Samantha is one of Australia’s leading LGBTI inclusive strategists, policy makers and influencers with extensive knowledge and experience in assisting ageing, aged care and health providers develop LGBTI inclusive services. Sam is the Managing Director of Ageing with Pride, her own consultancy that specialises in developing, delivering and evaluating projects, programs and services that are respectful, person-centred, culturally safe and inclusive of LGBTI elders and older people.
Sam is a member of the Aged Care Sector Committee (ACSC), which provides advice to the Government on aged care policy development and implementation and helps to guide the reform of the aged care system. She also Chairs the ACSC Diversity Sub Group. Prior to this Sam was the Silver Rainbow National Project Manager at the National LGBTI Health Alliance, which provided national coordination and support activities promoting the well-being of LGBTI elders and inclusive service delivery by aged care providers.
Sam is a distinguished member of the Australian Association of Gerontology (AAG), Convenor of the AAG LGBTI Special Interest Group (SIG) and Co-Convenor of the AAG Elder Abuse SIG.
In addition, Sam currently works for Elder Abuse Action Australia as their National Project Coordinator.
Sam holds Masters Degrees in Social Policy, Politics and International Relations. She has completed the Macquarie University Global Leadership Program. Prior to her current role Sam has worked in diverse fields including health policy and human rights.
Sam is also on the Board of Directors of the IFA.
Disrespecting LGBTI identity – A unique form of elder abuse
Samantha Edmonds, Ageing With Pride, Australia
Over the past decade there has been an increasing recognition of the abuse of older people as an issue that needs to be responded to in its own right. Elder abuse occurs within the context of ageism and a complex intersection of individual, relational, societal and community attitudes and factors. There is no one type of older person that is potentially at risk from elder abuse and there is no one person that is likely to cause the harm. It cuts across the whole of society and across all relationships and social groups. International indicators suggest that between 2% – 14% of older people experience elder abuse each year.
Elder abuse can take many forms from physical or sexual abuse, to controlling an older person’s finances and threatening to restrict their access to family and friends. However, lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and gender diverse and intersex (LGBTI) older people can face very specific forms of elder abuse including discrimination, mis-gendering and restriction of their sexuality or gender identity. Often this type of abuse is not perceived as elder abuse by LGBTI older people themselves let alone government and/or aged/health care providers. In addition, there is a cumulative impact on the health and wellbeing of the older person as a result of a lifetime of experiencing discrimination, which continues into their older age.
In 2019 a workshop was held by the Australian Association of Gerontology (AAG), hosted by the AAG LGBTI Special Interest Group, of which I am now the convenor, to look specifically at the issue of the abuse of LGBTI elders and older people. This presentation will build on the initial report from this workshop and explore:
- What “disrespecting LGBTI identity” looks like, and the impact of intersectionality
- What Australia has in place to protect LGBTI older people from this type of abuse
- Current legislative challenges that could undermine these protections
- Recommendations on what people can do within their own jurisdictions to protect LGBTI elders and older people
This session will encourage participants to reflect critically on their own attitudes to what elder abuse is and can look like for LGBTI older people and to consider their own inclusive professional practices.