Planning for Future Care Needs: Experiences of Unmarried Heterosexual and Sexual Minority Women
Clark, Melissa A
Rogers, Michelle L
Women & health 2010 Oct; 50(7): 599-617
This study examined the experiences of legally unmarried, middle-aged and older sexual minority (e.g., lesbian, bisexual) and heterosexual women in planning for future care needs and long-term assistance. A total of 215 women (90 sexual minority women and 125 heterosexual women) 41-78 years of age completed a survey about long-term care planning strategies, including: (1) executing a will; (2) naming a health care proxy; (3) purchasing long-term care insurance; and (4) discussing potential living arrangements with at least one family member. Overall, 18.5% of women reported completing zero of the strategies, and 3.4% reported completing all four. Over half (59%) had completed at least two strategies. Women were most likely to have executed a will (68%) and named a health care proxy (61%). Both sexual minority women and heterosexual women were most likely to have talked to a family member of choice, rather than a biological family member about living with them if they were unable to care for themselves. Currently, serving as a health care proxy was an important correlate for having made long-term care plans and was particularly important for sexual minority women. Women who are not in traditional marriage relationships tend to adopt long-term care planning strategies that legally clarify and establish the nature of their important relationships.
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