendations for future research include: long-term care needs of LGBT older adults, hearing the perspectives LGBT older adults of color, transgender men, and bisexuals, the effects of long-term hormone use, reevaluating data collection methods to address the complexities of sexual preference, gender identity, and relationship structures. Future research efforts should include exploring the aging experiences of gay men who survived the AIDs crisis in the 1980s, and learning more about LGBT aging in rural areas and other geographic locations in the United States.

Included in

Social Work Commons