LGBT aging in rural areas

Elizabeth Nolan

The unique issues facing members of the LGBTQ community as they get older are beginning to interest health professionals and researchers, including Doctor of Social Sciences student Robert Beringer, who was featured in the Gulf Islands Driftwood.

An excerpt from the article:

Salt Spring’s Robert Beringer is one of the people who is tracking the issue, with a particular focus on how aging affects LGBT seniors living in rural areas. With a self-professed fascination with aging that led to a master’s degree in gerontology, he has recently started coursework for a social science doctorate at Royal Roads University and plans to begin the research component by the fall of 2016.

“An enormous percentage of the research done has been in urban populations,” Beringer explained. “I think it’s important to know the challenges and also the positives of aging in a rural community. Once you know those stories better, you can help provide services in the future.”

One of Beringer’s recent research contracts involved creating an online end-of-life resource for LGBT seniors in British Columbia. Topics include housing, counselling services, support groups and even a funeral home, with entries rated either formally or informally LGBT-friendly (depending on whether the organizations state it outright or else say “everyone welcome”). Not surprisingly, most of the resources listed are found in the Vancouver area or in Victoria.

Read the full feature.