How to Approach LGBTQ+ Dementia Care Services
While there are common symptoms of dementia, the disease affects each person differently, depending on their circumstances and state of health. For LGBTQ+ seniors, there is an extra layer of historical discrimination that can affect dementia symptoms and the care that is needed.
Statistics show that eight of ten older people depend on family members for basic home care services, but LGBT seniors are far less likely than their peers to have immediate family. Instead, they depend on paid home caregivers and medical professionals, some of whom are hesitant to help or treat them poorly. SAGE, an advocacy group for LGBTQ+ seniors, says the fear of being treated unkindly or discriminated against keeps many from asking for home caregiving when they need it. This can result in delayed treatment for dementia and other illnesses.
As the only LGBT-certified in-home care agency in Northern California, Alegre Home Care is in a unique position to provide the best dementia care services for LGBTQ+ seniors. Caregivers at Alegre Home Care are required to complete LGBTQ+ Cultural Humility Training and receive ongoing education in LGBTQ+ senior care.
Alegre Home Care takes a person-centered approach to LGBTQ+ dementia care, as well as general in-home care services. With personalized care plans, Alegre Home Care provides individuals with the ability to age or recover from the comfort of their own home. By helping people maintain their sense of identity, people are able to age or recover with dignity and respect.
Effective Communication for LGBTQ+ Dementia Care
There are unfortunately a lot of cultural assumptions about people with LGBTQ+ orientation. The first step for effective communication between caregivers and LGBTQ+ seniors is to be mindful of those assumptions and get to know the individual. Effective communication strategies include:
Asking directly how to help with communication
Being an empathetic listener
Keeping sentences straightforward and clear
Including the person in conversations that affect them
Being familiar with the different stages of dementia and how communication is affected by each of those stages
Understanding the individual’s background and avoiding topics that might be trigger unnecessary stress
By listening, communicating honestly and directly, and avoiding assumptions, caregivers can truly understand the needs of each individual in their care. Understanding the unique concerns of LGBTQ+ seniors will also enable caregivers to provide the best possible dementia care and in-home care.
5 Major Concerns of LGBTQ+ Seniors
While victories for the LGBTQ+ community continue to increase, LGBTQ+ seniors nonetheless face unique concerns — including within the home care industry.
1. Legal and Financial
LGBTQ+ seniors are more likely to be discriminated against in their careers, resulting in fewer financial resources during their older years.
2. Caregiving Services
Statistics show that eight of ten older people depend on family members for basic home care services, but LGBTQ+ seniors are far less likely than their peers to have immediate family. Instead, they depend on paid home caregivers and medical professionals.
3. Mental Wellness
Members of the LGBTQ+ community are more apt to isolate themselves at any age, but the situation is even worse among older people. According to SAGE, over half of lesbian or gay seniors feel cut off from other people, and 40 percent say they have tried to commit suicide.
4. Aging Services
Access to aging services can be a challenge for any older adult, but LGBTQ+ seniors are also concerned with confidentiality and bullying.
LGBTQ+ individuals of all ages face discrimination when it comes to housing, but the issue is particularly poignant for the elderly.
All of these experiences can affect how dementia symptoms display. For example, there may be more things than average that trigger symptoms such as depression and irritation.
Receiving Quality LGBTQ+ Dementia Care
LGBTQ+ seniors can receive the quality dementia care services they need by working with caregivers who are educated, experienced, and informed. When looking for in-home care services for LGBTQ+ seniors, these are some of the qualities to keep in mind:
The in-home care agency is an LGBT-certified business
The in-home care agency participates in and advocates for the LGBTQ+ community
Caregivers receive Cultural Humility Training
There are positive reviews from LGBTQ+ seniors and their loved ones
Caregivers receive ongoing education and training in a variety of in-home care topics, including the particular concerns of LGBTQ+ seniors
Caregivers provide personalized care plans for each individual
If you are looking for in-home care services for yourself or a loved one, please reach out to Alegre Home Care for a free consultation.