Being Gay Takes A Toll As We Get Older

April 19, 2011
Category: Health

We fight to love, to be equal, to be safe, but did you ever think that being gay would have a negative impact on your health? New research out of California says that "older lesbian, gay and bisexual adults are more likely to suffer from chronic physical and mental health problems than their heterosexual counterparts." And what makes this kind of thing potentially worse is that "half of older gay and bisexual men lived alone, compared with 13.4 percent of older heterosexual men."

Research like this is released all the time and how much weight you want to put on findings like this up to you. You can't argue with data, but in a survey such as this where the pool is limited to one area it's hard to know how applicable the information really is.

What's alarming about this one in particular though is that there really should be no biological difference between us and our heterosexual neighbors. Which leads me to believe that being viewed as unequal may actually be having more of an effect on us than we think.

Do you think that being gay can have a genuine impact on our physical and mental health?

Tags: Health, Older, Ilness
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Post written by RobHeartsDH (View Author Profile)
About this author: Rob lives in Manhattan with his black pug Riley. When he’s not thinking about daddies, he enjoys writing, eating burritos, watching copious amounts of television, and thinking about his next meal.
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Comments

I am now 53 and have lived alone for the past 7 years. I have never been healthier or happier. My doctor tells other patience about me. I have more joy and love and laughter than I've ever had before. I have a close circle of dear and close friends. I have my family over as often as possible. I get on a plane a travel around the world alone. I love my life and would not have it any other way.

Good for you. I enjoyed reading your entry. However, for every happy and mature gay adult, there probably are countless others who drank themselves to death, smoked themselves to death, drugged themselves to death, or played Russian roulette with countless bareback partners in countless bath houses, glory holes, parks, and wherever those dances of death take place, so much so that they don't even show up in any statistics. They just disappeared, became street people, ended up in mental asylums, or put a bullet to their head.

Being surrounded by a partner or a loving, caring community could cut down the rate of those ugly scenarios and premature deaths, but that may take a long time to build and foster. However, should I hear of such efforts, I certainly would like to learn more about it. Once more many thanks for sharing.

It would be interesting to see what segments of the heterosexual population and the homosexual population were covered by the study, what age groups, and in what part of the country. Did it include rural populations or mostly urban populations? Mostly white, or also people of color? And so on. Certainly the presence of HIV in my generation (I am 65, I'm not sure if that counts as "older" or not) might mean that an older white 'out' gay population would have more chronic physical and mental health problems, that makes sense to me. Note to bigbearfla: I don't think 53 counts as 'older'. At any rate, yours is a post-cocktail generation, as far as HIV is concerned.

I came out in the 1960s when I was 18. It was very difficult, lots of people around me including family were hostile but it would have been even more difficult if I chose to hide in the closet. Many of my generation hid their sexual identity which I think partly explains the higher incidence of chronic physical and mental health problems amongst older gays. Constantly being on the defensive does eventually take its toll and even with the present greater "acceptance" of GLBT people the damage for many of my generation has already been done. Hopefully the younger guys are having an easier time of it. On a personal note I nearly lost my life during open heart surgery over 7 years ago despite leading a healthy lifestyle but am now fit and strong and alive enough to write this.

As a person trained in the biological sciences, these kind of studies are not to be taken seriously. Data based on surveys is not as dependable as data based on experimentation and you can't experiment on people.

That said, I agree with bigbearlf. I'm 53 and can kick the daylights out of most 30-year olds. I'm at the gym regularly, eat well and maintain height/weight proportion for my age and body size. I don't get colds or the flu (motorcycling in winter helps!). In a workforce of 160 I'm one of the few gay folk and easily the healthiest of the lot.

A study like this is at odds with an earlier study that suggested that gay men have a much lower chance of prostate cancer (as just one example). Did this study compare the health rates of single straight folk?

Personally, I think this sort of "data" is lacking in information. Where was the information gathereed? How big of a demographic population was studied? Was it only an urban, suburban or rural region that the information taken from? This is just a start of the type of questions that started running through my mind when I read the blog. I believe this is the type of "Fear Mongering" we as Gay Men and Women have had to endure our entire lives so I don't put too much faith in it's findings.

