by Chris Lehman
When Pat Matthews turned 65, her declining health led her in search of a place that could offer increasing levels of care as she grew older.
And Matthews had one other requirement: She wanted to bring Carol Bosworth, her partner of nearly 20 years. At the very first place they visited, that was a problem.
“They didn’t say we couldn’t come. But they said that we would be best off if we were sisters,” Matthews says. “We crossed them off our list, because that’s not the way we want to live.”
As lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people age, finding suitable retirement housing can be a unique challenge. Some facilities allow only married couples to live together, and many gay seniors fear a cold shoulder from staff or fellow retirees.
But some retirement homes have begun catering specifically to LGBT seniors. Matthews and Bosworth found a more welcoming reception at one such facility, the Rose Villa retirement community in Portland, Ore.
It’s a fairly typical senior complex: People share gossip and do jigsaw puzzles in the lobby. Matthews says she and her partner were fortunate to find it.