By Jack Halpern, CEO, My Elder Advocate My Elder Advocate, in the course of each day, deals with many problems that elders face in nursing homes, hospitals, and at home. While all forms of discrimination in long-term care settings are egregious, the LGBT elders face a unique set of discriminatory policies and fears. The federal Nursing Home Reform Act (NHRA) protects nursing home residents, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. Most adults dread needing long-term care and want to avoid spending time in a nursing home. Loss of independence and admission into a nursing home facility are the two most common fears of older Americans. For LGBT adults the fear is especially intense. A recent study found that more than three-quarters of those surveyed would not be open about being LGBT in a nursing home. Two ladies I know, Sara and Betti, had been together for 58 years. When Sara’s Alzheimer’s became too much, Betti moved her to an assisted living facility. Betti could barely trust family or neighbors with the truth, let alone strangers, so she and Sara became “sisters.” Much later, after Sara’s death, Betti needed to move into an assisted living facility herself. She had many, many photos of the love of her life, but dared not display them in her new home. The other residents would talk about husbands, children and grandchildren, but she felt too vulnerable to tell the truth. Betti was in hiding and terribly isolated. A recent survey of 649 LGBT elders was undertaken by six...