Experience of LGBTQ older adults, second half of life, focus groups with women voters age 50+, long-term care readiness, long-term care in New Jersey, survey of Pennsylvania small business owners
The latest insights on midlife and older adults  
Older LGBTQ adults are worried about discrimination and support as they age
Dignity 2022: The Experience of LGBTQ Older Adults
LGBTQ Americans ages 45 and over share concerns about discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, ability, age, and race or ethnicity, according to a new AARP study. The survey asked older LGBTQ adults about their relationships, caregiving concerns, home and community, health care, and financial security to give us a better understanding of their lived experience.

Discrimination concerns

A strong majority (85%) of older LGBTQ people expressed concern about discrimination, and many older LGBTQ people are very concerned about finding the social support they will need as they age. Many (63%) reported that they are already providing care for a loved one or anticipate providing care in the future. About two-thirds said they anticipate needing someone to provide care for them as they age, but eight in ten reported that they aren't sure they will have adequate family or social support to receive that care.

The worry is particularly acute among gay men. Lesbian, transgender, and nonbinary adults are more likely than gay men to be parents or grandparents, which means that they could receive support from adult children as they age. But gay men are less likely to have children or a partner. In addition, about half of the gay men in our study reported feeling left out or lonely, so they may be more prone to social isolation as they age and less likely to receive the support they need in later years.

Health and well-being

Though older LGBTQ adults face unique challenges, three-quarters of study participants reported being in good health, and many said that they are out to their doctors, which could enable them to receive better care. Though LGBTQ people have a higher incidence of depression and anxiety, about one in five said they are working with a mental health practitioner.

Supporting the LGBTQ communities

When asked how companies can support LGBTQ communities, a strong majority (88%) of our survey respondents encouraged them to support the Equality Act. They also suggested that companies listen to and learn from LGBTQ people, as well as implement diversity, equity, and inclusion training in the workplace.

For LGBTQ-friendly care and support resources, see Resources for LGBTQ Caregiving. For more on LGBTQ communities, please visit LGBTQ Pride. For more on the Equality Act, see For the 2020 survey of LGBTQ communities see The State of LGBTQ Dignity 2020.

Self-reported happiness grows as you age
AARP–National Geographic Second Half of Life Study
We’ve all seen the stereotype of the old, curmudgeonly person, right? Well, the stereotype is just that, according to a recent AARP study. The study was conducted in collaboration with National Geographic.

Optimism and contentment

Contrary to ageist stereotypes, the study found that as people age, optimism and contentment emerge alongside an alignment of expectations and realities. Overall self-reported happiness increases with age, with a startling spike for people after they turn 70. More than one-third (34%) of adults 80-plus and more than one-quarter (27%) of adults 70-plus report they are “very happy.” By contrast, 21% of people in their 60s, 18% in their 50s, and 16% in their 40s report feeling that way.

The study also found that mental health improves with age. Stress, anxiety, and fear diminish, as does fear of death. Older adults eventually find peace and many focus on minimizing the burden on loved ones.

If you could, would you take a pill to slow aging?

Our survey found that those who said they would take the pill fell with age, from 72% of adults in their 60s to 60% of those ages 80 and over. As adults get older, they are not overly concerned with how long they live.

Instead, they focus on quality of life — relationships, independence, and maintaining good health. Though they recognize that aging brings limitations, they strive to exercise, eat well, and savor time with family and friends.

As one participant said, “Of course, you got your standouts, the biathlon or the joggers. No, I want to enjoy life . . . . I want to be comfortable, want a roof over my head, food on a table, be able to travel, enjoy time with my husband.”

For a breakdown of data by age group, see Decade Snapshots. For lifelong learning among adults 45-plus, see Lifelong Learning Attracts Older Adults for Personal Growth and Cognitive Health. The AARP Survey on Health and Aging has more information on older adults’ views on health, wellness, and appearance as they age.

In addition to concern about their own long-term care, 63% of LGBTQ adults 45-plus said that they are already providing care for a loved one or anticipate providing care in the future.

Half of older adults believe Medicare pays for long-term care — it does not
Long-Term Care Readiness
Who pays for long-term care? A new AARP survey found that older adults aren’t sure, and fewer than three in ten have given serious thought to how they will continue to live independently if they need these services.

Long-term care is expensive

According to Genworth’s Cost of Care surveys, in 2021 the national monthly median cost of a one-bedroom unit in an assisted living facility was $4,500, and a private room in a nursing home was more than $9,000. Yet fewer than one in three (29%) have discussed how they want to be cared for as they age or set aside money (27%) to pay for care. Only 12% have purchased long-term care insurance.

Medicare does not cover long-term care

Unfortunately, about half of older adults AARP surveyed believe that Medicare covers the costs of a nursing home or a home health aide, which is not true. Those ages 50–64 are more likely to hold this erroneous view. Older adults need to consider long-term care as part of their end-of-life planning. Loved ones can help by starting the conversation.

For more on the out-of-pocket costs of long-term care, see Caregiving Can Be Costly — Even Financially. On support for a family caregivers tax credit, see Voters Support Caregiving Tax Credit and Expanded In-Home Care.

Worried, invisible, and unheard: Women voters 50-plus speak out
She’s the Difference: Focus Groups with Women Ages 50 and Older
Older women voters will likely determine the balance of power during the 2022 midterm elections, but a recent AARP survey found that they are feeling invisible at work and in public life and unheard by politicians.

Our study found that politicians ignore them at their peril. Older women voters have serious concerns and plenty to say. Most reported that they believe elected officials do not understand their lives, especially their often critical role in caregiving and managing the family budget.

Inflation and finances

In fact, inflation was a top concern, along with worry about the future, crime, the war in Ukraine, and, for Democrats, climate change and abortion. They value personal responsibility, morality, and equality, but they sometimes struggle to strike a balance between a politician’s character and their policy positions.

Optimism despite challenges

Though they see challenges ahead for this country, they choose to feel optimistic. Nearly all said that a world run by women would be infinitely better in collaboration, empathy, and in not tolerating nonsense.

For more on older women voters, see She’s the Difference: The Power of Older Women Voters. There you’ll find a link to the National Likely Women Voters Survey, which was conducted in April. This page will be updated as more data becomes available.

Research from Around the States
  • A majority of New Jersey voters ages 50-plus support increased funding for respite care (79%) and the expansion of the income tax credit for certain veteran caregivers to all family caregivers (84%).
  • Pennsylvania small business owners agree that state legislators should support Keystone Saves, a privately managed and low-cost retirement savings option for themselves and their employees.