Opinion: Why looking after our older LGBT residents is important | Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Network news

Opinion: Why looking after our older LGBT residents is important

By Ruth Arnott, Customer Engagement Business Partner at Anchor Hanover

 

As England’ largest provider of housing and care for older people, Anchor Hanover ensures dignity and respect are central to the way we work. We are committed to listening and consulting with different groups.

Anchor Hanover’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans Advisory Group (LGBT+) was formed as a direct result of listening to our residents.

The group is of real value to residents who may be experiencing issues related to their LGBT+ status.

It also provides members with the opportunity for social connection with people similar to them and understand their life. 

As well as providing support to residents, the LGBT+ group helps to make Anchor Hanover a more informed organisation. Pointing out areas where our service to our LGBT+ residents could be improved.

The following statistics show how necessary the group is:

  • Recent experimental statistics by the ONS reported that 2.1% of those aged 50+ (equating to around 260,000 individuals) identify as lesbian, gay or bisexual (ONS, 2016).
  • Having spent much of their early adult years in social, political and medical environments in which homosexuality was illegal or considered a mental illness, some older LGBT adults conceal or avoid disclosing their sexual identity for fear of discrimination (CPA, 2016).
  • Although lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are often grouped together, they are diverse and have varied and disparate needs (CPA, 2016).
  • LGBT older adults are less likely to be married than their heterosexual peers, less likely to have children, and are more likely to live alone (Kim, Fredriksen-Goldsen, Bryan, & Muraco, 2017).
  • LGBT people are known to face a number of barriers when accessing services, these can include: discrimination, inappropriate questions and curiosity. These barriers can prevent fair equal treatment in health and social care settings (GOV.UK, 2019).
  • LGBT individual who are from ethnic minority communities or who have disabilities can face additional inequalities (PHE, 2017).
  • LGBT people are at greater risk of common mental health problems such as depression, anxiety and stress (PHE, 2017).
  • Older LGB adults have higher risk of disability, smoking, and increased alcohol consumption compared to older straight people (Cannon, Shukla, & Vanderbilt, 2017).
  • Older transgender adults are at higher risk of poor physical health, disability, depression, and perceived stress (Cannon et al., 2017).
  • 88,769 people accessing HIV medical care, the average age is 45, 1/3 are over 50, 58% live in social housing, 16% homeowners, 58% living alone

These statistics show just why it is so important that there is an LGBT+ group available to residents, especially those who have concerns about moving into sheltered housing or a care home as an older LGBT+ person.

Anchor Hanover’s LGBT+ group welcomes new members.

Further information is available on our website https://www.anchorhanover.org.uk/guides-and-support/lesbian-gay-bisexual-trans-group