Working with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people: older people and residential care: Roger's story

What is the video about?

In this video we meet Roger who talks about his experiences of care provided to a friend in residential care and hospice care provided for his partner. When David, a friend and former partner, was diagnosed with presenile dementia, Roger was happy to disclose information about David and his relationship but he felt that the staff at the home lacked empathy. The home learnt from their experience of working with Roger and David, making improvements so that the resident and those connected to them, felt safe, and comfortable to ‘come out’.

In 2002 Roger’s partner Michael was diagnosed with cancer which saw him enter a hospice. Both decided from the outset to be ‘out’ to the carers and health professionals working with them. The staff made the effort to understand the needs of the couple so they could provide appropriate support. Roger felt involved in Michael’s care provision and that their relationship was honoured and respected.

Messages for practice

  1. Some LGBT individuals fear that by moving into residential care they will lose control of their lives and effectively return to the closet owing to the possible ‘anti-gay’ beliefs of fellow residents and untrained staff.
  2. Dignity, respect and inclusion are paramount for partners and carers of LGBT individuals. This can be achieved through communicating and including those deemed as ‘family’ by the individual being provided for.
  3. Providers should not be afraid to ask questions to determine whether an LGBT individual wants to be open about being ‘out’. This can be done by using specific language which is open and inclusive of difference.
  4. Acknowledge and respect the relationship by including the loved one in the provision of care and recognising the significance of their input.

Who will find this useful?

Commissioners; directors of adult social services; social workers; social care workers; service users, their carers and families; social care and social work students; the general public.