Improving Health Care for North Carolina’s Older LGBT Community

The following was published by North Carolina Health News on June 27, 2016:

 By Minali Nigam

Sitting in a doctor’s office, filling out a medical intake form, a patient could be asked about marital status, with the following options listed: ‘Married,’ ‘Single,’ ‘Widowed,’ ‘Divorced.’

“I just add another box and say ‘Partner’,“ said Les Geller, 70, program director for SAGE Raleigh, which provides services for LGBT senior citizens.

Geller is one of three million estimated Americans in the older LGBT population, those aged 55 years and older. According to a 2014 SAGE report, that number is projected to double in the next two decades as the baby-boom generation continues to reach retirement age.  Law students and professors at Wake Forest University’s Elder Law Clinic have been addressing these LGBT seniors’ growing health needs. Last August, the clinic received a $2,500 grant from the North Carolina Society of Healthcare Attorneys to fund community outreach programs on LGBT health-care rights.

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