At Oakmont Senior Living, we take great pride in creating thriving communities where life can flourish, relationships can be nurtured, and our residents truly feel at home. While the goal of inclusion may be expected, for many LGBT and LGBT allies, finding a retirement community that welcomes LGBT individuals can be more challenging than you might think. Unfortunately, discrimination may be present in senior care and retirement communities.

In a recent New York Times story, a couple by the name of Mary Walsh and Beverly Nance were denied access to the retirement community of their choice based solely on their same-sex marital status. The retirement community the couple decided on declined their application after the couple disclosed that they were married. The faith-based retirement community cited their “cohabitation policy” which only recognized marriage by the “biblical definition” of being between one man and one woman. By the time the retirement community let Mary and Beverly know that they would not be allowed to move in, the couple had already set the wheels in motion for their move. We would love to tell you that this is the first and last time that a couple has been denied access to a retirement community due to their LGBT identity, but that is not the case.

Not all retirement communities are fully committed to providing an open and inclusive environment. In response to this finding, Oakmont Senior Living decided to open one of the first LGBT retirement communities in the nation to provide a safe and welcoming space for this population.

Cohabitation Policies – While cohabitation policies may seem old-fashioned, they are commonly found at retirement communities. These policies, often faith-based, may require rooms to be shared by siblings, parents and their children, or married couples that are of the opposite sex. Declaring a retirement community to be faith-based can protect the community from legal action against such discriminatory practices. If a faith-based community is at the top of your list, take time to ask about cohabitation policies and the community’s stance on LGBT residents and visitors.

Acceptance of Friends/Family – Fountaingrove Lodge welcomes all seniors, whether you identify as LGBT or consider yourself an ally. Family members and friends who identify as such are invited to visit as often as they’d like. The fear of discrimination is erased when a community is built to serve a vulnerable population that might not otherwise feel readily accepted.

LGBT Friendly Surroundings – In addition to the retirement community itself being accepting of LGBT populations, consider the surrounding area as well. All of us here at Oakmont Senior Living could not be more proud to call Santa Rosa our home; Northern California is truly one of the most welcoming and engaging locations in the country for the LGBT community and their allies. Here at Fountaingrove Lodge, our residents do not feel like they are confined to the community itself as the surrounding area is full of arts, dining, and entertainment options that welcome and even focus on the LGBT community.

For more information about Fountaingrove Lodge or to schedule a tour, please contact us at 707-576-1101.