Two in three older LGBT+ people have faced discrimination or abuse in the healthcare system, discouraging them from seeking treatment.
The finding is part of a review of existing research commissioned by PinkNews Media Group ahead of its first-ever Ageing Summit to identify key issues relevant to older LGBT+ people in areas such as healthcare, social care, housing and financial services.
The summit, held on Tuesday (May 14) in London, will use the findings and recommendations of the review carried out by Aegon to form the basis of its discussion on issues facing older LGBT+ people—broadly understood to be those aged 50+.
Research has shown that, as well as encountering discrimination in healthcare, older LGBT+ people also face prejudice in residential, nursing and assisted care, leading them to either hide their sexuality or discard those options for their care.
Adding to the list of issues is the lack of housing projects catering to older LGBT+ people—the Manchester City Council’s plans to create the UK’s first retirement community for LGBT+ people, announced in 2017, have yet to materialise.
The review also found a lack of research focusing on the financial services needs of older LGBT+ people as well as lack of detailed understanding of the needs of specific segments of the elderly LGBT+ population, as research predominantly focuses on the experiences of “white, middle-class, well-educated, urban men who actively participate in the gay community.”
Needs of older LGBT+ people should be included in LGBT Action Plan
Recent research such as a report from the International Longevity Centre, has found that older LGBT+ people in the UK suffer from poorer physical and mental health than their straight peers.
PinkNews and Aegon’s review sets out several recommendations to tackle the issues facing older LGBT+ people, for instance amending the government’s LGBT Action Plan to focus more greatly on the needs of the elderly LGBT+ population, dedicating resources towards projects that are already taking place in the housing, health and social care, and legal and financial sectors.
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Another recommendation focuses on setting and enforcing anti-discrimination standards across healthcare, social care and housing providers, including the provision of training to staff to improve the treatment of older LGBT+ people.
The review also suggests a role for the private sector to play in supporting older LGBT+ people, for instance disseminating information on the issues so they are prepared to make the necessary arrangements for later on in life.
“The recommendations in this report, and the research that informs it, have the potential to drive meaningful progress in the fight against inequality over the coming years.”
— Benjamin Cohen
“The first generations of LGBT+ people to have witnessed decriminalisation are ageing. For some, this means entering a care system which still fails to meet the needs of our community. My hope is that these generations who fought so hard and lost so much for the rights we now enjoy are not forgotten,” said PinkNews CEO Benjamin Cohen.
He added: “The recommendations in this report, and the research that informs it, have the potential to drive meaningful progress in the fight against inequality over the coming years.”
Stephen McGee, CFO of Aegon UK, said: “We welcome the publication of the review which brings together a multitude of studies on the issues facing the LGBT+ community when it comes to ageing.
“Whether it’s concern about ensuring financial assets are passed on to the right beneficiaries or a worry about the potential for discrimination in later life care, the Review points to a number of areas associated with finance, housing, care and health which warrant further investigation.”
See PinkNews’ full Ageing Summit report below: