DOI: 10.1177/10547738241231054 ISSN: 1054-7738

Caring for the Older Transgender Adults: Social, Nursing, and Medical Challenges

Charalampos Milionis, Ioannis Ilias, Stella Olga Milioni, Evaggelia Venaki, Eftychia Koukkou
  • General Nursing

Aging is a challenging process for people with gender nonconformity. Indeed, the older transgender population faces several disparities in accessing and using health care and social support services. Furthermore, the clinical management of gender transition in later life is empirical since clear research evidence is lacking. This paper aimed to present the problems encountered by older transgender adults in their access to social support and health care and to propose insightful solutions to address them both from a social and medical/nursing perspective. Trans elders face profound disparities in health and social care due to factors associated with limited accessibility to health services, social restrictions, administrative failures, and physical vulnerabilities. The medical treatment of older transgender adults also needs a careful approach to achieve satisfying gender affirmation without clinically significant risks. The potential induction of hormone-sensitive malignancies and the provocation of major adverse vascular events are the main concerns. Gender transition in older adults without a prior history of following gender-affirming therapy is challenging due to biological factors related to advanced age. Caring for elderly trans people unfolds at multiple levels. International organizations and governmental bodies should address the underprivileged status of elderly transgender people by creating and implementing inclusive policies. Safe and respectful clinical and residential environments and the formation of clearer medical guidelines could meet the unique needs of older trans adults. Care providers must advocate for their patients and be equipped to provide safe and effective services.

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