A Bond University doctor has been awarded a $75,000 grant to help support same-sex attracted older people living with dementia.

Dr Cindy Jones received the Dementia Australia Research Foundation Project Grant to work on facilitating inclusive and supportive care environments for older people, allowing those living with dementia to feel comfortable expressing their sexual preferences.

The funding forms part of $1 million dollars in grants that have been awarded to 17 groundbreaking projects in dementia research.

Jones said the ability of people living with dementia to express their sexuality is important to their physical and sexual health, as well as their overall quality of life.

“Discussions with key stakeholders and a review of literature on the subject have highlighted the limited work undertaken to examine the preferences of people with dementia for their expression of sexuality as part of health and social care,” she said.

“This project will help professionals in aged care to understand and honour the sexual preferences of older adults, particularly those living with dementia, who have often been overlooked in the past.

“Relevant care staff need to be more equipped to start these conversations and make progress in this area.

“The funding will strive towards a model of care to support people living with dementia in a neglected and stigmatised area, in long-term care settings that is both person-centred and consumer-directed.”

The Chair of the Dementia Australia Research Foundation, Professor Graeme Samuel, said the grants provided a valuable opportunity to researchers who wanted to make a difference in the field of dementia.

“We are investing in the next generation of Australian researchers who will be among those tackling some of the biggest challenges in this field,” he said.

“These grants are highly competitive and sought after in the research sector, and provide vital insights into reducing dementia risk, improving accurate and timely diagnoses, and establishing treatment and care options for people who live with dementia.

“Without a medical breakthrough, the number of people with dementia is expected to increase to almost 1.1 million by 2058. Research into dementia is now more urgent than ever.”

In July 2018, Dementia Australia launched new dementia resources to support LGBTI people living with dementia.

The resources were developed to raise awareness and to improve support, care, and knowledge of services available for LGBTI people and their families, friends, and carers.

Chief Executive of Dementia Australia, Maree McCabe, said that traditionally, resources for LGBTI people living with dementia were difficult to access.

“In producing these resources, we were privileged to work with Anne and Edie along with others and focus on the unique challenges faced by LGBTI people living with dementia in accessing credible information on dementia care,” she said.

“We are very excited to have launched these resources for members of the LGBTI community living with dementia.”

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