Rainbow Ageing: Housing Security & Experiences of Aged Care Services
We are delighted to announce the publication of our first two journal articles based on the Rainbow Ageing study, with plenty more in the works.
The first paper explores older lesbian and gay people’s feelings toward housing security and is based on the national survey.
The second paper explores older lesbian and gay people’s experiences of aged care and home care services in Australia and is based on qualitative interviews.
Demographic and psychosocial predictors of housing security in older lesbian and gay Australians
Citation: Alba, Beatrice., Lyons, Anthony., Waling, Andrea., Minichiello, Victor., Hughes, Mark., Barrett, Catherine., Fredriksen-Goldsen, Karen., Blanchard, Michelle., & Irlam, Corey. (2019). “Demographic and psychosocial predictors of housing security in older lesbian and gay Australians” The International Journal of Aging and Human Development. [online first]. doi: https://doi.org/10.1177/0091415019843449
Rising house prices mean that more and more older people are reaching retirement age without owning their own home, or without having paid off their mortgage. Older lesbian and gay people are often faced with additional barriers, such as stigma and discrimination, which can threaten their sense of housing security. Therefore we examined a range of potential demographic and psychosocial predictors of housing security among 679 lesbian women and gay men aged 60 years and older living in Australia.
We found that those who were younger, had people they felt they could depend on, had better self-rated health, and had fewer experiences of sexual orientation discrimination over the past year had a greater sense of housing security. As expected, those who owned their own home and had no mortgage had a greater sense of housing security compared with those who had a mortgage, were renting, or had some other living arrangement.
The implications of these findings are that older gay men and lesbian women who enter into older age without owning a home outright should be taken into account in housing policy and within support services aimed at addressing the housing needs of older adults. Ultimately, it is important that housing projects targeted toward seniors ensure that lesbian and gay people get the support they need and are made to feel safe and included by the relevant service providers.
Experiences and perceptions of residential and in-home care services among older lesbian women and gay men in Australia.
Citation: Waling, Andrea., Lyons, Anthony., Alba, Beatrice., Minichiello, Victor., Hughes, Mark., Barrett, Catherine., Fredriksen-Goldsen, Karen., & Edmonds, Samantha. (2019). “Experiences and perceptions of residential and in-home care services among older lesbian women and gay men in Australia.” Health and Social Care in the Community. [online first]. https://doi.org/10.1111/hsc.12760
With an ageing lesbian and gay population in Australia, there is a need to understand how older lesbian and gay people are planning for the potential to need aged care services. Older lesbian and gay people have experienced a lifetime of discrimination based on their sexual orientation, which can impact their considerations of residential aged care and home care services. Drawing from 33 qualitative interviews, we examined how older lesbian and gay people are reflecting on, and strategising as they age.
We found that participants have a number of pressing concerns. These related mostly to residential aged care and included concerns about a lack of inclusivity, the possibility of experiencing discrimination, loss of access and connection to community and partners, lack of autonomy, as well as fears about the quality of care and whether elder abuse may be a possibility. Participants also spoke about a range of alternative strategies they were either implementing or planning to implement to avoid residential aged care services that not only included the use of home care services, but also home renovations, relocation, and considering the option of voluntary euthanasia if available. Participants were generally hopeful that the need for residential aged care services would never arise.
Findings from this study reveal a variety of concerns shared by older lesbian and gay adults in Australia that need to be addressed, especially with regard to residential aged care services. Ensuring services are experienced as culturally safe and lesbian and gay-inclusive will be important, such as implementing lesbian and gay-inclusive practice policies and training workers on utilising lesbian and gay-inclusive language among other strategies.