For me: I'm 58, THRIVING (not merely "living") with HIV for more than 23 years, I've buried two partners - one to AIDS in 1985 and one to suicide in 2002. I have endured the wrath of homophobia and the fear, injustice, sadness and devastation of AIDS and, quite literally, the loss of my entire group of friends from my 30s and 40 to the disease and here I am...STRONGER, HAPPIER, HEALTHIER. I have embarked on yet a new career - the third in my life - and loving every minute of it! I take an active role in my own healthcare and try to give back to our community however possible because no matter how bad things have been I try not to forget how fortunate I've been to have made it through the "trenches of the darkest days" and there is still a fight to fight for others. I have never lost the passion for life and for "going forward". I have accomplished most of this by myself and by surrounding myself with people who love and support me emotionally.

Ok...one more thing: a sense of humor doesn't hurt either...Knowing when to laugh really helps!

I am 55 years old and have only had one healthy relationship. It lasted for two years. I have had HIV for over 27 years that I know of. My problem in not being alone. I like being by myself sometimes. It is the feeling on being lonely. When this happens I surround myself with my friends, my work. I teach Jr.High School for the last 32 years. Those young people make me laugh at myself.I also take stock of what I do and what I offer to all the people I encounter. Now in the gay community of San Francisco I have started becoming less visible because of the idea of older is not valuable. When I was young I was always after older men. They were wiser, kinder, and to me sexier then guys of my own age. Now, I am older I have had to accept that , honor that, and realize that I am that hot oldersexy muscleman that I cruised when I was 21. Not bad?

I think one of the things that needs to be pointed out in these studies (and I believe sydshrimp touched upon it) is the fact that the environment for gays and bisexuals has changed markedly over the past two decades (and I don't mean three decades). The end result is that some men have gotten used to being alone because they felt --whether they were correct or not-- they had to fight alone; in fact, in some areas of the country, there was reason for this belief. And as you get older, habits become entrenched. I have lived alone for most of my adult life; I compensate with theatre friends, artists, musicians. I really can't say it's been a conscious decision and I wouldn't mind its ending with a LTR; but I've made peace with the possibility of staying by myself, and have built up a solid network of friends as a result.

Yeah, I agree. It's from all the effin' games..

Did anybody bother to check if any of those elderly heteros might still be in the closet? If so, how happy are they really??

I've been single by choice for about 1 1/2 years. I'm finding the longer I'm alone the happier I am. Is that bad? I have my family, friends, and dogs who all love me. At 59 the sex thing isn't as important as it once was, which may not be as exciting or fun as in my younger years, but sure makes life a lot simpler and less stressful.

Is it bad I like being alone? Sometimes I wonder. Am I becoming a hermit?

No, not at ALL. People seem to have somehow convoluted the terms

alone = lonely........

Nothing could be further from the truth! Solitude is MY SANITY in life! I don't know about others these days, but I LOVE being alone on MY time.......Yes, I'm partnered and I love him dearly, but we both need out "alone" time.......

My take?

Solitude = solace........

Peace, guys..........

I couldn't agree with you more...

as I get older I don't think anyone over a certain age (varies with individual) should live alone. those funny noises in the middle of the night are more worrisome when one is alone. oversights start to happen, like leaving doors unlocked and electrical devices on. the fell-hit-his-head-and-wasn't-found-until-the-next-day deal becomes more possible. single people tend to take shortcuts, like frozen dinners, which may or may not be healthy. man was not meant to live alone sounds right to me. seems better to have a roommate or a very close neighbor. the dude across the street was very solitary, except he had two dogs and smoked outside. three months ago he had quadruple bypass surgery. now he's like a hermit. no dogs, no smoking, few visitors.

Jockfever, I greatly value your realistic presentation of growing older and only regret that you did not allow your profile to be shown.

I volunteer at a retirement community and love those folks dearly, but am becoming aware, sometimes brutally, that over the course of time human beings lose not only control over their hearing, sight, smell, taste, touch, but also their bowel and bladder movements and, perhaps worst, their brain cells.

