A survey by one of the largest not-for-profit providers of aged care in New South Wales, Uniting, has shown the biggest issues for members of the LGBTI community in relation to aged care.
Uniting undertook the research within older members of the LGBTI community, with 130 people in NSW answering the survey.
It found 88% of respondents believed visible signs of welcome is the top priority to improve the wellbeing of LGBTI people in aged care including residential, in-home care and independent living.
And 83% of respondents believed inclusive language and behaviour, treating disclosures with sensitivity, and support for partners is important.
Surprisingly, when choosing an aged care provider, having a service that is inclusive is more important (76%) than the quality of service (71%) or cost of service (50%).
Chief Executive, Uniting, Tracey Burton said, “This survey shows where we, and the sector as a whole, can improve so the LGBTI community feels a true sense of belonging in aged care services.”
“The LGBTI community can be worried about accessing aged care services, and we have to try extra hard to overcome those fears and tailor care to unique and varied needs.”
“I am proud that Uniting is leading in LGBTI inclusion. We’ve earned a Rainbow Tick, and we’re consistently recognised as one of Australia’s top LGBTI employers by the Australian Workplace Equity Index (AWEI) by Pride in Diversity.
“In addition, we’ve helped develop resources such as the MOSAIC app, so LGBTI people can more easily plan their ageing needs.”
The survey also found that 48% of people did not have trouble accessing services because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, and 34% neither agreed or disagreed that it had affected access to services.
97-year-old David Beard is a resident of The Marion at Leichhardt says he has never been discriminated against, and people should not feel afraid of entering aged care.
“Most people know that I’m gay but all sorts of people make up the world.
“It’s nothing to be afraid of if you just treat people with respect. You get what you put in.
“Everyone’s accepted here and I feel that I belong.”
Find out more about Uniting.