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LGBTIQ+ and dementia

Tailored supports and resources are essential for the LGBTIQ+ community as well as their care partners, family and friends.

Approximately 11% of the Australian population identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex people (LGBTIQ+). The number of LGBTIQ+ people living with dementia is unknown as many choose not to disclose their sexuality and/or gender diversity.

Not wanting to disclose gender and sexuality diversity is often a result of LGBTIQ+ people having experienced lack of understanding or discrimination in a broad range of environments, including health care and other care settings.

There is a need for greater, targeted support for LGBTIQ+ people with dementia from all care contexts. Tailored supports and resources are essential for the LGBTIQ+ community as well as their care partners, family and friends.

Resources for the LGBTIQ+ community

Readily available resources for the LGBTIQ+ community include:

Unfortunately, people in the LGBTIQ+ community who develop dementia may face social exclusion, isolation and discrimination when accessing care and support via the aged and disability care systems.

Ongoing education, collaborative policy and inclusive practice is vital for all aged and disability care service providers. Fortunately, a range of programs and resources are available to help your organisation to become LGBTIQ+ friendly.

Resources for organisations supporting the LBGTIQ+ community

New projects and collaborations

New collaborations and projects are also taking place to help develop resources for the LGBTIQ+ community, and education programs for the disability and aged care sectors.

The Rainbow Connections project led by the Deakin University Institute for Health Transformation member Dr Louisa Smith, involves a range of collaborating organisations around Australia including ACON, Switchboard and QC. Volunteers of the national Community Visitors Scheme, LGBT+ people with dementia and other stakeholders are working together to co-design resources to assist volunteers in connecting and engaging with socially isolated LGBT+ people with dementia. To date, they have held four online workshops with community visitors who visit socially isolated LGBT+ people with dementia.

We’re still in the analysis phase, but early findings are the LGBT+ or queer community can do care and support really differently and that is often unknown and unrecognised in formal services,” said Dr Louisa Smith.

LGBTIQ+ Health Australia (the peak body for LGBTIQ+ Health in Australia) recently formed a new partnership with Dementia Support Australia, enabling both organisations to develop better supports, resources and knowledge for LGBTIQ+ people with dementia. This partnership began with the development of the LGBTI and Dementia – Understanding Changes in Behaviour booklet described above. They have also produced help-sheets including:


With thanks to Dr Louisa Smith.
Photo credit: Cecilie Johnsen on Unsplash


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