When someone with whom I had delightful conversations now repeats the same old thing within minutes and becomes like a child, sometimes a grumpy child, I accept it as a given, but ask myself what do those gay folks do who do not have the money to live in a retirement home once they reach 80 or 90, let alone a gay retirement home.

On top of that, many of the folks that I see get visits from their children and grandchildren. Most of us don't have kids. And as we tend to live in a society that values men like cars (the younger and more muscular the better), a society not exactly famous for valuing wisdom and age, I am concerned about the damage we most likely are doing to our gay seniors.

Living alone under the circumstances that you describe does not seem to enhance a person's quality of life. On the contrary, it tends to lead to an earlier death, often under less than dignified circumstances--a subject many Americans, reared in an UPBEAT and OPTIMISTIC society, find difficult to discuss, let alone handle.

On the other hand, we seem to have some groups (Gray Panthers?) who apparently are building a support network. I'm embarrassed to say that I did not check them out. Maybe this important discussion by a wide range of men will help me to do that.

I think there's something to this. But I wonder how it varies by region. Recently, it was in the news that gay teens in conservative areas are more likely to commit suicide than those in more tolerant surroundings. Of course, this comes as no surprise to those of us living in red states. I think a hostile environment affects health and happiness at any age.

this article is very general w/o demographic back up..(at least its not presented here) it may be true but not well presented...

A lot of you are mentioning parts of the story. Here's the synthesis. We do best when we are active, and socially involved and connected to others in some way. Whether that is a live in situation or not isn't the key here, but staying interested and available to your friends and to the outside world in general is. Don't stop thinking, learning or trying new things and you'll do just fine. As a 54 year old who made a commitment years ago not to let my brain and my heart go on vacation I can tell you that I have never been more deeply happy and fulfilled in my long and varied life. I have the companionship of long held and true friends, and the willingness to allow new things and ideas into my world always. If one day I am partnered again, so be it. If not, I can leave my span when its time knowing that I have both given and received true love and affection. And isn't THAT the real point of all of this long and complicated game we call life?

So in summation, of course loneliness and separation can adversely effect our physical emotional and mental health. No one needs some inane study to tell us that. We have all witnessed the destructive results of such situations as we have seen with the suicide rate of teens in unsupportive areas. The only remedy is to take personal charge of your life and make it a full, rich and loving one without reference or apology to anyone but yourself and those that you choose to love.

This is a very good and important point. Of my two grandmothers, both of their husbands died in 1962 and they didn't remarry. One became a recluse and died at 78. The other, a trained painter, continued teaching painting until the month before she died, at the age of 93.

Amen!!!

I agree some people can be just as happy alone as someone in a LTR. But i think some of you guys aren't considering when you have to walk across the street to get groceries and you have to stop and rest to catch your wind. When you start really feeling the effects of old age you might think differently. Also i think being alone might be part of the reason mental health problems arise. Lack of socialization and interaction with others on a daily basis i think plays a part. It is not bad if you like being alone, but be careful what you wish for. Whenever i see someone of the age where they are less physically able as a normal person, living alone straight or gay, it makes me a little sad and fearful. Some gays are completely abandoned by their families, and this is why for a lot of people their friends are their families. We owe it to one another to keep in contact with our network of friends and anyone you know of that is sick or less able. Rides to the hospital or bringing someone a meal every now and then, these things can not be under valued.

The point was made earlier that this study's design may have impacted the results; always something to consider when you read this stuff or when you plan to write about it. What I find interesting is our varied definitions of 'older'. When my mom turned 50 it was considered the entry to old-age. My age of 51 is mearly comfortably mid-life; what changed and how fast is it changing? Because the bar seems to be continually shifting.
I'm healthy, strong and active; qualities I do not take for granted. I also notice that older men still have a tendency to dismiss my experience: 'oh your not old, wait till you hit 60' . I'm really glad life has more changes in store, but guys just because your 106 does not give you a pass on judging someone that is 56 or 26.
You were not there for that life, and therefore not qualified to judge; and no one else can credibly judge yours. The social realities are utterly different now, than when I came out in the late 70's, and keep changing. There are places I would not consider living, but fear for my safety is less often the issue than when I was younger.
Our expectations have a lot to do with how we experience maturity; our brothers that were obessed with the young and hunky, may currently be taking a sour view of their future prospects. I find a small bit of vindication when I see that sort of thing, but I'm just being mean.
It is entirely possible to trash your body beyond recovery but that is not what age does, that is about choices we make on a daily basis. Seemingly lots of gay men give-up on themselves at 35, and the curve gets steeper with age; If you live in a gay ghetto like SF you can see it on a daily basis. It has little to do with the biology of aging and everything to do with our expectations about what aging means.
That our bodies change as we age is one matter, that the passage of time equals growing feeble and helpless is something else altogether.

