Getting Services & Support
Listed below are service and support organisations for LGBTI+ community members. More resources for social and connecting with specific groups and organisations can be found here.
- Standards and Guidelines that Underpin Australian Aged Care
- My Aged Care
- QC Seniors’ Community Visiting Service
- Ageing with HIV
- National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)
- Services for those Living with Dementia
- Support for Carers
- Private Support and Services
- Planning for the Future
- Elder Abuse
- Advocacy Services
My Aged Care
My Aged Care is a Commonwealth Government initiative to provide funding to those who require support as they age. My Aged Care is ‘Consumer Directed’ – the focus is on the individual aged 65+ or 50+ for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Recent changes in standards highlight the importance of all Service Providers being able to provide Consumer Directed care.
Services and support are available via My Aged Care, for those who might require some assistance in order to maintain their quality of life, independence and to age in their own space.
My Aged Care offers services and support during an unexpected illness or injury and ongoing health condition that requires regular assistance. The Short Term Restorative Care program is available to assist people returning to enjoying life following an illness or injury (where the person is not hospitalised) with services and therapies.
There is also support and services for those who are providing care for someone over 65 years old, for example, respite. My Aged Care can also assist those people who need minor modifications to their home to ensure they have a safe living environment. Permanent residential care or respite (either at home or away from home) for those who are more dependent can be accessed via My Aged Care.
Please visit the My Aged Care for more details on how to access support and service.
Helpful resources for aging LGBTI+ communities
My Aged Care has information specific for the LGBTI communities;
Older Persons Advocacy Network have developed a series of webinars also on how to access support;
The “10 Questions To Ask” leaflets will help you ask service providers and health professionals the right questions. Home Care Package consumers should have the flexibility to choose their service providers. If a consumer is not satisfied with a service, they have the right and ability to transfer to another Service Provider.
LGBTIQ+ Health Australia have this informative fact sheet.
QC Seniors’ Community Visiting Service
The Seniors Community Visiting Service is coordinated by Queensland Council for LGBTI+ Health (QC) to connect trained volunteers with LGBTI seniors. Visits are available for seniors who are unable to connect with their community, including those living in the community, as a permanent resident in a care facility or waiting on a Home Care Package.
Ageing with HIV
There is support available for those living and ageing with HIV. You can find helpful information through:
- Queensland Positive People
“Ageing with HIV, can be both a celebration and a concern. A celebration because effective HIV treatments have given life-years back to all people on effective treatment; but a concern since people are now moving into older age with HIV and experiencing age-related health conditions.”
Read the full article here
- Positive Life
Positive Life NSW is the largest peer-led and run representative body of all people living with HIV in Australia based in NSW, and the voice of all people living with HIV in NSW since 1988.
National Disability Insurance Scheme
The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) started rolling out on the Sunshine Coast in 2019 for people under 65 years who meet the NDIS criteria. If you have a disability and are over 65 years of age and not on NDIS then My Aged Care (see above) will be the choice of support. However, if you are under 65 years of age and commence on NDIS you will continue on this program as you age. Many Service Providers who provide care, support and services with My Aged Care are often also NDIS registered. Access the NDIS website here
Services for those Living with Dementia
Signs of dementia, such as changes in memory, language skills, mood and behaviour, often appear gradually over a number of years. It can be all too easy either just to accommodate these early changes or dismiss them as simply signs of normal ageing. Dementia is not a part of normal ageing. Dementia Australia has developed a guide specifically for LGBTI+ communities. Access the full guide here
More helpful resources for those living with Dementia
Carers QLD is your NDIS partner on the Sunshine Coast, based in Maroochydore. Carers QLD is committed to providing specialised carer and disability support services. Access their website here
Private Support and Services
Many organisations who provide support and services for My Aged Care and NDIS are also able to provide private services (known as Fee-for-Service). That would mean there are no subsidies, so full costs would be charged. There would not be any formal government assessments required. This might be an option for a short time eg. recovering after surgery/illness. This might require a general search on the internet. The Service Providers who are members of LGBTI+ CAN would be able to provide guidance on this option.
Planning for the Future
Advance Care Planning
If you cannot communicate your preferences for care, who would speak for you? What would you want them to say? Advance care planning helps make sure your loved ones and your doctors know what your health and personal preferences are, ensuring everyone some peace of mind. The government has a link to assist here: Department of Health: Advance Care Planning
Advanced Care Planning Australia
Advanced Care Planning Australia are a commonwealth supported organisation. While they don’t provide LGBTI specific support, they are a helpful resource when planning for the future. Access their website here
Safeguarding the End of the Rainbow
A guide to help LGBTI people plan an end-of-life of their choice. This resource looks at financial, personal and medical matters, working with professional advisors and reviewing and storing your documents. While it was developed in Victoria it still has relevance in other States. Download the booklet here
COTA Victoria offers in-depth how-to guides and resources on a range of topics, including how-to-guides to help LGBTI people to plan an end of life of their choice. Access their website here
Enduring Power of Attorney
You would use an enduring power of attorney to appoint someone to make financial and personal decisions on your behalf if you become unable to make your own decisions, e.g. if you have failing cognitive health or lose capacity to make decisions (like following a stroke). This is highly recommended particularly for the LGBTI+ community, so that you feel confident that your wishes will be implemented.
Find out more information about Enduring Power of Attorney here
We get this one is a tough subject. But worth considering when life is going okay rather than feeling pressured when under a lot more stress. Have you thought about the who, where, how, when aspects of end of life care?
People who have ‘end stage’ chronic disease/conditions (eg renal disease, heart condition, cancer) can continue to live for many years with just supportive rather than curative treatment. Then there is the final stage of life which can happen suddenly like a severe stroke or a more predictable lead up like chronic renal disease.
ACON Palliative Care Support
It’s best to start having end of life conversations before you need to, even if it feels a little uncomfortable at the time. This toolkit attempts to make it easier to open conversations about death and dying.
Here are some additional resources which may be helpful:
Support for Carers
Carer Gateway services are free to access for anyone caring for a family member or friend who is living with a disability, a long term medical condition, mental illness, alcohol or drug dependency or someone who is frail due to age. Access their services here
Elder abuse is any form of violence or mistreatment that causes harm to an older person, and occurs within a relationship of trust. Elder abuse can include acts of psychological, financial, physical and sexual abuse, as well as neglect. Some older people may describe this type of behaviour as disrespect or mistreatment, rather than abuse or violence.
The Australian Association of Gerontology has highlighted that disrespecting a person’s LGBTI+ identity is a unique form of elder abuse.
Older LGBTI+ people may face specific ‘difficulties’ because of disrespect for their LGBTI+ identities. This can take many forms including: discrimination, exploitation, homophobic comments, misgendering, and restricting sexual or gender expression. After a lifetime of discrimination, the cumulative impact of this disrespect can be profound. However, these experiences are often not named as ‘elder abuse’ by older LGBTI+ people, their families and friends, government agencies or service providers.
If you or someone you know is experiencing elder abuse or you would like more information:
- Compass is funded by the Commonwealth Government, it aims to create a national focus on elder abuse by raising awareness of this growing social issue, and simplify the process of connecting people to services and information tackling elder abuse.
- Local contact is at Relationship Australia Queensland who have an office in Maroochydore which is LGBTI+ inclusive.
Advocacy Services are well supported and are inclusive.
Older Persons Advocacy Network (OPAN) can provide assistance particularly navigating the services and advocating for your rights.