Sociolegal and practice implications of caring for LGBT people with dementia
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Sociolegal and practice implications of caring for LGBT people with dementia

Elizabeth Peel Professor of communication and social interaction, Department of Social Sciences, Loughborough University
Helen Taylor Senior lecturer, Institute of Health and Society, University of Worcester
Rosie Harding Professor of law and society, Birmingham Law School, University of Birmingham

The needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) people with dementia are poorly recognised. This is due partly to assumptions that all older people are heterosexual or asexual.

One quarter of gay or bisexual men and half of lesbian or bisexual women have children, compared with 90% of heterosexual women and men, which means LGBT older adults are more likely to reside in care homes. Older LGBT people may be unwilling to express their sexual identities in care settings and this can affect their care. Members of older people’s informal care networks must be recognised to ensure their involvement in the lives of residents in care settings continues. However, healthcare professionals may not always realise that many LGBT people rely on their families of choice or wider social networks more than on their families of origin.

This article explores sociolegal issues that can arise in the care of older LGBT people with dementia, including enabling autonomy, capacity and applying legal frameworks to support their identities and relationships. It also highlights implications for practice.

Nursing Older People. 28, 10, 26-30. doi: 10.7748/nop.2016.e852

Correspondence

E.Peel@lboro.ac.uk

Peer review

This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and checked for plagiarism using automated software

Conflict of interest

None declared

Received: 12 July 2016

Accepted: 01 November 2016