Samantha Edmonds is the Silver Rainbow, National Project Manager at the National LGBTI Health Alliance. Silver Rainbow provides national coordination and support activities promoting the well-being of LGBTI elders and the ongoing delivery of the LGBTI awareness training to create an LGBTI inclusive aged care sector.
Samantha is a member of a number of national advisory groups in AAC both Government and Non-government. And was recently appointed to the Aged Care Sector Committee (ACSC), a Ministerial Advisory Group and made Chair of the ACSC Diversity Sub Group. Samantha holds Masters Degrees in Social Policy, Politics and International Relations. She has also completed the Macquarie University Global Leadership Program. Prior to her current role Sam has worked in diverse fields including health policy and human rights. She was part of a small team with the Australian Human Rights Commission working on the Same-Sex: Same Entitlements Inquiry
The Rainbow Connection – LGBTI Inclusive Aged Care
Pauline Crameri is the Co-ordinator of Val’s LGBTI Ageing and Aged Care, at the Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society, La Trobe University. Val’s is a Victorian statewide programme working to increase the visibility, health and quality of care for older LGBTI people.
Pauline has worked in a range of human services settings and programmes for the past 30 years, and has over 15 years’ experience in community aged care and aged care planning in local government, including practical experience in LGBTI service development culminating in the achievement of the first Rainbow Tick accreditation for the service.
Research on lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex (LGBTI) ageing continually identifies that LGBTI elders have experienced a lifetime of prejudice and discrimination (which may include bullying, harassment, verbal, physical, psychological and/or sexual abuse), from government, agencies, faith-based organisations, health providers, businesses, LGBTI communities, families, friends, and individuals. This includes a fear of prejudice and discrimination, based on past both their experience and the experience of others. These experiences impact on many LGBTI elders knowledge of, willingness or ability to access the range of aged care supports available.
In Australia the Federal Government responded through a range of initiatives including legislative reforms and the subsequent development of the National LGBTI Ageing and Aged Care Strategy, making Australia the first country in the world to have such a strategy. The Strategy has raised awareness of the experiences and needs of LGBTI elders and has resulted in an ageing and aged care sector that is increasingly focused on LGBTI inclusive practice. To support this awareness and inclusivity, the Government has provided ongoing funding for the delivery of LGBTI awareness training to the aged care sector alongside the development and distribution of resources and information to support inclusion from a service delivery and workforce perspective and also for LGBTI consumers.
However while services are aiming to be inclusive they often create an “LGBTI” response, which creates this idea of an “LGBTI Person” rather than recognising the unique needs of elders from each group. This results in a conflation of sexuality and gender, with little or no recognition of the specific needs of intersex elders. To respond to this the training is now being updated to address the specific needs of each of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and gender diverse and intersex older people with the creation of 5 specific training modules.
This workshop will discuss who L,G,B,T and I peoples are and the issues that affect these distinct populations, and why we need to address their genders, bodies, relationships, and/or sexuality differently. It will demonstrate why we need to move from ‘but we treat everyone the same” to “how can we meet each person’s individual needs”, particularly in the age of person centred care. It will explore the learnings we have gained on what makes an aged care service culturally safe for each group.
This session will engage participants in how to respond to the unique needs of each of L,G,B,T, and I peoples, reflect critically on their own practices, and plan genuinely inclusive services that meet the distinct, and sometimes overlapping needs, of each group. It will provide practical examples and models of how aged care services and the sector can genuinely respond in a way that is inclusive of this diversity.