Skip to main content

The dementia challenge for LGBT communities

a paper based on a roundtable discussion, 2 December 2014

Speakers stressed that people’s past experiences of prejudice affect their perception of support. “The generation of older people that we’re seeing come into the care sector have lived through massive changes in attitudes …this is very significant if they develop dementia,” said one commentator. Another added: “People in their 80s and 90s really struggled [because of their sexual orientation]…People had electric shock treatment..they were threatened with their families or their bosses finding out”.

The roundtable stressed that prejudice still exist, despite a raft of equality rights legislation such as the Equality Act and the Equal Marriage Act (see separate box on The law and LGBT people).

The debate heard an anecdote about staff in one care home who, having supported a burgeoning friendship between two older residents, were horrified to discover they were gay and beginning a relationship. They stopped seating them next to each other and threatened to tell the family of one of the men. Another speaker recalled an older woman she knew who was forced to hide “evidence” of her lesbian life when her home support visited.
Discussion moved onto other challenges faced by those needing support for dementia.