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LGBT seniors are twice as likely to live alone, according to SAGE (Services & Advocacy for GLBT Elders); they are more likely to be single and they are less likely to have children — and they are more likely to be estranged from their biological families.

Stigma and discrimination are major roadblocks to support for LGBT seniors, but there are more and more community groups and online resources devoted to helping these elders avoid isolation.

The positive angle of these findings, says the report, is that using long-term health care services can in itself connect seniors with much-needed support.

Particularly for seniors in rural areas, entering a care facility may provide companionship and social contact.

Early interventions for loneliness, say the study’s authors, may be key to preventing both the isolation and associated health risks.