agedcareIn a first for Sydney’s west, Bankstown City Council will offer prioritised community grants to organisations and events that highlight LGBTI-inclusiveness, particularly in the areas of aged care and mental health.

Bankstown City Council is calling for interested groups and persons to get in contact by early September to discuss options for holding an event or initiative celebrating Mental Health Awareness Week, Carers Awareness Week or Dementia Awareness Week – all of which will take place in October.

A spokesperson for Bankstown City Council told the Star Observer the idea for the grants developed out of the Council’s Social Planning Workshop for the LGBTI community held earlier this year.

“Financial support will be provided to proposed local initiatives that meet the LGBTI community’s needs,” the spokesperson said.

“The LGBTI community is now a special needs group under the Aged Care Act. This community have experienced a long history of neglect, stigmatisation, discrimination, marginalisation and hence, poorer mental health. As this community grows older, aged organisations need to tailor their service delivery to meet the LGBTI community’s needs.”

Dr Jo Harrison, a gerontologist at the University of South Australia and leading expert in LGBTI-aged care, told the Star Observer the moves by Bankstown City Council would undoubtedly contribute to a growing awareness of the importance of LGBTI aged care and the visibility of LGBTI elders at a community level.

“Mental health, carers and dementia related issues are crucially important in relation to LGBTI ageing and aged care. Other NSW Councils are also to be commended for recognising LGBTI issues in aged care, including City of Sydney and Marrickville, but it would be good to see these efforts broadened across all local government areas across the state,” she said.

“It will be important that LGBTI elders themselves are central to such local project development so that steps such as this at grass roots level closely involve those who are the experts at a personal level.”

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