Oh I missed a point :/ The stress of being a person of colour in the U.S. has a marked impact on the health and quality of life in those communities. It is absolutely to be expected that homophobia will impact our health in the same ways that racism does.

well i see this site is really no better than other guess theres no place this cub belongs

I am a professional in this field, and it is my experience that when "any" segment of the society is consistently told they are marginalized, even children, they can have severe mental and somatic problems. I also find that many Gay, Bi, Lesbian, Trans, people are stuck in the concepts that the larger population assigns to them, like being overly feminine in their mannerisms, or hyper masculinized, it causes them to loose touch with their emotional well being, and that in itself causes HUGE problems with relationships and careers. When they begin to get traction with creating a healthy support group and community, then things start to normalize quickly, but there is so much fear and self loathing normally, that it may take a little while to get that dynamic going. So, I think there might be some legitimacy to this study, but I would question the validity...

This post caught my eye and having read some of the replies, I decided I would give my two cents. Having been rejected by my mother when I came out, meant spending my life since the age of nineteen with no family, as a child I was an only child and with very few friends. As I moved into my teens, I did feel the effects of loneliness, which has escalated as I have got older. I suffered from depression from an early age although I didn't realize until I got older and still had those feelings and emotions connected to depression.

As I've got older and more disappointed with gay men and the gay scene and the realization that I really don't have much in common with the majority of gay men that I come into contact with, I've felt even more alone. Living amongst a so called community where you are judged by the way you look, act and any other physical difference that gay men can bitch about has resulted in me feeling very isolated, a community that wont pay any attention to you unless of course they want to sleep with you, being in a city that I don't know very well having only moved here a few years ago, the unfriendliness I've experienced and the seemingly impossible task of making any friends here has had a very negative effect on me, and then there's the issue of me being a man of colour in a gay scene predominantly full of white gay men who wouldn't look at me twice just based on the fact that I am black, having heard some of the most unbelievable racist comments and ignorant rantings. I feel less willing to engage with other gay men thus making me even more isolated and alone.

Many bad experiences I've had in my life have been due to some other gay person making my life hell, indeed the very predicament i find myself in at the moment is due to a gay man who's lies, caused me not only to lose my job but indeed my career, one that I had worked very hard at. For me being gay has been like a milestone around my neck, since coming out I've felt more and more alone, I don't feel connected to most gay men I meet. I find most of them very fickle, often very ignorant, and quite often so far up their own arse, its a wonder they can walk straight. The last few years I've felt less and less happy about my sexuality, it serves no purpose for me, I've found it a very lonely existence and I would say that it does have an effect on my mental and emotional state.

I guess if you have a good network of friends and family support you can counterbalance this, but being someone who has none of these things, the effect of the negative feelings I have towards my sexuality and all that it involves has a huge effect on my life and outlook. I've spoken to a lot of gay men my age and younger and many of them have at some point or are going through depression and many of them because of their loneliness, for me I think that being gay can have a very negative impact on your life especially as you get older, for me being a man of colour also has a huge impact, with so many younger gay men unwilling to look at me as someone attractive simply because of the colour of my skin, either that or they are only interested in me because of the colour of my skin, I then just become an just an object, not a person which is even more undesirable so I end up where I am now, over ten years being single and with little hope of that ever changing.

