Rebecca Matthews is a Graduate Student at Queen’s University studying Aging and Health. She completed her undergraduate degree in Psychology with a minor in Gender Studies from Memorial University of Newfoundland. Her academic interests lie in the social and behavioural health sciences, with particular interest in social determinants of health and healthy inequity. Rebecca’s passion for driving social change is reflected in her work as a Standardized Patient at Memorial University, as well as in her volunteer experience with YWCA St. John’s, Memorial University’s Resource Center for Marginalized Genders, the Memorial University Students Union, and her position on the Board of Directions for Planned Parenthood- Newfoundland and Labrador Sexual Health Center. In 2017, Rebecca completed her honours research in Psychology with Dr. Ken Fowler at Memorial University of Newfoundland exploring barriers that prevent Canadian women from preforming breast self-examinations. Rebecca looks forward to a career dedicated to mending the inequality gaps that exist in our healthcare system.
Exploring the Intersections of Age and Sexual Orientation: Concerns among LGBTQ+ Older Adults when Moving from Independent Living to Residential Care Facilities.
Population aging is happening during a time of significant social and cultural change. As the number of seniors who identify as LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and additional sexual orientations and identities) is growing, it’s becoming increasingly important to understand the relationship between residential care needs and sexual orientation. This work presents a scoping review of older LGBTQ+ adults, and seeks to answer the following question: What evidence is there that LGBTQ+ older adults are concerned about receiving queer-competent care when moving from independent living to residential care? A keyword search was conducted in relevant databases to locate peer reviewed literature on concerns among LGBTQ+ older adults who are transitioning to living in a residential care facility. A hierarchy of evidence was constructed based on the evidence needed to address the research question. Inclusion and exclusion criteria were developed to ensure that data collected directly answered the research question. Articles that did not meet inclusion criteria were not considered for the review. Selected articles were read, and reference was made to the hierarchy of evidence as well as inclusion and exclusion criteria. Study characteristics and data were extracted from each article for comparison across studies. The Critical Appraisal Skills Program (CASP) Qualitative Checklist was used to critically appraise the selected studies. Each study was then analyzed line-by-line thematically using the software package NVivo. Core themes were generated by identifying recurring words, expressions and phrases. The main themes that were identified include: fear of discrimination, heteronormative assumptions, separation from partners, loss of identity, and loss of connection from the LGBTQ+ community. These findings suggest that there is a need for cultural competency training for facility staff that focuses on the unique needs and concerns of older LGBTQ+ adults. This work also suggests that the development of gender-specific and LGBTQ+-only residential care facilities should be considered. It is anticipated that these improvements to residential care options for LGBTQ+ older adults will improve their experience of aging and allow them to receive the care they need in a safe and accepting environment.