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Ageing Diversity: LGBT* – Housing and Long-term Care

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - AgedLGBT (Ageing Diversity: LGBT* – Housing and Long-term Care)

Reporting period: 2017-09-01 to 2019-08-31

1.1. Only a few studies exist in Europe that have directly addressed the topic of the housing and care situation for older LGBT people who are more likely to be childless, single and to live alone than their heterosexual peers. Having an informed and better understanding of the situation of LGBT* seniors is important to know more about their needs in ageing societies – especially about the housing needs, either with or without care have been under-researched. AgedLGBT* was focussed on the development of supportive and appropriate community services in the UK, Germany and other European countries. Therefore, a main focus of the project AgedLGBT* was to make a contribution to knowledge about LGBT* seniors and housing comparing and synthesizing the work of research projects conducted in Germany and the UK (WP1) supported by a secondment at Stonewall Housing UK (WP2) for practise-oriented research about older LGBT in need of care. A simulated model on service use of older LGBT* cohorts became an overarching milestone of AgedLGBT (WP3) that was discussed at a symposium with key experts and practitioners (WP4).
1.2. According to the aims of WP1 a literature review and further analyses of the data conducted in Germany (GLESA and GLEPA) and the UK (SAFE) has been carried out to achieve a better understanding of the issue on a broader and international scale with a focus on preferences and support networks of older LG(BT) people (SAFE) and the work with caregivers (GLEPA). Peer review papers that show the relevance of social and support networks of LGBT people in old age and risks regarding good quality of care have been submitted and a significant contribution to the value and usefulness of European social science about LGBT* ageing has been delivered. Due to request of a special issue Journal two peer review papers focusing the German context and GLEPA were published. In the SAFE study older LGBT people expressed preferences for services being provided by those with similar gender and or sexual orientation characteristics as themselves or in LGBT-specific environments; in effect and related to the social capital, bridges that are more like bonds are seen as desirable and valued. That means that staff of formal care services need to receive adequate education and training. Other evidence the third (submitted) paper will present shows that bridging forms of social capital remains important, but being able to trust services provided by these dissimilar others e.g. heterosexual service providers, is imperative. Why ‘family of choice connections’ matter has been discussed for a broader audience in the paper but also in several presentation on conferences and workshops – with academics and practitioners.
The outcome on the first Agent-based Model (ABM) about older LGBT people in need of care (WP3) has been published in open access paper (fourth paper) based on interrelated work of WP1, 2 and 3. In contrast to the plan of WP II to interviews key experts in the field the conceptional outline of the ABM made it necessary to reorganise the feedback process with the experts, but the secondment, as part of WP2, has been useful for developing practise-oriented scenarios of the ABM. It allows a new form to illustrate social simulations of dependencies on formal care services – differentiated by sexual and gender diversity and cohorts over the next 70 years.
The social simulation model (WP3) for cohorts of the recent and future LGBT* elders based on the analysis of data in WP I provided new ways to hypothesize and understand the issue. The open access publication used a Model on LGBT People and Long-term Care that involves a Social Network Dependency Index (SNDI) score that illustrates in what way older LGBT people are reliant on formal services and shows what effort would be necessary in order to provide an inclusive care infrastructure that can meet the needs of older LGBT people based on preferences regarding different types of care.
1.3. We did not know much about the social support networks of the vulnerable group of older LGBT people (in need of care) and what care infrastructure is essential to provide inclusive care and a good quality of care. With those main results as described above, AgedLGBT has achieved an outcome with a wider societal relevance. Important policy implications from the findings focusses on ensuring that care and support services are LGBT-inclusive and that these services are culturally competent. The findings and also the concept of the ABM are appropriate tools to raise the topic of good quality of care for older LGBT people – as an example of vulnerable group – to discuss consequences of a (hetero-)normative structures and public debate/discourse.
The training in Agent-Based Modelling has been useful for the researcher’s prospects and his applications for becoming a professor with a broader methodological portfolio. Focussing a topic on service use of older LGBT people as a practise-oriented has turned out to be an extraordinary basis for improving care infrastructure in European countries. It provided and excellent basis for scientific network discussing and publicly relevant actions as radio interviews , articles in health service institutions, policy papers and edited volumes in English and German.
EU Dissemination EDMA: Ageing and Diversity - Housing and Care (AgedLGBT)