Health and wellbeing Healthcare and services Research

Coming out to care: caregivers of gay and lesbian seniors in Canada


Shari Brotman, Bill Ryan, Shannon Collins, Line Chamberland, Robert Cormier, Danielle Julien, Elizabeth Meyer, Alan Peterkin, Brenda Richard


August 2007


Purpose: This article reports on the findings of a study whose purpose was to explore the experiences of caregivers of gay and lesbian seniors living in the community and to identify issues that emerged from an exploration of access to and equity in health care services for these populations.

Design and methods: The study used a qualitative methodology based upon principles of grounded theory in which open-ended interviews were undertaken with 17 caregivers living in three different cities across Canada.

Results: Findings indicated several critical themes, including the impact of felt and anticipated discrimination, complex processes of coming out, the role of caregivers, self-identification as a caregiver, and support.

Implications: We consider several recommendations for change in light of emerging themes, including expanding the definition of caregivers to be more inclusive of gay and lesbian realities, developing specialized services, and advocating to eliminate discrimination faced by these populations.


Brotman, S., Ryan, B., Collins, S., Chamberland, L., Cormier, R., Julien, D., Meyer, E., Peterkin, A., & Richard, B. (2007). Coming out to care: caregivers of gay and lesbian seniors in Canada. The Gerontologist, 47(4), 490–503.

Open Access