Among all the discussion ageing and aged care in Australia, until recently there was little focus on the needs of LGBTI seniors, who often do not feel comfortable coming out and instead hide their sexuality.
At Home Nursing Group, we support older LGBTI people to feel safe outside of the closet, and to provide them with care that is free from discrimination.
LGBTI refers to people with diverse sexual orientations (lesbian, gay, bisexual), gender identity (transgender) or sex identity (intersex). This term also encompasses other sexualities and sex/gender non-conforming people.
LGBTI people do have specific needs as they age, but fear of facing prejudice or hostility means that a significant population of seniors are missing out on much-needed services. Home Nursing Group believes that older LGBTI people deserve the same respect and support as any other member of the community.
People of diverse orientations or identities often require particular attention due to past experiences of discrimination and an ongoing sense of exclusion.
Older LGBTI people have sometimes lived timeswhen they suffered discrimination, rejection and social isolation. Some even grew up knowing their sexual orientation or gender identity could lead to them being imprisoned or forced into medical ‘therapies’. They were at risk of losing their jobs, their friends, their families, and their reputations. Homosexuality was considered a disease that could be cured; as a result, many LGBTI seniors were made to hide who they were in order to remain safe.
Today, the closet can still feel like the safest place to be. Elderly LGBTI share the experience of being part of a minority population, and this can have a detrimental impact on their health and wellbeing.
Recently, the Australian Government has recognised LGBTI people as a so-called “special needs group” within the aged care legislation, which is certainly a step in the right direction; however, the need for such recognition highlights the ongoing discrimination problem that can exist, especiallywithin nursing homes.
This is where choosing to remain in one’s own home as long as possible becomes a particularly viable and comforting choice, and Home Nursing Group provides this possibility to anyone who wishes to use it.
While legislative reforms have come a long way in promoting equality, many LGBTI people hide their sexual orientation, sex or gender identity on a daily basis because they continue to fear discrimination. To be true to our authentic selves is the hard-won right of old age. Through the comfort of exceptional home care, Home Nursing Group ensures that everybody has the right to this basic freedom — the right to feel safe, content, and cared for, regardless of who they are or whom they love.