Mickey, Sounds very tough and lonely. Might I suggest that you're mistaking the "gay scene" for gay people in general--the "scene" being populated by bubble-brains who are into the latest pop gossip, reality shows, fashion, shopping, bitchiness. Where do you find intelligent, non-judgmental, interesting gay guys? Not knowing Manchester or the UK, hard to say--but it's a big city, and surely there are ways to get involved in activities (not bars of course) where you could meet guys who weren't racially prejudiced or ageist. Or maybe you need to move to a more cosmopolitan place like London. Good luck in your quest, and try not to be too harsh in your own judgments (some guys may prefer black guys, or Asians, or older guys or whatever--no reason to reject them out of hand, one quickly gets past such superficial things if a relationship develops).

I TOTALY AGREE, with all you say. The only diffrence is I am white

Mickey68, I read what you had to say and it sounds alot like your talking about me but I'm white and 59. Old white guys have the same problems no one wants you when your old, white, and poor. If you don't have money or something to offer other than love they don't want you . I have found that if you could talk to people all over the world you will find they have very similar problems no matter what color you are. Myself I moved to Wyoming out away from people after my lover left in back in 89 in Florida you want to talk about being depressed and alone and now my health really went to hell. The doctors have told me I might have 10 years left and that was in 07 now no one wants me. When ever you think you got it bad there's always someone else that has it worse.

While some of these generalalities may have a ring of truth to them, most of this reseach has nothing to do with one's sexual orientation. Non whites in America and the developed world experience some or most of the same 'afflictions',(for lack of a better term). Inequality and racism as well as misogyny take a much bigger toll than sexual discrimination. A non white cannot hide what they look like, much less a female cannot deny her sex.

Most gay men, and there are a lot of them practicing this-can live a lie in a sham marriage-pretending that they are something they are not. Especially white males, since being white is an advantage socially and economically in America. Economics is also a stress reducer for gay white males in that-those with money can dissapear into the general population where they are the majority-never to challenge-or fight against the social injustices that create stress among LGBT members of society.

Let me mention also that genetics has a lot to do with long term health.

Non white gay men and women are fighting two fronts, one against their color or ethnicity and the other against their sexual orientation-Something gay white males of European descent could not relate too on any level. Those stresses alone could, for a less robust individual affect their long term health. This is one of many reasons ailments-like hypertension are common in non-white communities but also prevalent in the United States in general. Life in America is stressful-period-because of economic and social inequality. And it is not getting better.

This 'New Research' is very general and has nothing to do with one's sexual orientation. As many members here have stated, (myself included) they are living fairly healthy lives and productive lives. To answer the question-Yes, being gay can and does have an impact on physical and mental health,but in a society where one has to deal with inquality almost daily based on one's skin color, ethnicity, or gender, sexual minorities are also dealing with their share of discrimination and treatment as second class citizens, it's just not as obvious as the type one would see in non-whites.

Thank you!

A lot more than I thought 40 years ago I thought I would find someone nice to spend my life with Really waiting for my parents to pass away first.Bad mistake,But I hope and pray that this generation will be happier and accepted

I think that being gay, in and of itself, makes no difference to one's physical or mental health. However, the lifestyle that seems to go with it, is a whole other story. A life of too many late nights, too much drinking (and drugs), and bad eating habits, takes its toll. Further, I think that many gay men who end up alone with no support system, have additional stress. Studies have shown that if you have a pet that you need to look after and provides good company, you will live longer, regardless if you are male or female. I suspect that applies to being gay or straight as well.

Dennis, Who says the so-called lifestyle you described (booze, drugs, bad eating habits) is characteristic of most gay men? This is what the anti-gay right wingers claim, but there are no hard statistics to back this up. In my 45+ years of experience as an open gay man, I've found there are no "gay" or "straight" lifestyles--most younger and older gay guys I know are busy with their jobs, friends and family, interests--they may have more frequent and varied sex than most straight guys, but otherwise lead regular boring middle-class lives. Having a good supportive social network (of real people, not just Facebook "friends") is an important factor in well-being, for everyone--doesn't mean you have to have a live-in partner. And you're right, having a pet is good for one's health too.

