Reprise: Older Gay and Lesbian People: Establishing the needs – GRAI 2007

May 26th, 2010

In 2007, GRAI published the results of it’s first survey from data collected over Pride Month, Oct 2006.

PDF GRAI report 2007

Establishing the Need
Data gathered on the needs and interests from within the community
Survey N = 144
The demographic data collected included:

Sexual orientation
Employment status

Among the results were:

Male = 70
Female = 69
Trans = 4
Intersex = 1

Age Range:
> 30 = 16 31 – 40 = 32 41- 50 = 46
51 – 55 = 11 56 – 60 = 16 61- 65 = 13
66 – 70 = 5 71 – 75 = 2 76 – 80 = 3

Sexual Orientation:
Gay = 66 Lesbian = 56 Bisexual = 1
Queer = 1 Dyke = 2 Straight = 3
Same-sex attracted = 2 Don’t use labels = 3 Other = 2
(NB: not all respondents answered all questions)

Establishing the Need
Community Survey Results:
Respondents were asked to respond to a series of eleven statements with selected responses including:

Strongly Agree (SA)
Agree (A)
Disagree (D)
Strongly Disagree (SD)

The survey also included an invitation to offer suggestions and comments for further consideration.

53 respondents indicated they were currently looking or interested in retirement accommodation/living options:
133 – were interested in retirement options in future
112 – were concerned that they or someone they know may experience discrimination within the existing retirement accommodation sector/industry on the basis of sexual orientation
115 – felt their needs would not be met in the current environment
83 – felt they would be able to afford the kind of retirement or accommodation they wanted in the future
When thinking about retirement accommodation/living:
95 – agreed that a primary consideration was financial cost
96 – agreed that a primary consideration was housing style
91 – agreed that a primary consideration was location
89 – agreed that a primary consideration was lifestyle/recreation
125 – agreed that a primary consideration was acceptance/understanding of their sexuality/same-sex relationship
43 – agreed they were interested in retirement accommodation/lifestyle for their parents

Focus Groups:
Members of the GLBTI community were invited to attend a series of Focus Groups by advertising in the community press and fliers distributed at community events.
The Focus Groups were held in August at a central Perth location. Attendees at these sessions were asked a series of open-ended questions which included:

What are key issues that you are facing that need to be addressed?
How well do you think your needs are currently being met?
How can GRAI become an effective advocate for the GLBTI community?
What individual commitment are individuals prepared to make to assist GRAI to be an effective advocate?

A summary of the findings from these Focus Groups indicates the following:

Issues including isolation and loss of partners/friends are a main and recurring concern/issue for older GLBTI people;
Some people said they fear going into existing care/retirement facilities due to not ‘fitting in’;
Some people said they feel they will always need to be ‘on their guard’ if they go into existing care/retirement facilities;
There is a perception that existing aged care/retirement facilities have very homophobic attitudes;
There was some acknowledgment that there is some change/more openness in the wider community towards accepting GLBTI people in general;
There is a lack of family/informal care networks for older people in the GLBTI community;
There is a perceived lack of support groups for older people in the GLBTI community;
Some people said they want to live among non-judgmental people;
Other said they need choices and options like everyone else in the community;
There’s a perception that existing aged care/retirement facilities lack accommodation options for GLBTI people;
There is a perception that attitudes of staff towards GLBTI people need to be changed;
It was seen that there is insufficient training for staff in existing aged care/retirement facilities on GLBTI issues and how to speak with and treat GLBTI people;
Some people said they want to be part of more integrated communities not necessarily just specific GLBTI aged care facilities;
Existing facilities must acknowledge differences and be prepared to understand and cater for the wants and needs of older GLBTI people.

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