OHCA The Oregon Caregiver Spring Summer 2022

www.ohca.com SPRING/SUMMER 2022 The Oregon Caregiver 23 DEI Debbie McCuin is a program analyst with the community services and support unit of the Office of Aging and People with Disabilities (APD), Oregon Department of Human Services (ODHS). In May 2021, APD contracted with the University of Washington to conduct the Oregon LGBTQ+ Older Adult Survey, the first statewide survey of its kind. The survey came about through close collaboration with community organizations and agencies serving LGBTQIA+ and Two Spirit Oregonians. For three months, data was collected to assess the health, economic, and social needs of and resources for LGBTQIA+ and Two Spirit adults that were 55 years of age and older across Oregon. In this article, Debbie shares highlights of the survey results and offers insight on next steps. What was the driving force behind administering this survey? The driving force was really the community. The Governor’s Commission on Senior Services, the Oregon LGBTQ+ Aging Coalition and SAGE Metro Portland were instrumental in advocating for the project. When APD commissioned the statewide study other community partners supporting the research included Aging Well of Cascade AIDS Project, Alzheimer’s Association, AARP Oregon, EngAGE NW, HIV Alliance - Douglas County, Metropolitan Community Church of Portland, Oregon Home Care Commission, Pride Foundation, and Quest Center for Integrative Health. APD and the groups who were part of this project were all motivated by the fact that there was hardly any data at all. In order to effectuate change for any group, state-specific data needs to be available. Initially, the Governor’s Commission on Senior Services requested a small amount of funding for a survey pilot study with the idea that the pilot would show the disparities in services, service delivery, and health outcomes. APD wanted to understand the risks, needs, and strengths of demographically diverse LGBTQIA2S+ Oregonians, age 55 and older, including those not represented in previous studies, as well as strengthen relationships and build trust with this community. The University of Washington, along with conducting the community survey, evaluated Oregon’s State Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (OR-BRFSS) 2013–2018 dataset to assess health disparities and population size among LGBTQ+ adults 55 and older. What was the most surprising result of the survey? To be honest with you, some of the responses weren’t terribly surprising to us. However, I think there were a couple that are really disturbing, particularly around Understanding the Results from the 2021 Oregon LGBTQ+ Adult Survey the number of participants in the survey who have experienced abuse in the past year. Almost a quarter of the 1,400 people who took this survey have experienced abuse in the past year and three quarters of them didn’t report it. Also, there’s a high rate of discrimination. The number of participants who experienced discrimination the year prior to the survey is almost 60 percent. One statistic that I think we really need to look at is around access to services. More than 50 percent of the participants say they have unmet service needs. While there are many needs for this community, there are also many strengths worth noting. The survey also found that there is a high level of resilience among the participants and the majority are actively engaged in LGBTQIA2S+ communities. More than 70 percent of LGBTQ+ older adult participants have three or more people they can count on for social and emotional support. CONTINUES » Survey Participants’ Current Housing Type The 1,402 participants in this survey live primarily on their own or with family; survey respondents said they live: 100% 75% 50% 25% 0% Live on their own or with family in a house, apartment, or condo Senior Housing Assisted Living Facility Adult Foster Homes Residential Hotels