The problem is the pervasive ageism and lookism within the gay "community." So much emphasis is placed upon being young (and therefore "hot") that anyone beyond those boundaries are discarded within the "community." It's time for the "community" to look within itself on how it treats its own, rather than trying to get the straights to grant us "equal rights." We won't have those until we give them to each other.

'Life is short' dodgebearal, one should not 'wait' until their parents pass on to then open up their heart and their life to love and companionship. You must accept the consequences of your actions. If your folks cannot accept you for what you are move on....but always leave the door open for them should they learn to accept you for what you are. 'Hiding' is very stressful, and so is 'sneaking around'. If and when you come out to them or any family, you'd be amazed at how accepting some of them will be, even better, if they do not, you will feel so much burden free and 'lighter' when so much more about you is known to others.

And the drugs and drinking you mentioned dennis954 is but a fraction of the gay men out there. The majority of which do not go to night spots or abuse substances legal and illegal. I think gay men ( and women) should accept their sexuality as an important and valuble part of who they are, and realize that you do not need 'validation' from the hetrosexual community. Period. Straight people live with this delusion that they are better simply because they sleep with the opposite sex. Understandable since no straight person never has to 'come out', and because of that, they actively and sub-consciously harrass sexual minorities without even realizing it.

The key is building your self-esteem, first by building good relationships with others that respect you, gay or not. Relationships that are not just based on who gets whom in the sack. I think good social relationships is one key element to good health. Gay men in general are not 'putting out' when it comes to good and intimitate social relationships. We need to try with more effort to put people first.

Ranger, what a wonderful response. If only we could have more discussions like these in the gay community. This board seems to be one of the few places where a commercial site opens up and provides a platform for these kinds of discussions. I salute you and hope more folks will participate in this ongoing exchange.

Imagine what it would be like if all of us, once we no longer can live by ourselves, all moved a great gay and lesbian retirement community where even the staff members are gay. <happy sigh, albeit the nagging awareness that we may have to wait a long time before we reach that poingt>

Thanks and You know LuvHryAss, Gay Retirement communities have and are being discussed by various LGBT groups around the nation. I don't think it's gay men that are living more isolated. It's even more so with het men. Which, I think on some level makes for a more dangerous world. Male bonding is an important and essential building block in any society. It's a survival tactic that has endured since humans were not at the top of the food chain. In fact 'bonding' is what kept us on a successful evoluntionary path to this day. Since man didn't have the teeth, claws, muscles or speed like the other creatures we share the Earth with, we had to excercise our larger brains to adapt and co-exist. But this is another thread....

What's really sobering in the USA and most of the developed world is the high percentage of adults that are living alone. Technology has given us independence, but it has also stunted our capacity to connect on 'emotional' levels, which is-what makes us human. The lack of human contact and being touched, even in the most casual of instances has long term affects on our sociability, and our overall health. All life forms 'compensate' for whatever is lacking in their life or existence.

Today, most humans are not in touch with the natural world, which is not healthy considering it is something we've been doing naturally for millenia until the last century. The lack of natural stimuli and real life experiences has caused us as a species to compensate in other ways- it is why I think substance abuse (legal and illegal) is so prevalent, particuarly in western culture. We are spending too much of our time in artificial surroundings.

The Internet is not helping matters either. Children today that are growing up with cyberspace as an integral part of their life show less empathy, compassion and concern for others and are more consumption driven and less creative.

What we must do as the dominant species on the planet is make a concerted effort to 'balance' the technology we've harnessed with our basic needs for human contact. People that have 'positive' strong connections-even with one other human are healthier, happier, and tend to function better within their communities. Man cannot live in isolation, studies have shown that the brain stunts, especially in the formative years from lack of contact with other humans and indeed other life forms.

I think sexual minorities should have an awarness of this and the ability to adapt because we've all felt the humiliation and pain of being treated different simply because we were born with the desire to sleep with and even love a member of the same sex. It is in our best interest to develop strong bonds with other men, not just for the sake of our own survival but for the sake, and sanity of humankind.

When you have good friends for life then there is not the same fear that comes to people who just hump their way through life without learning to care about someone and see that the real person is not something you can see.

