LGBTI communities, ageing and dementia

Everyone’s getting older and many people in our diverse Australian community are being affected by dementia. Yet while much written is written about many aspects of dementia and it’s impact on relationships and sexuality there is less information on the impact of dementia on people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transexual and intersex (LGBTI).

So what’s it like to be a LGBTI person with dementia? Or the carer and partner? Or an aged-care worker?

This post focuses on issues experienced by LGBTI people with dementia, their carers and how different aged-care services can better deliver to these groups.

Book: Oldeolder_peopler People: issues and innovations in care, 4th edition Rhonda Nay, Sally Garratt, Deirdre Fetherstonhaugh

This book compiles a range of opinions and commentary from leading international and Australian experts on contemporary issues around the care of older people. It includes perspectives on LGBTI experiences in the aged care system and in aged care homes. Usefully, recommendations for inclusiveness are made and a ‘vignette’ based on the experience of an older same-sex couple with a registered nurse. It’s a useful and informative perspective.

If you’d like to borrow this book, contact us for more information.

 Article: The Invisible Elderly: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Older Adults, Rita A. Jablonski et al., Journal of Gerontological Nursing, 39(11), p46-52

the_invisible_elderlyLGBT older adults face unique issues in terms of LTC living arrangements, staff discrimination, HIV concerns, and physical examination anxiety.  More than 2 million older adults identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT). The purpose of this article is to present an overview of the physical and mental health needs of LGBT older adults to sensitize nurses to the specific needs of this group. Nurses are in a prominent position to create health care environments that will meet the needs of this invisible, and often misunderstood, group of people.

Note: if you are interested in this article, please contact us and we will arrange to send it through to you

Report: National Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex Ageing and Aged Care strategy, Department of Health and Ageing, Australian Government

This report national_LGBTI_strategyhighlights the challenges many LGBTI people have faced, examines what the aged care needs of LGBTI people are, and how aged services can be more inclusive of these needs. It gives a good introduction to the issues LGBTI people face in an aged care service context.

 Article:  Breaking the silence: dementia and the LGBTI community, Australian Journal of Dementia Care, 2(2) April/May 2013

Marie Alford, Jo Harrison and James Baldwin look at some of the issues facing lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people with dementia and their carers, and Alzheimer’s Australia’s innovative approach to addressing these concerns.

Note: if you are interested in this article, please contact us and we will arrange to send it through to you

Report: Dementia, Lesbians and Gay Men, Heather Birch, Alzheimer’s Australia Paper 15, 2009

From the introductory text of this report:

“The focus of this paper is on lesbian and gay seniors, including their same-sex partners. Not all people with dementia are seniors; however younger lesbians and gay men living with dementia may have a number of similar concerns and needs to those of lesbian and gay seniors. This paper also includes information about the needs of younger lesbians and gay men who are supporting a heterosexual family member living with dementia.

Some issues and concerns identified in this paper are shared by transgender people, as well as additional specific issues such as the impact of medical interventions on ageing, including surgical changes and hormone treatments over a long period of time. This paper encompasses the needs of those members of the transgender community to the extent to which they identify themselves as gay or lesbian, but does not address the specific needs of transgender people.”

Guide: Sexuality & Dementia: A guide for all staff working with people with dementia, The Dementia Services Development Centre, University of Stirling

From the introductory text of this guide:

“The Convention of Human Rights and the Adults with Incapacity Legislation (AWI (Scotland) 2000) enshrines principles of maintaining individual freedom and non-discriminatory responses for all people. These principles apply equally to the person with dementia, yet all too often, the individual is treated with a child-like response for behaviour that does not fit with what is considered ‘acceptable’. How the individuals express their sexuality, whether they be heterosexual, gay, lesbian, transgender or bisexual requires that we respond and support in ways that maintain their sense of wellbeing.”

The guide includes specific information for staff working with people who are gay or lesbian to help educate and ensure high-quality care for all.

Note: available for loan at Alzheimer’s Australia Vic library, contact us here to request this guide

Website: Matrix Guild Victoria, Publications on how Aged Care Services can be more LGBT-friendly

matrix_guild_websiteThis website has 4 research reports which detail the experiences of LGBT people in aged care and include detailed recommendations and strategies to make aged care more LGBT inclusive.

Guide: Making your service intersex-friendly, Organisation Intersex International

This guide helpintersex_brochures to explain who are intersex people and how services can better include them.