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Meeting the needs of older LGBT people

By: Age UK
Published on 13 November 2017 12:00 PM

New resource pack for health and care professionals - meeting the needs of older LGBT people.

Age UK has worked with the older LGBT charity Opening Doors London and author Sally Knocker to develop a new LGBT (lesbian, gay, bi and trans) guide for health and social care providers – an area where resources and guidance is sparse. Called ‘Safe to be me’, this essential resource offers practical advice on being the kind of service in which older LGBT people can feel safe and accepted for who they are.

The resource is written for anyone working or volunteering in health, social care or the voluntary sector who would like to support older people who are lesbian, gay, bi or trans. It will also be helpful for training providers to ensure courses integrate discussions and scenarios relating to the needs of people who are LGBT.

With helpful exercises, real-life case studies and checklists for good practice, the resource is guided throughout by the voices and experiences of older LGBT people themselves.  Voices such as Ian and Julie’s below:

'The staff in the home very rarely gave us any time alone together and on one occasion Arthur was taken seriously ill and transferred to hospital without them notifying me. The man I love could have died and I wouldn’t have been there or even known.' Ian

'It was such a relief when the Age UK befriender enabled me to open up about being a lesbian after so many years of hiding. She didn’t push but she gave plenty of positive messages that she didn’t have a problem. At 78 I finally feel I’m safe to be me.' Julie

Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK says: 'The sorts of experiences captured in this guide highlight the importance of creating an inclusive environment where people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or trans can feel safe, secure and accepted for who they are.  This is an important resource to help deliver genuinely "LGBT affirming" health and care services and we would encourage any individual professional or organisation involved in this area to use it as part of their practical toolkit.'

Sally Knocker, Consultant Trainer with Dementia Care Matters and Opening Doors London Rainbow Cafe Coordinator, says:  'As we go grey, we don’t become less gay, but sometimes we can feel less visible and more vulnerable. My hope is this guide will encourage teams to realise that it is often the simple things that can help those of us who are LGBT to feel confident that we can be open about our lives and not feel judged for who we are.'

Visit Safe to be me to download the resource.

- Ends –

Notes to editors:

For more information contact Liz Fairweather on telephone number 020 3033 1718 or email

Age UK

Age UK is a national charity that works with its national partners, Age Scotland, Age Cymru and Age NI and its local Age UK partners across England. It also works globally to support older people, especially in developing countries, through its subsidiary charity Age International.

Age UK believes that everyone should have the opportunity to make the most of later life, whatever their circumstances. It provides free information, advice and support to over six million people and carries out research and campaigns on the issues that matter most to older people. Its work focuses on ensuring older people have enough money; have good wellbeing; have access to the health and care support they need; feel safe and secure at home; and are able to make a full contribution to our society and are valued for it.

Age UK is a charitable company limited by guarantee and registered in England (registered charity number 1128267 and company number 6825798). Age Concern England and Help the Aged (both registered charities), and their trading and other associated companies merged on the 1st April 2009. Charitable services are offered through Age UK and commercial products are offered by the Charity’s trading companies, which donate their net profits to Age UK (the Charity).

Opening doors

Opening Doors London is the biggest charity providing information, support and social opportunities to older lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans(LGBT) older people in the UK.

The charity welcomes new members over 50 and those who wish to support this important work. It also offers training and consultancy packages to help health and social care professionals develop the skills and expertise to make services more appropriate and inclusive for older LGBT people. Please visit:

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Last updated: Nov 13 2017

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