I enjoyed reading all or most of the comments above.
For my part I am 59 years old and have lived by myself for most of my adult life. I enjoy my own space and when I have had someone else living here or staying, even if only for a short time, it is always lovely to see them leave. I don't think I could live with someone now
My criticism of a lot of gay people, and I know I am generalising, but they/we tend to become very self centered as we get older and I often lament at the lack of social skills a lot of gay people have.
I have lived with my sexuality comfortably I would say and didn't come out for a very long time. What I find amusing is so many gay people kid themselves that others " don't know " they are gay. Its rubbish of course - people do know - just because they don't say anything probably indicates they are aware that you are uncomfortable with it yourself. I have suffered economically and had my career changed dramatically by unscrupulous gay people but have not become bitter. I have learnt a lot but its been at considerable cost.
My advice to gay people is to have a full life outside of the gay world and don't let your sexuality be the centre of you're universe.
Be interested in other people and try to be useful outside of you're comfort zone. If you want people to be interested in you you need to be an interesting person and/or take an interest in other people.
Treat people the way you would like to be treated yourself......and by the way, daily exercise is good your health and the spirit.

I agree with most of what you say brightonmanau, however, most all people gravitate to those that are like them. We are what we reflect in our associations with other people. In saying that everyone is in their own ghettoized comfort zone; Even wealthy people live in 'wealthy ghettos', they are no different from the indigent except for the price tags on the stuff they own. Also living alone is nothing unique in the United States. There are more people living alone here than in any other country on the planet. We are becoming a nation of 'loners', interfacing through things like this key board I am posting these words with, and the eyes that are reading them, along with other electronic gadgets. Eye contact is becoming more and more remote.

Being self centered is an 'American' western consumer society phenomenom. It has nothing to do with one's sexual orientation. Men in this country do in general suffer from a form of arrested development, and it is especially pronounced in the youth driven culture that is America. Gay men are subjected to the social pressures of retarding old age because so much of what LGBT people are is based on youth and recreational sex.

Even on the profiles here, there's a large percentage of older guys chasing younger men and have no interest in men at or near their own age. perhaps that's because older men are trying to re-capture something in being with some one a decade or two their junior?, and that-in being with a gentleman their own age it is a reminder of the inevitable? I think that being young at heart is another essential along with the basics of physical activity that keeps one youthful. That attitude also attracts others that are youthful in heart, and spirit.

I was recently running a SEARCH on this site, and then came across my own picture and profile among the men from my area. It was unsettling, as I was the oldest one among many photos! I felt like Bea Arthur. I am a youthful 60, but I sometimes wonder if some might assume I want to play checkers and hang around the house when I really want to ride the latest, wildest roller coaster at Magic Mountain or go to the beach,etc. I go dancing once a week too, so what if I'm old enough to be a disco uncle or gramps? It's a great cardiovascular workout and I love music. I've also been poz for 23 years, and that doesn't hold me back either. I would welcome meeting someone who wants a partner/companion/lover! I would not like to believe that older men get "stuck in their ways." I think for some of it's the result of getting burned (or even abused..it happens) in a past relationship that keeps some men saying "Relationships are too much trouble." I admit I have enjoyed some aspects of living alone, but I'd definitely rather be partnered. I've enjoyed my solo flight, but eventually I want a co-pilot in the cockpit.

The worst part potentially, is the nursing home - feeling alone or not having blood family come visit or represent you in power of attorney.

Are there gay nursing homes? Or before that stage, are there any gay retirement homes? Or before that stage, are there any gay co-housing communities as alternatives to homes, apartments, condos and traditional "room mate" situations?

It might not have to be "gay" but simply an ideally balanced shared housing situation with systems in place for gay needs and perspectives.

I'm a big proponent of shared housing because it's nice to be around others and not have to maintain redundant spaces. Privacy and yards, living and utility spaces indoors can be stretched and proportioned and designed for non-blood relatives under one roof. This approach is different from today's setups intended for blood family members in one housing unit.

Having this appreciation makes me a better candidate for old age I hope, because had I always had my own place and never realized the benefits of shared housing, adjusting to changes that require shared quarters would be much more difficult emotionally and probably delayed too long.

Control is an illusion. Yet I understand how attached people get to things.