Older LGBT community faces social isolation and discrimination

Topics covered: Ridouts professional advice

Studies show that between 871,045 and 1,219,470 of the LGBT population in the UK are over the age of 65. Research suggests that this group is marginalised and their life stories, history and family are less valued, when it comes to their health and social care.

For many people growing older can be a frightening prospect due to a likely loss of mobility and fragilities which mean day-to-day care is needed. For the LGBT people, growing older can also mean a loss of identity too. Reports have shown older LGBT people having to go back into the closet to be admitted to care homes, or not being allowed admission to care homes because of their sexuality.

Older LGBT people report not having their partners acknowledged as next of kin, and many have faced both deliberate and unintentional discrimination and abuse by health and social care staff they have encountered.

In addition to this, these are people who have lived through times when identifying as LGBT had serious consequences. Often, they don’t have children and may be estranged from their siblings and families. They’re more likely to face social isolation, loss of friends as they get older and age discrimination.

Hopefully younger generations growing up will not have to live with these problems. But only time will tell if acceptance will be guaranteed for the LGBT people, as there is still room for improvement and changes in society’s attitudes.  Providers must ensure they don’t discriminate against individuals and the Equality Act 2010 helps to protect individuals with protected characteristics, such as sexual orientation, from discrimination.   A provider’s failure to comply with the provisions of the Equality Act could result in civil claims against them.

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