NSW Seniors Week: Supporting older LGBTI people
As NSW marks Seniors Week, a range of initiatives, projects and events are being launched catering specifically to the tastes of older LGBTI people.
ACON is using the week to kick start a conversation about what improvements can be made to aged care services and support, while a new website and survey targeting older people has been launched as part of the Outrageous Aging LGBTI Elders’ Wellbeing project.
Older LGBTI people are also sure to take advantage of ACON and Queer Screen’s Afternoon Delight this Sunday. The afternoon features a range of gay and lesbian-based short films as well as the feature film I Do.
ACON CEO Nicolas Parkhill said NSW Seniors Week was the perfect time to focus on the needs of older people in the LGBTI community. As such, ACON has launched a new project called LOVE (Living Older and Visibly Engaged).
The project, funded by Aurora Group and Department of Ageing, aims to get the community talking about LGBTI aged care, knowledge and support needs and preferences to help develop better services.
“Approximately 70,000 people in NSW over the age of 55 identify as GLBT but we know very little about their health needs due to a lack of research,” Parkhill said.
“What we do know is that they are at high risk of social isolation and that many have concerns, based on previous experiences of discrimination, about how they will be treated in the aged care system because of their sexuality or gender identity.
“The best way that programs and services can be improved is by obtaining information from older GLBT people about their knowledge of services, experiences, needs and preferences.”
Parkhill said small consultations would be run in various locations throughout April to gather opinions, ideas and concerns.
“Service providers will also be linked into these consultations in order to improve understanding on both sides,” he said.
“Then later in the year we’ll be hosting a series of community forums throughout the state as well as creating a website where older GLBT people, as well as their family and friends, can engage further with the project.
Parkhill urged older GLBT people to get involved in the consultation process as well as enjoy the lighter side of Seniors Week with a bit of afternoon delight.
“Older GLBT people play a vital and valued role in our community and we’re delighted to be partnering with Queer Screen and NSW Seniors Week to provide this wonderful opportunity for the more mature members of our community to get together and have a good time,” he said.
“We’re especially pleased to be expanding this event to include screenings in Lismore and Albury as well as in Sydney and Newcastle and we thank the Department of Ageing, Disability and Home Care for ensuring that more and more people in our community can get a bit of Afternoon Delight.”
Meanwhile, Outrageous Ageing project officer Sujay Kentlyn said Seniors Week was the perfect opportunity to launch a new website and survey aimed at helping older people live fulfilling lives.
The Outrageous Ageing survey asks LGBTI people aged over 50 about what health issues concern them most, what information they need, what activities they would like to be involved in and how they would like to connect with others.
“What is so exciting about the project is that it’s positive,” Kentlyn said.
“We get to move beyond identifying the needs and concerns of LGBTI people as they get older and actually do something about them.
“Based on the responses to the survey we will develop programs and activities that fit the needs, interests and lifestyles of LGBTI older people in five regions of NSW.
[Image] Diana Bernard, David Bowron, Tess Ziems, Jon Allwood and Errol Higson are looking forward to enjoying some Afternoon Delight at the NSW Teachers Federation this Sunday.
Afternoon Delight: GLBT Movie Matinee and Tea Party is on Sunday, March 24 (see below).
For more on the LOVE Project, go to www.acon.org.au/ageing/loveproject
For more on the Outrageous Ageing Survey, go to www.outrageousageing.org.au/survey
NSW SENIORS WEEK
NSW Seniors Week runs from March 17-23. Here are some key events for the LGBTI community.
Thursday 21 March
Cloudburst film screening
This screening of Cloudburst will be preceded by a drinks reception and information fair with groups including Mature Age Gays, Pride History Group, Older Women’s Network, PFLAG, Positive Life and Gender Centre. The screening will be followed by a Q&A with award-winning filmmaker Louise Wadley. Bookings: (02) 9247 3800 or www.dendy.com. Presented by Young at Heart Seniors Film Festival and the City of Sydney. 2pm-5.45pm, Dendy Opera Quays, $6 (Over 55)/$12
Saturday 23 March
This over-55s version of Australian Idol proves that age is no barrier when it comes to talent. The City of Sydney invites all singers, musicians, dancers, magicians, comedians, poets, ventriloquists, contortionists and other performers to enter this talent quest to find Sydney’s Senior Superstar. For more information or to register, visit seniorsuperstar.com or contact 02 9246 7823. 1.30pm, Paddington RSL, free
Sunday 24 March
Enjoy an afternoon of escapism with a special selection of short films, showcasing some of the brightest GLBT filmmakers, followed by the topical main feature I Do. Afternoon tea will be served by charming matinee ‘guydolls’. Presented by ACON and Queerscreen. 1.30pm, NSW Teachers Federation, Surry Hills, free
Sunday 17-Saturday 23 March
Swim for Seniors Week
Free entry to City of Sydney aquatic centres and swimming pools. Simply present your ID to swim for Seniors Week!