The Government’s National LGBT Survey, published in July, found that almost a quarter (23%) of respondents said that being out in a care setting had a negative impact on their care – and with the survey focusing primarily on under-35s where there is more mainstream understanding of sexuality and gender diversity, this has significant implications for older LGBT people.
Anna Kear, CEO of Tonic Housing, a dedicated project for developing a care space for older LGBT people in London, says: “Despite the advances in LGBT+ rights, statistics showing that 45% of older LGBT+ people have experienced discrimination when accessing social services and 73% are uncomfortable disclosing their sexuality to care staff indicate that there is still much work to be done.”
Tonic had originally identified a potential site in Lewisham, but in January announced it was now looking at seven potential sites across the capital and evaluating potential options. An announcement is expected later this year.
Outside of London, Manchester City Council announced its Extra Care housing project in February last year – the other major project dedicated to care for older LGBT people.
Beyond dedicated facilities
In addition to specific focused projects, a series of other initiatives have also begun, aimed at more effectively integrating care for older LGBT people into existing care provision.
Care providers can now benefit from a badge of approval from Opening Doors London, the UK’s largest charity to support older LGBT people. The Pride in Care Quality Standard, launched in June, covers a range of elements, including customer service, safety and security, and procedures.
Bristol University’s Centre for Health and Social Care has launched a new project in conjunction with the Diversity Trust, aimed at producing a dedicated online resource for care home managers and staff outlining best practice for supporting LGBT residents.
Dr. Paul Willis from the Centre for Health and Social Care says: “We know that older LGBT+ people in the UK can experience high levels of anxiety about coming out to health and social care professionals and workers, such as care home staff and managers. We want to produce a learning resource that’s online and freely available and that brings care home staff and their leaders up to speed on equality issues for older people with diverse gender and sexual identities.”
With a wealth of resources currently on their way for integrating care for older LGBT people within existing settings, and a variety of dedicated projects also in progress, there is a clear demand for appropriate care provision – now backed up with firmer guidance to point providers in the right direction.
Marketing Team at Residential and Home Care Show