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Health Industry News

Older LGBT People at Increased Risk of Isolation, Warns Age Cymru West Glamorgan


Older LGBT People at Increased Risk of Isolation, Warns Age Cymru West Glamorgan


"The unfolding Swansea Pride celebrations show how embedded the LGBT community is within our society. However, the statistics highlight some concerning issues that can be hard to spot. "
Connor James, from Age Cymru West Glamorgan



With Pride week unfolding across Swansea, Age Cymru West Glamorgan has revealed that  older members of the LGBT community face an increasing risk of isolation and loneliness in their later years.

Latest figures from Age UK’s Later Life in the UK study reveal that LGBT people aged 65 and above are more likely to live alone in old age, with fewer links to the younger generations, thereby increasing their risk of isolation. The findings also show that the existence of older non-heterosexuals is rarely acknowledged in society.

Connor James, Chief Officer at Age Cymru West Glamorgan, said: “These statistics shed light upon the experiences and the feelings of many in the LGBT community, and they underline the importance of ensuring people do not feel marginalised or ignored, and that they do not feel they are suffering in silence. We have, of course, seen great societal changes across Wales and the wider UK around LGBT rights. And the unfolding Swansea Pride celebrations show how embedded the LGBT community is within our society. However, the statistics highlight some concerning issues that can be hard to spot.

"Other notable finding within these new figures show that the act of coming out is an on-going process - so every unfamiliar person and place, such as a hospital or nursing home, requires yet another decision about disclosure. And that since many older LGBT people will have experienced prejudice, discrimination, and, for some, even criminalisation of their sexual activities, each of these experiences can be stressful. The findings also show that older lesbians are likely to live longer than gay men, they are likely to be less well off in later life, so they may make greater use of health and social care services. So it is important that all of us who work within the health and the caring professions and sectors are alert to the importance of treating people with all lifestyles and from all sections of our community with the utmost professionalism, sensitivity and care.”

The study also highlights that, due to a general lack of awareness of trans health, there is a concern that older trans people’s needs are not being met within health and social services and that they anticipate negative treatment within home and residential care services. They may have anxieties about undressing, hygiene tasks, single-sex placements and facilities, and the attitudes they are likely to encounter from staff.

Age Cymru West Glamorgan provides support to those over 50, and their carers, in Swansea, Neath Port Talbot and Bridgend. They do this by way of a Homecare plus scheme, a range of services delivered in the home to help people manage daily living, an Information and Advice service, and a lunch club at the Afan Nedd Centre in Port Talbot.

For further information about their services go to:

https://www.ageuk.org.uk/cymru/west-glamorgan/

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