Sil­ver rain­bow kit helps car­ers of LGBT el­derly

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By JESS ETHERIDGE

The first gen­er­a­tion of openly out and proud gay and les­bian people are reach­ing re­tire­ment age and a new ‘‘sil­ver rain­bow kit’’ has been put to­gether to pre­pare car­ers.

The kit de­tails best prac­tice for aged res­i­den­tial care in New Zealand and the wider com­mu­nity, Dr Michal Boyd says.

The se­nior nurs­ing lec­turer and prac­ti­tioner at the Univer­sity of Auck­land says re­search into les­bian, gay, bi­sex­ual and trans­gen­der (LGBT) el­derly be­gan three years ago.

Re­searchers were ap­proached by The Rule Foun­da­tion which fo­cuses on the gay and les­bian com­mu­ni­ties’ well­be­ing.

Boyd says that through con­duct­ing in­ter­views, re­searchers found many staff did not re­alise their clients may have been part of the LGBT com­mu­nity.

Aged care staff say they treat LGBT el­derly no dif­fer­ently to oth­ers but Boyd says that does not hon­our their cul­ture.

Many car­ers were more open to­wards LGBT el­derly, depend­ing on their per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ences, she says.

Older gay and les­bian people are ‘‘very much in the closet’’ due to ho­mo­sex­u­al­ity be­ing il­le­gal when they were grow­ing up. Re­searchers found the el­derly had no rea­son to come out later in life, Boyd says.

Nurs­ing aca­demic Dr Garry Bel­lamy car­ried out early re­search and found deal­ing with the at­ti­tudes of other res­i­dents was the main con­cern.

The Sil­ver Rain­bow Kit was cre­ated by the re­searchers with videos and tools to help staff bet­ter un­der­stand LGBT cul­ture.

Boyd says car­ers need to be pre­pared be­cause the first openly out and proud gen­er­a­tion of LGBT people are now reach­ing re­tire­ment age.

Aus­tralian and United States cen­tres have also shown in­ter­est in us­ing the re­source.

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