Key findings from the upcoming report on LGBT+ seniors’ housing in Calgary and surrounding areas

Written by Scott Montgomery, Alberta CBR Collaborative Practicum Student.

The SHARP Foundation in partnership with Rainbow Elders Calgary, Centre for Sexuality, Mount Royal University, and Habitus Consulting Collective have released key findings from their report on the housing needs of aging members of the LGBT+* community in Calgary and surrounding areas. The community-based research project was guided by an advisory committee, and peer researchers led community engagement, recruitment, and data collection.

The study surveyed 117 people 50 years or older, or people under 50 who were considering their housing needs as they age. Of the participants, the majority were between the ages of 55-64 (55.9%), and nearly one third were 65 years or older (29%).  The participants primarily identified as women (48%) or men (45%), with fewer participants identifying as  trans or non-binary (8%) or other (3%).** Most participants identified as gay (45%) or lesbian (36%), with smaller proportions identifying as straight (10%) or other (10%; bi, pansexual, asexual, questioning, no label).** A total of 15 interviews were conducted with various stakeholders including community members, professionals working with the LGBT+ community, advocates, and government representatives.

The study demonstrated that LGBT+ seniors living in Calgary and the surrounding area were concerned about facing discrimination and stigma from caregivers and other residents if required to move to seniors’ housing facilities. The study found these concerns were perpetuated by stories of seniors having to go ‘back in the closet’. Results also suggested that efforts to identify and include LGBT+ people must incorporate awareness to the intricacies of ‘openness’, safety, and previous trauma. Stakeholder interviews revealed that community members and service providers were prepared to act on these issues with the ultimate goal of cultivating inclusive communities that provide support for people to age safely in place. Dr. Brent Oliver and Floyd Visser of the SHARP Foundation visited Global News Calgary on May 7th, 2019 to talk about the project. Watch the clip below, and click HERE to learn more about the SHARP Foundation’s work.

Thank you to all team members for making this project possible, including Rocky Wallbaum, Catherine Robertson, Rowena Williams, Donna Thorsten, Floyd Visser, Diana Wark, Amanda Weightman, Lisa Elford, Natasha Hoehn, and Brent Oliver.


*This project chose to use LGBT+ rather than LGBTQ2S+ for reasons of generational appropriateness and accessibility. It was the caution of our Advisory Committee that ‘Queer’ may have negative historical connotations for the demographic of interest.

**Total > 100% as participants were able to select multiple options.

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