Dementia in the LGBTIQ+ community

There is limited literature and data exploring the needs of LGBTIQ+ Australians living with dementia. However, there is discussion surrounding the prior treatment of LGBTIQ+ Australians, and how this may impact the experiences of LGBTIQ+ people living with dementia. Historically, LGBTIQ+ Australians have faced the possibility of arrest and imprisonment, psychiatric incarceration and enforced attempted ‘cure’ treatments as a result of disclosure (Crameri et al. 2015).

The We are still gay report details past experiences as common concerns for the interviewees and highlights the struggles faced by many participants to secure service providers and carers that the interviewees felt safe with (Crameri et al. 2015). The report draws on research by two studies conducted by the Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society (ARCSHS) at La Trobe University.

The LGBTI Dementia project conducted in partnership with Alzheimer’s Australia documented the experiences and needs of LGBTI people living with dementia and the Trans Ageing and Aged Care project conducted in collaboration with the Gender Centre NSW, Transgender Victoria and FTM Shed documented trans people’s experiences of ageing and aged care, including their experiences of dementia. Both projects undertook a series of detailed interviews; including 10 interviews with 17 participants in the LGBTI Dementia project, and 15 interviews with 15 participants in the Trans Ageing and Aged Care project.

Despite the lack of current research available on LGBTIQ+ Australians’ with dementia, programs, resources and frameworks have been produced recognising the LGBTIQ+ population as a priority group among those with dementia and more broadly in the ageing population:

  • The LGBTI and dementia guide is a free resource from Dementia Australia for people living with dementia who are part of the LGBTI community, their partners, family and friends, with information on dementia, support services and finding inclusive service providers, legal rights and advanced care planning. Dementia Australia also provide links to a range of resources specifically for LGBTIQ+ people with dementia, their carers, friends and family.
  • The Rainbow Tick Standards is a current national accreditation program that was created to help guide LGBTIQ+ Australians in choosing inclusive service providers. The Standards are a set of six quality standards developed by GLHV (formerly known as Gay and Lesbian Health Victoria), in collaboration with Quality, Innovation and Performance. The Rainbow Tick is an optional accreditation for service providers, and are not the sole measure for inclusivity practice.
  • The Actions to Support LGBTI Elders: a Guide for Consumers and Actions to Support LGBTI Elders: a Guide for Aged Care providers details specific actions which can be adopted, in order to ensure inclusivity and respect to older LGBTI people.