San José may not be the first California city that comes to mind for LGBT senior living, but don’t overlook it. The city and Santa Clara County have a smaller LGBT population than San Francisco and higher housing costs than San Diego, but San José shines when it comes to LGBT senior programs, a well-connected LGBT community, and a county government that’s moving forward on one of the most progressive LGBTQ service initiatives in the nation.
If you’re considering retirement in Silicon Valley or the Bay Area, here’s what you’ll find in and around San José.
Plans for an innovative LGBTQ county office
In March 2015, Santa Clara County officials unanimously agreed to create a new Office of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Affairs to bolster services and legal protections for the county’s LGBTQ residents. Under the plan, the office will train all county departments on serving the LGBTQ population and it will liaison with other governmental groups and community agencies.
Among the issues the office will address are housing discrimination, homelessness, healthcare access, and discrimination, including eldercare issues faced by LGBTQ seniors. While there are already agencies and services in place to deal with many of these issues, the county office will provide additional resources and coordination.
A community center in the heart of historic San José
The Billy DeFrank LGBT Community Center serves more than a thousand visitors a month from its location on The Alameda, west of downtown. The DeFrank Center reaches residents across the region with a number of support groups, social events, and fun happenings.
- The Vintage Program serves LGBTQ people age 60 and up with free and low-cost lunches each Wednesday. Lunch times typically feature speakers on such topics as Social Security benefits, legal issues for LGBT seniors, local political races, and other LGBT groups. Vintage participants can also enjoy field trips to local landmarks and pre-lunch tai chi classes.
- Support groups meet regularly at the DeFrank Center for trans people and their families, bisexuals, Spanish speakers, and other community members.
- Fitness and fun opportunities include yoga classes, acting workshops, and Sierra Club-affiliated outdoor excursions.
- Gay Bingo nights each month at DeFrank are not your grandmother’s bingo. Guest callers include local girl scouts, ministers, drag queens, and members of the area leather association, with prizes donated by local businesses.
San José-area LGBT special events
The regional LGBT community sponsors special events throughout the year. These include the annual Dining Out for Life fundraiser for AIDS Services, co-sponsored by Project More Foundation of Santa Clara, and Earthquakes Equality Night in August with San José’s pro soccer team. California’s Great America theme park in nearby Santa Clara hosts a popular Pride Night with live music every Memorial Day Weekend.
Housing resources for LGBTQ seniors
San José is well-known for the high cost of its housing, so people who plan to move there should be prepared for higher than average rental rates and home prices. There are several privately managed affordable senior apartment communities around San José, and the city is home to several dozen assisted living centers and skilled nursing facilities, including Belmont Village, which earned a 2015 SeniorAdvisor.com Best of Assisted Living Award from families and residents.
Learn more about San Jose Senior Living here:
Find assisted living in San Jose near you.