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New partnership supports the LGBTI community

Monday 8 March, 2021

Dementia Support Australia, a program funded by the Australian Government, is committed to supporting all people with dementia where changes in behaviour impact their care. In line with this commitment, we are pleased to announce our partnership with LGBTIQ+ Health Australia.

It is estimated that 11 per cent of the Australian population identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex people (LGBTI). Many LGBTI people living with a diagnosis of dementia may not disclose their sexuality making it difficult to determine the number of LGBTIQ people living with dementia in Australia.

Dementia Support Australia (DSA) reports the primary factors contributing to behaviours and psychological symptoms that an LGBTI person experiences are similar to those reported for people with dementia who are not LGBTI. However, the underlying causes of these changes in behaviour and effective care strategies and recommendations to support the person may be different.

Older LGBTI Australians have lived most of their lives during a time when disclosing their sexual orientation or gender history would lead to stigmatisation, discrimination, and even criminal conviction. Loss of family, community and employment was also feared. The impact of living through these times continues when a person is diagnosed with dementia and requires understanding and support.

 Director of the Dementia Centre, A/Professor Colm Cunningham, indicated that “It is important that we better understand the needs of people who identify as LGBTI and this partnership provides an opportunity to expand our knowledge through staff training and education, carer support, and tailored resources.”

 “True inclusion is more than using the right language, we’re working towards ensuring all people we support, including all diversity of bodies, genders, relationships and sexualities, feel safe, supported and even celebrated. Achieving this is a critical aspect of this partnership.”

Nicky Bath, CEO of LGBTIQ+ Health Australia, stated, “In light of the recent recommendations from the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, our work with Dementia Support Australia is urgently needed in meeting the needs of LGBTIQ+ older people, their families, friends and carers. The Royal Commission formally identified many LGBTIQ+ older peoples’ needs are not being currently met by the current aged care system – this partnership will help to rectify this.”

LGBTIQ+ Health Australia is the national peak health organisation in Australia for organisations and individuals that provide health-related programs, services and research focused on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex people and other sexuality and gender diverse (LGBTIQ+) people and communities.

For more information please visit www.dementia.com.au