New discussion paper: ‘Dementia, Lesbians and Gay Men’

19 November, 2009

Australia’s largest community-based gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and Intersex (GLBTI) health and HIV/AIDS organisation – and Aged and Community Services Association of NSW & ACT are pleased to announce the new discussion paper, ‘Dementia, Lesbians and Gay Men’ will be launched by the Hon. Michael Kirby, former Justice of the High Court of Australia, today.

A recent report (Access Economics, ‘Keeping Dementia Front of Mind’, September 2009) predicts over 1.1 million Australians will have dementia by 2050.

As a consequence, the health care system and the quality of life of Australians will come under even greater pressure.

The impact of dementia on the GLBTI community is already beginning to present itself.

Although lesbians and gay men face many of the same challenges around dementia as heterosexuals, such as advanced care planning, assessment, community or residential care arrangements, many also face additional challenges such as social isolation, relationship recognition and navigating a complicated legislative environment.

“Many lesbians and gay men who are now facing a dementia diagnosis became adults at a time when social and legal discrimination was extremely prevalent in this country,” said Glenn Rees, CEO of Alzheimer’s Australia.

“Given an increased likelihood that gay men and lesbians may experience isolation as they grow older and this, in combination with a fear of coming out to service providers, may lead to anxiety and depression.”

Alzheimer’s Australia’s discussion paper, ‘Dementia, Lesbian and Gay Men’, provides practical advice on the issues many lesbians and gay men with dementia and their carers may face. In addition, it is a valuable resource for practitioners working in health care and related fields.

“The discussion paper contains valuable information on important issues of health and wellbeing for the GBLTI community,” said ACON President, Mark Orr. “It is our great pleasure to partner with community-based organisations, such as Alzheimer’s Australia, to address key issues such as ageing.”

Jill Pretty, CEO of Aged and Community Services NSW & ACT, said, “As our population ages there will be a greater need for professional and volunteer services in the community sector in the future. The GLBTI community faces its own challenges as the baby boomer generation reaches retirement age.

“This discussion paper provides practical advice about the challenges many members of the GLBTI community will face as they navigate the difficult path that dementia presents.”

Source: Alzheimer's Australia