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2014 National LGBT Conference
26 September 2014

Conference notes the difficulties faced by an ageing population and the strains put on adult social care by the ConDem’s celebration of austerity. Conference is concerned that older lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people, who may be or become disabled, facing the need for care, whether in care homes or their own homes via homecare services, have grave concerns about revealing that they are LGBT for fear of discrimination.

Stonewall’s ‘Guide for care and support services working with older lesbian gay and bisexual (LGB) people’ highlighted the real fears faced by LGB people as they contemplate ageing and the need for future care. The research for the report found that:

1)Gay and bisexual older men are 3 times more likely to be single than heterosexual men;

2. 41% of LGB older people live alone compared to 28% of older heterosexual people;

3. 3 in 5 LGB people are not confident that social care and support services meet their needs;

4. 50% are uncomfortable about being out to care home staff.

The Equality Act 2010 imposes a duty on organisations in England, Scotland and Wales delivering public services to publish equality objectives which outline how they plan to tackle inequalities in different groups including LGBT and disabled people. It also requires them to publish data on how they are meeting the aims of the duty. Examples of equality objectives might include:

a)Improving the experience of older LGBT people in care homes or in receipt of homecare

b. Providing better information and services to older LGBT people;

c. Improving health care provision to older LGBT people;

d. Demonstrating a commitment to LGBT Equality.

Conference notes that there are examples of excellent practice and welcomes regulator-endorsed guidelines for providers of domiciliary, residential and day care to support inclusive provision for older LGBT people in Northern Ireland. Titled ‘See me, hear me, know me’, the guidelines were developed by a partnership including UNISON.

Conference believes that UNISON’s Ethical Care Charter is an important tool in delivering equality in homecare for both service users and the workers who provide the care. Conference further believes that UNISON’s LGBT, disabled and retired members groups at local, regional and national level can play an important role in encouraging service providers and other interested organisations to adopt the Charter. They can also play a role in seeing the Charter is fully implemented that older and/or disabled LGBT people are not discriminated against in care provision and that their needs are met.

Conference calls the national LGBT committee to work with the national disabled members and the national retired members committees to encourage engagement and provide a framework for use by regions and branches when becoming involved with organisations delivering public services to older people to assist them in ensuring that equality objectives for older LGBT people are set and met.