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Queer Money

Jul 12, 2017

It is important to celebrate the older generation of the LGBT community for their strength and resilience. Their willingness to stand up and fight got us where we are today, and the best way to say thank you is to ensure that LGBT seniors have a place to call their own, where they can receive the care they need. Tony Ramos is the executive director of Alta Prime Assisted Living, a unique senior residential care facility in Aurora, Colorado. Alta Prime is LGBT-friendly, and its model of converting single-family homes into care facilities for four to five seniors allows for customized one-on-one care. Tony is a Colorado native with ten-plus years in financial services and a Master’s in business administration. This background coupled with a growing interest in real estate and experience caring for his grandparents led Tony down the path to entrepreneurship in the senior housing industry. Today Tony explains the difference between assisted living facilities and nursing homes, the costs associated with senior residential care, and strategy around preparing for retirement. He also helps us understand the unique needs of the aging LGBT community, the availability of LGBT-friendly senior care facilities, and the discrimination faced by some LGBT seniors in residential care. Tony is ready to share what sets Alta Prime apart as they ‘spoil the seniors’! Topics Covered How Tony gained an interest in senior residential care •Helping grandmother explore options •Heart for ‘taking care of our own’ •Experience in hotel management How Alta Prime is different from other facilities •Converted single family home •More oversight in smaller setting •One-on-one care and customization The cost of senior residential care •$80,000/year average for assisted care facility •$8-10,000/month for institutional facility ($12-15,000 for specialized care) •Traditional health insurance does not help cover cost •Long-term care plans offset some expenses The financial advantage of a smaller residential facility •Less expensive than institutional care •Shortage of availability of Medicaid homes How long people stay in assisted living facilities •Varies by home, specialization •Average stay of two to three years The difference between assisted living facilities and nursing homes •Assisted living provides 24/7 concierge service, may use outside vendors to deliver medical care •Nursing homes offer 24/7 medical care The standard services available at an Alta Prime facility •24/7 supervision •3 nutritional meals, hydration and snacks throughout the day •Housekeeping and laundry •Errands •Bathing, getting ready •Social activities •Exercise to minimize dementia risk •Excursions (e.g.: Rockies game) •‘Spoil the seniors’ The availability of LGBT exclusive senior residential facilities in the US •Only a handful in the nation •Fountain Grove Lodge, Stonewall Gardens, Rainbow Vision, Birds of a Feather, Triangle Square The unique needs of the older LGBT community •Some still dealing with HIV •Limiting beliefs •Fear of isolation, loneliness The numbers around the aging LGBT population •Three million in LGBT community over 55 •Will double in next 20 years •51% of older LGBT community concerned about financial future •2/3 of older trans people worry about being denied access to medical treatment •24% of older LGBT people of color have experienced housing discrimination •71% of LGBT population scared won’t have money for happy retirement The discrimination of LGBT seniors in residential care facilities •Testimony of aging seniors regarding discrimination, isolation •Verbal abuse from staff, other residents •Some cases of physical abuse Tony’s suggestions around preparing for retirement •Planning is crucial •Research available services, funding access •Consider long-term care insurance •Acquire retirement vehicle [i.e.: Roth IRA, 401(k)] •Build wealth by investing in home •Explore Social Security benefits at