Why is this Programme needed?

LGBT Champions Programme

Why is this Programme needed?

By 2031 the number of people aged 65 years and over is expected to grow to over 1 million, and to almost 1.5 million by 2046 (According to the CSO). It is estimated that up to 8% of persons in Ireland aged-65 years and over may be lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people, and while some of the challenges of getting older may be similar for all ageing populations, older LGBT+ people face significant challenges.  

Older LGBT+ People are:

  • More likely to be single and to live alone
  • Less likely to have children and less likely to have strong family connections and support
  • more likely to have lost partners or friends to illness
  • more likely to suffer poor mental health and well-being.  

These factors and the lack of meaningful community and social support means that older LGBT+ people are at a much higher risk of being lonely and isolated compared to older people in general, having a huge negative impact on their mental and physical health and well-being over time.

It is crucial that mainstream health and social care services are welcoming and supportive of this population group, so that older LGBT+ people can enjoy the equality of access to health and social care support services as they need it. 

Older LGBT+ people often feel that health and social care systems are unwelcoming, leading to mistrust and poor uptake of health and social services.

The Visible Lives study showed that 40% of older LGBT+ people in Ireland were not comfortable being open with their health and social care provider about their sexual orientation, sexual identity or sexual expression for fear of rejection or discrimination.  Many of those surveyed feared that healthcare staff would not understand or would discriminate against them because they were LGBT+.  The study also found that many older LGBT+ people perceive nursing homes as unwelcoming or insensitive to their healthcare and social needs.

To register your interest in becoming a Champion, email training@lgbt.ie and request an application form