Are we there yet?
Are we there yet? Key collaborations on the pathway to quality services for GLBT seniors in Victoria.
Navigating the pathway to quality services for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender (GLBT) seniors and carers can be a challenge.
Disclosure of sexual identity can mean reluctance to access services. The potential for discrimination, intentional or not, is exacerbated by mixed messages about acceptance of same sex relationships and concern about the understanding of specific needs by aged care service providers.
Based on analysis of initial research and community consultations, The ALSO Foundation (ALSO) has developed About Time! GLBT Seniors ALSO Matter; a strategic plan providing direction for ALSO in its own advocacy and programs, and in its relationships with other mainstream community services. About Time! related action includes establishment of an advisory committee composed of representatives from services relating to seniors, and collaboration with organisations including COTA Victoria, Carers Victoria, Seniors Information Victoria, Vintage Men and Matrix Guild. Achievements include a joint publication of the Rainbow Seniors information service brochure and training for staff who answer information requests; Over the Rainbow, a GLBT seniors physical activity program; an annual Seniors Festival Rainbow Seniors Tea Dance; and development of support for GLBT carers.
This paper considers the road travelled by ALSO to develop strategic partnerships with mainstream and GLBT specific organizations. The ALSO seniors project demonstrates practical advances towards the time and place where GLBT seniors and carers can confidently anticipate and receive quality, informed services that meet their specific needs. Are we there yet? Not yet – but we are on the way.
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