Creating Visibility: Considering LGBT Older Adults in the Informal Canadian Caregiving Context


Participants must be at least 65 years old, live in Canada, and identify as LGBT+.


Canada is now categorized as an aging nation, with an increasing proportion of diverse older adults in the population. Using the most recent 2016 Census data and considering the fact that LGB members make up 2-8% of the American population, a figure of between 118,712 and 474,850 LGB older adults can be extrapolated for Canada. However, transgender individuals were not included in the census data and therefore extrapolations cannot be made for this group.

The literature suggests that significant health disparities exist between heterosexual/cisgender older adults and their LGB counterparts, although there is also a great deal of resilience found among LGBT individuals. It is important to note that transgender older adults have worse mental and physical health and are often not well represented in research samples. Some of these negative effects may be offset by social support, which primarily consists of families of choice rather than biological family among LGBT older adults. Research demonstrates that older LGBT individuals may rely more on informal caregiving supports than non-LGBT individuals, because of stigma and discrimination in formal health care settings. As such, “families of choice” are often on the front lines caring for aging LGBT persons.

It is therefore important to explore caregiving and care receiving relationships, and general access to health and care services among LGBT older adults. However, this research field remains limited in Canada.

How will this research help LGBT people and communities?

The knowledge gained from this research may be used to inform policies and practice around caregiving in Canada, and used to inform practitioners and providers on how to provide culturally competent care. Further, the knowledge gained from this study may be used to inform future research in this field regarding improved care and health status for LGBT older adults.


Although the benefits are not direct, participants will have the opportunity to inform research that could later affect them through policy or practice. They may also have the opportunity to reflect on their own experiences and values related to the subject matter, and may begin to think more about their future health and care.

What mitigation measures are in place to reduce potential distress caused to participants as a result of being part of the research study?

Resources will be offered to the participants in the information letter prior to the start of the survey and after the completion of the study, via the ‘thank you’ page, so participants can debrief with a mental health professional if they desire. In terms of comfort and vulnerability, the anonymous and online nature of this study will help to mitigate these effects. Additionally, participants will be notified that all of their data is confidential and all possible identifying information will be removed from the provided data. Lastly, participants have the choice to skip questions by clicking the next arrow button on the online Qualtrics survey.

When do you anticipate that this study's findings will be available?



Name: Haley Watson


Website: N/A


Kimberley Wilson

Funded By




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