We have delivered awareness raising workshops to health & social care providers. Now, our training DVD mirrors these workshops and is available to purchase. Details available on our “Equality Means Mind Your Language” post.
In 2004, an estimated 410,000 older people lived in residential and nursing homes across the UK (10% of which are LGBT) and yet we know of only 2 disclsoures.
We often hear that ‘we just don’t have any of them here’ or ‘we treat everyone the same’. It’s just not good enough. LGBT individuals are more likely to need professional care services as they are twice as likely to be single, twice as likely to be living on their own and 4 and a half times more likely to not have children to support them in old age compared with older heterosexuals.
There are also difficulties surrounding access to appropriate care through retirement homes, who may not be equipped or willing to support same gender partners. Many elderly lesbian and gay people are apprehensive about having to go into a nursing home, and possibly back into a situation where they do not disclose their sexual orientation. Concerns also arise regarding appropriate support and care from care workers, who may refuse to recognise extended “families” within the gay community, or may not allow a person to spend “social time” in a gay venue.
Society assumes that LGBT people are young and active; it does not occur to society that older people may be gay too. These issues inevitably have an impact on effective delivery of health care. A thorough needs assessment is necessary to establish the exact needs of older gay people. [Stonewall.org.uk, 2011]
‘Its very important for your mental health, to stay in touch with your gay identity and to feel comfortable and accepted as a whole person – that includes your sexuality’ – Mary