It is illegal for someone providing a service, such as a care home, to treat anyone unfavourably. This includes discrimination against them on the grounds of sexual orientation. Unfortunately this does not mean that LGBT people always get treated equally or with respect. On this page you will find information and resources available to LGBT people who are encountering the care system, as well as information to help care providers.
Moving into a care home – advice for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. The Alzheimer’s Society has produced this short factsheet which provides some advice on choosing a suitable care home. It is written for someone who is choosing a care home on behalf of an LGBT person with dementia – whether you are a partner, a friend or a relative, and suggests things to think about when the person moves in.
If you live in London, you can access support through the Age UK Opening Doors project. Other areas may also get some inspiration from this – and LGBT people may want to ask their local Age UK organisation what they have in place to support them.
North West Housing Guide – a guide for LGBT people which includes information about housing rights. We asked a couple of people from Severnside Housing to take a look and comment on this – they both thought it was an interesting and useful document.
Anchor Housing has set up a group for older LGBT residents and staff and together the members act as a sounding board on LGBT issues and policies from both perspectives.
Coming out to your care provider – this is American but has some good basic principles http://www.outforhealth.org/coming-out-to-your-provider.html
Dementia doesn’t discriminate – information for LGBT people, their friends, partners and families
Supporting lesbian and gay people with dementia This factsheet is designed to help health and social care professionals to understand some of the issues that LGB people may face and how to offer appropriate support. It can be used as a stand alone resource to be read by individuals, or as a prompt for discussion in a group.
Notes for carers: http://www.alzheimers.org.uk/Gay_Carers
Helpline for carers http://www.alzheimers.org.uk/site/scripts/documents.php?categoryID=200365
Older People and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Awareness Provided by Age UK (London) as part of their Open Doors programme and commissioned in this case by Southwark Council, this workshop aims to provide the historical context through which older LGBT people have lived their lives. It addresses common assumptions and myths as well as providing best practice guidance which is supported by the Equality Act 2010 and the Open Doors Checklist for Social Care Staff.
Spanglefish is a group of older LGBT people in Scotland who have put together some resources to raise awareness of issues facing people like them accessing care services. They came together following an event aranged by Help The Aged and the Terence Higgins Trust in 2009. They use a story-telling model to highlight issues and experiences and have made their cartoon booklet Am I Sure available for others to look at and use. It prompts questions when read alone and probably works best when used as a discussion tool in a group.
We hope that this leaflet will reveal hidden issues, inspire greater consideration, provide practical information and generally increase the awareness that care staff bring to their work, that we may have a better experience of life in our later years
OLGA – Older Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Trans Association – have a two hour off-the-shelf workshop that they deliver in a care and nursing home setting. On their home page they provide a useful ‘starter’ list of how to use terminology to be inclusive of LGBT people. They are based in Scarborough.
The Rainbow Project in Northern Ireland offer one and two day off the shelf training courses: 1 day Sexual Orientation Awareness Raising Training – targeting community/voluntary/statutory service providers and policy makers working in Mental Health, Suicide, Sexual Health, Substance Misuse, and Equality and Diversity work. This training will cover language, appropriate terminology, and its impact; homophobia and heterosexism; health inequalities experienced by LGB people; barriers to accessing services; legislative and policy context; and improvement of practice.
2 day Introduction to Gay Affirmative Therapy – targeting counsellors and psychotherapists and the first day will cover much of that identified above in the Sexual Orientation Awareness Raising Training, with the second day having a specific focus on working therapeutically with LGB clients.
Examples of kite marks/standards for LGBT friendly organisations
The Lancashire LGBT Quality Mark for service providers, whilst not specific to older and old people, nor to health & social care includes a free Organisational Audit which then leads to a bespoke action plan, implementation framework and ultimately a Quality Mark.
Their courses help organisations to achieve or maintain the Quality Mark: covering the legal, business, ethical and social challenges and responsibilities of organisations and individuals, to reduce incidents of unfair treatment and enhance communication, efficiency and effectiveness in the workplace. Training is designed to explore what is meant by LGBT, looking at stereotyping, prejudice and discrimination both in and out of the workplace enabling staff to act within the law and to monitor the impact this will have on the organisation
Discuss and explore why stereotyping and assumptions exist
• Be able to identify issues faced by the LGBT community
• Have the ability to challenge homophobia
• Break down stigma and identify direct & indirect discrimination
• Be able to state changes in the law
• Identify ways to deliver best practice
Some interesting research
Researching LGBT lives in Brighton & Hove
Survey to research the health and well-being of ageing LGBT people in Northern Ireland, exploring their experiences and feelings about care