Aged care providers should “stop being coy” about including questions on sexuality in their intake forms, a health promotion organisation says.

Australian aged services need to identify any barriers that may be preventing older lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people from identifying as LGBTI.

That’s according to Roy Starkey, client services officer with ACON, a NSW organisation specialising in LGBTI health.

“We didn’t ask years ago about being Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander as we didn’t want to offend. Now we’re well past that. We need to think about asking a question on sexuality. And bringing that into all of our literature, that we are accepting of diversity,” he said.

Mr Starkey appears in a new training resource, LGBTI: Inclusion and Awareness for the Aged Care Sector. The film is produced by the Aged Care Channel and co-funded by the Department of Health.

He says aged care needs to consider how LGBTI seniors, many of whom have been stigmatised and discriminated against, may be reluctant to access services.

“We must also acknowledge that the LGBTI aged care strategy is not just a piece of paper, it’s there as a platform to build from,” he said.

Key messages for aged care

Watch a short interview with Mr Starkey where he shares advice for providers:

The full free 30-minute film discusses how LGBTI seniors may experience difficulties moving into aged care and strategies to improve inclusive services.

Access the full film here.

The resource comes as the Federal Goverment works with the sector on a new diversity framework. It will include the special needs of LGBTI seniors, as Australian Ageing Agenda has reported (read our coverage here).

Today is the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia.

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