Friday, August 12, 2011

What the Elderly Know ... about Gays

In my never-ending struggle to bring you obscure and perhaps overlooked studies about what people know, I bring you this one.  The lede:
A small but groundbreaking survey of seniors and caregivers at two facilities in the East Bay has revealed mostly positive attitudes toward lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender elders.
There are a few methodological issues here.  The surveys are of 92 caregivers and 64 elders.  That makes the margins of error at just over 9 for the larger sample and just over 11 for the smaller sample.  And some folks don't get the difference between a sample and a census.  Here's a line from the story:
Researchers acknowledged the survey likely doesn't reflect the full range of attitudes among staff members because it only represented 26 percent of the total 350-member workforce at the facilities who participated. 

Twenty-six percent, that's impressive.  The point is the sample size, not the proportion of the population.

There is an important finding:
Despite the low participation rate, responses did demonstrate that caregivers have little knowledge about how to deal with LGBT seniors or family members. Lavender Seniors will design training for administrators and front-line staff about bathing and other forms of personal assistance, as well as handling legal issues and communication with lesbian or gay partners of clients or their next of kin.

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