Assistant professor of sociology Anna Muraco of Loyola Marymount University is one of the collaborators on the first national project to study health and wellness among lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender elders and their caregivers. The project, Caring and Aging with Pride, was launched in May 2010 and is funded by the National Institute of Aging and National Institutes of Health.
“I’m glad to be a part of this research, which is so understudied,” Muraco said. “The LGBT senior citizen community tends to be invisible and doubly marginalized for being older and for being LGBT. We’re now able to document these people’s lives who we don’t know much about.”
Caring and Aging with Pride is a two-year collaboration between community-based LGBT agencies in eight cities across the nation, including Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, New York, San Francisco, Seattle and Brooklyn Park, Minn. During the first phase of the study, volunteer participants were mailed an anonymous questionnaire asking questions about their physical, mental and emotional life experiences and about any discrimination issues that they may have faced.
“We’re still in the preliminary stages, and it’s one of the first studies of its kind, so it’s hard to know what the research will reveal,” Muraco said. “But this is our first chance to describe what the population looks like and what it meant to grow up and age as a LGBT person for people in this generation.”
The next phase will be conducting interviews with some of the participants who are located in Los Angeles. One of Muraco’s students, Nerissa Izziray, a senior sociology major, will serve as a research assistant on the project and will help Muraco with the interviews. Muraco said the team of collaborators hopes to gain insight about key issues facing the LGBT senior citizen community, including but not limited to housing, economics, power of attorney, health care, ageism, AIDS/HIV, family issues and the long-term effects of discrimination.
“The study might be able to provide a framework for looking at the resilience of a particular group who dealt with different life circumstances and survived,” Muraco said. “Also, it might give the LGBT senior community an opportunity to have a legacy, a chance to provide a story to what they have experienced.”
Results of the Caring and Aging with Pride project will be available on their website after all the information has been collected and analyzed. To visit the website and for more information, please click here
Posted Nov. 29, 2010