Archives for posts with tag: gay elderly

Though he insisted that the care home he chose was “gay friendly at least”, Bernard Mays (pictured right) still couldn’t find somewhere with a visible LGBTQ community even in the Bay Area near San Francisco. Diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, he could no longer remain in his own home.

His story is well-told by Bay Area Reporter journalist Matthew S. Bajko, who’s been writing a series of articles about the challenges facing an ageing queer community. And those tough choices about how to manage dependency in old age are something we really need to talk about more. Bernard found somewhere which could cope with his physical decline, but which thus far risks making him feel isolated or forces him to join in with a community which he doesn’t feel part of and which he can’t guarantee will be supportive or accepting.

“One of the biggest adjustments for Mayes has been being assigned seating for meal times and sharing a table with the same people for three months at a time.”

 

 

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 To all of us he was as camp and vibrant as one would want but when he got dementia and went into a residential home there was suddenly nothing to suggest he might be gay or anything from his past. Where we would ordinarily have kissed and hugged him we were reduced to a handshake.

Roger Newman, one of the founders of the UK’s Alzheimer’s Society’s Lesbian and Gay Network, as quoted in a Guardian article exploring the problems of prejudice against the LGBTQ community in residential care.  Roger neatly sums up some of the key issues we face.

If I go to my doctor and say ‘I’m gay,’ and he says, ‘that’s ok, it doesn’t matter,’ that’s not what I want. It does matter.

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