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LGBT News - 17th March 2010

roger1941

Registered User
Jan 9, 2008
43
0
East Kent
www.alzheimers.org.uk
London Borough of Barnet LGBT Conference
The London Borough of Barnet is hosting a half-day event on Monday 22nd March from 12.30 - 4.30pm. Entitled 'Get Aware!' the aim is to raise awareness of the issues faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people when using social care services.
There will be an emphasis on LGBT carers and LGBT people with dementia.
Further details from dawn.rowe@barnet.gov.uk or call 020 8359 4579

Information about lesbian, gay and bisexual ageing
The following information from the Age Concern website highlights the distinctive needs of older LGB's and raises questions about the possible incidence of dementia within our community:-

There is a growing body of research in the US that is allowing us to compare older lesbians,gay men and bisexuals with the their heterosexual counterparts. They point to some key differences that have profound implications for service providers.
In research conducted by the Brookdale Center on Aging in New York, for example, it was found that older LGBs have significantly diminished support networks when compared to the general older population. Brookdale found that:

up to 75% of older LGBs live alone (compare to less than 33% in the general older population

90% have no children (compared to less than 20% in the general older population)

80% age as single people, without a life partner or 'significant other' (compared to less that 40% in the general older population)

When compared to their heterosexual counterparts, therefore, older LGBs are:-

2.5 times as likely to live alone
twice as likely to age as a single person
4.5 times as likely to have no children to call upon in times of need


This translates into a lack of traditional support networks that are not replaced by the strength of other close friendships or the size of informal support networks within the LGB community, with the result that:

20% of older LGBs indicate they have no one to call on in a time of crisis or difficulty - a rate up to 10 times highter than that seen in the general older population.

This means that older LGB are much more reliant on and have a much greater need for professional services and formal support systems in old age than is the case with their heterosexual counterparts. However other studies in the US have shown that LGB do not access the programmes and services they need. In fact older LGBs are 5 times less likely to acceess services for older people than is the case in the general older population, because they fear discrimination, homophobia and ignorance and that they will have to hide their sexuality.
 

danny

Registered User
Sep 9, 2009
3,342
0
cornwall/real name is Angela
Hi Roger,as a service provider I am very interested in your posts.
On assessment forms etc we always ask about sexuality and we more often than not are worried about the responses we get back from people using our services and their relatives when this subject comes up.

To be honest,we usually skip this question but leave the form to be completed and posted back.

I know that we should do this better.

What is interesting though,in 20 years of form filling in,we have never had any boxes ticked other than heterosexual.
We do have a variety of carers working for us who are quite open regarding their sexuality.

I know that if someone asked me what sexuality I was I would tell them to mind their own business,but that is me.

How would you suggest we do things better.

I do not give my personal views to my staff by the way!

Bear in mind that we are in Cornwall!The Cornish think anyone over the Tamar are foreign!
Hope you don`t mind me asking for advice.
Regards,Angela.
 

roger1941

Registered User
Jan 9, 2008
43
0
East Kent
www.alzheimers.org.uk
Hi Angela

Thanks for that response and here is a reply that will probably be hopeless.

Firstly I belive that while we conveniently ignore the LGBT issue and just wait for a client with courage to pipe up and say that they are LGBT, and while we fail to ask the question about sexuality, then we are compounding the problem and will not move forward. At the point when professionals positively speak about being LGBT then that approach will start to become part of our holistic way of caring and then LGBT people will feel safer to speak about their orientation.

Secondly we need to start by clearly and positively posting the fact that we really do believe in equal rights; put something on the wall and put the words 'sexual orientation'in bold so they are there for all to see. If we dont do that then we conspire with others more prejudiced than ourselves who believe that it should remain the great unmentionable

Thirdly there is a belief that those who are older should not be exposed to things like equal opps and people who are different ('there werent any gays about when i was young!' etc). I do not believe that being elderly excuses one from practising equality and celebrating it; it is a fundamental feature of being a citizen of this country and of being a moral human being - yes I put it as strongly as that. The elderly are not excused from this commitment by virtue of their age. Residents and those receiving service provision, or their representatives, could be asked to sign a simple agreement that they recognise that the service practices inclusion and diversity and that they agree to abide by that - and the implication of that needs spelling out in detail before offering and receiving the service. We play lip service to these principles and insufficiently commit ourselves to them, in my view.

Fourthly as professionals we all know how to approach difficult questions with the right speech intonation etc etc. The problem very often is that as professionals we are too concerned to appear not to offend and there remain some who are not even committed to positive affirmation of a persons sexuality and wish to abide only by the letter of the law. When you make the right noises, people like me feel safe and more confidently 'come out'

Have you seen the video 'Roger's Story'? Go to www.scie.org.uk/socialcaretv

I cant even believe that this makes sense Angela!!!!

Best wishes
 

danny

Registered User
Sep 9, 2009
3,342
0
cornwall/real name is Angela
Thankyou Roger,and you made some good sense.
You are very correct in saying that approach helps and making people feel comfortable.
I will have a look at the link later.
Some of our service users have no concept of equality so I may start on that little project next:)
Kind regards,Angela.