John-Paul Dennis of Kirwans’ Private Client Department in Liverpool, believes that a sense of embarrassment, or a fear of acceptance about their sexuality, means that many of the ageing LGBT community are pretending they are straight. He also claims that their unease is deterring many others from moving into residential care in the first place.
Dennis said: “Moving into residential care can be worrying for any older person. But when that person is lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, it can raise further concerns for the individual involved.”
“The lack of ‘gay’ or gay friendly residential homes in the UK is leading to people hiding their sexuality for fear that they will be ostracised or abused amongst fellow residents who carry with them deeply engrained prejudices and misconceptions about the LGBT community.
Dennis’ concerns are reinforced by the national Rainbow Lives project, which was last year awarded £2,500 by Unlimited Engage to investigate how they are treated as they get older and require support.
In response to this, The Rainbow Lives Project has developed a training package which is used by Liverpool’s In-Trust Merseyside to provide much needed in-house diversity training for care workers and staff of residential care homes, Housing Associations and Sheltered Accommodation.
Dennis said: “The Navajo scheme is an excellent way of ensuring that older gay people who need specialist care are able to access it without feeling that they have to go back into the closet. We welcome Rainbow Lives’ efforts to improve the lives of vulnerable older members of the LGBT community.”