The Australian government is currently reforming the aged care sector. For the first time, the unique concerns and challenges faced by older LGBTI people are being recognised. LGBTI people have had a unique experience of discrimination for most of their lives. Here in Queensland in particular it was illegal to be homosexual until 1990 and a mental health issue until 1974.

This has led many older LGBTI people to lead double lives or to not disclose to those who they rely on for care as they age, most have been in the closet their whole lives or re-entered it as they aged.

This is about to change, the aged care sector are well aware that the baby boomers are on their way, with their flair for technology and savvy business sense that will see them demanding the best bang for their buck and choice about the type of care they will engage with. This is no different for older LGBTI people, many of whom have fought hard during their lives for the freedom that many people experience today.

They will not be going back into the closet and retiring their rainbow flag. They will be out and proud into their later years and expect non judgemental and non discriminatory services, both in home and residential.

This offers the aged care sector a unique opportunity to get on board and up skill their staff to understand the specific needs of older LGBTI people in Queensland.

Healthy Communities has been delivering LGBT awareness training in Queensland for the past seven years and are currently offers LGBT seniors-specific training to both home care and residential care services.

This will enable services to understand the lived experiences of members of the LGBTI community, their specific health needs, the social pressures that impact on their health and how to offer an inclusive service to this particular client group.

by  RICKI MENZIES

INFO: Contact Ricki Menzies via [email protected]

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