Silvering the Rainbow
Getting old is something we must all do – gracefully or otherwise – but it’s not a topic up for discussion much in the LGBTIQ community.
Now, thanks to funding from the federal Department of Health and Ageing, Gai Lemon, health promotion officer in Aged Care with Healthy Communities, is starting a dialogue between LGBTIQ people over 50 and the people who run Queensland's aged care facilities and services.
Lemon says aged care needs to emerge from the closet, and the Brisbane Ageing Action Group aims to show the way, along with similar groups on the Sunshine and Gold coasts, Cairns and Townsville.
“We’re looking at quarterly meetings,” Lemon tells QP. “In the past, it’s been service providers that have been attending, people associated with aged care. What I’m keen to see happen is to get some of our community group members, 50 and over, along, and their carers and family members if they want to bring them.
“These will be people who can give an insight to our aged care providers about just what our unique needs are. It’s about all that lived wisdom that people have, all the things we’ve lived through in the past decades. Some of the issues that they have had to confront over time have been really profound: psychological profiling, their being ‘dysfunctional’, the horrific ‘treatments’ that some of our elders went through to make them ‘normal’."
The first Ageing in Diversity Action Groups will be held in late November 2013 across all regions.
Participants will be asked to give a couple of hours four times a year to the meetings, with the option of participating in expos planned for each of the five regions during the 18 month timeframe of the project.
“I’d like it to be that people not only share their ideas about the directions that service providers might need to examine, but also to provide some information sessions for people as well so they can learn a little about what their rights are and what services they can access as they get older,” Lemon says. “Things like planning for end of life; it’s a bit dire, but it’s something we really need to talk about. What sorts of choices do we have? What happens if you need to go into care?”
James Keightley, Lemon’s counterpart in Cairns, says Healthy Communities is committed to starting these “creative conversations” between the community and service providers.
“Some aged care agencies are willing,” Keightley says, “all we need now are our senior community members. Your voice is important. We need your input.”
Community members aged 50 and over are invited to register their interest by contacting Gai Lemon (for the Brisbane, Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast groups) on (07) 3017 1732, or James Keightley (Townsville and Cairns groups) on (07) 4041 5451.
IMAGE: James Keightley and Gai Lemon: Photo: Jason Russo
- CATEGORIES: News + Politics