NEWS

Focus on understanding LGBTI elders

Four local aged care service providers including Evergreen Life Care have announced that they will implement a specialised training program to help staff across each of the organisations provide culturally appropriate care for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) older people in the community.

A strategic alliance between Coastlink, an aged and disability service provider, Meals on Wheels Central Coast, a home and community care-funded not-for-profit organisation, Community Transport,a not for profit community transport service, and Evergreen Life Care, was formed last year to create opportunities for all four organisations to provide a broader and better-integrated range of services for Central Coast residents.
 
The LGBTI training program announcement, which coincides with Seniors Week, is another step forward for the alliance to improve and enhance valuable services offered to older people of the Central Coast.
 
In 2013, Evergreen Life Care received Commonwealth government funding to implement the LGBTI Elders’ Wellbeing Project which aims to deliver health and wellness capacity building programs to LGBTI older people. The training program was an initiative that derived from the project, with LGBTI elders identifying the need for LGBTI friendly aged care services.
 
The Evergreen Life Care team were the first to undertake the LGBTI training last week with Coastlink, Meals on Wheels Central Coastand Community Transport to commence training with their staff over the next few weeks.
 
The course covers a range of topics focusing on training staff to understand differences in sex, gender and sexuality, including physical characteristics, how a person forms their sense of being male or female, and sexual and romantic attraction.  It also aims to improve understanding of the sensitivities within particular sub-groups. The primary purpose of the training is to arm staff with the skills to provide appropriate care and deliver services that match the distinct and diverse needs of LGTBI older people.
 
Chief Executive Officer of Evergreen Life Care, Ted Coupe said, “As part of our alliance, this training is an important step forward for our organisations, providing a program to equip our staff with the skills required to understand the particular needs of the LGBTI community.
 
“The training will go a long way to assisting with increasing our staff’s understanding around the impact of myths and stereotypes that many of these older people have lived with their whole lives, including for many, the effects of lifelong prejudice and discrimination.
 
“The launch of this training coincides with Seniors Week and ties in to this year’s theme of ‘Live Life!’ We are excited to be playing an active role in improving health, independence and recognition of LGBTI older people in our region.
 
More than 100 Evergreen staff have already been trained under this program, with the training course to be rolled out over the next 18-months to hundreds more staff across the other three organisations.
 
For more information on the organisations involved in this initiative please visit their respective websites –
Coastlink www.coastlink.org.au
Meals on Wheels Central Coast www.ccmow.com.au 
Community Transport www.ctccl.org.au