The health, social care and housing needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender older people: a review of the literature

Authors


Samia Addis
Cardiff Institute of Society, Health and Ethics,
Cardiff University
53 Park Place,
Cardiff CF10 3AT, UK
E-mail: addiss1@cardiff.ac.uk

Abstract

This paper reports the findings of a literature review of the health, social care and housing needs of older lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) adults undertaken in 2006 for the Welsh Assembly Government. Peer-reviewed literature was identified through database searches of BNI, PubMed, CINAHL, DARE, ASSIA and PsychInfo. Follow-up searches were conducted using references to key papers and journals as well as specific authors who had published key papers. A total of 187 papers or chapters were retrieved, of which 66 were included in the study; major themes were identified and the findings synthesised using a meta-narrative approach. The main themes that emerged from the review were isolation, health behaviours, mental health and sexual health behaviours. The literature indicates that the health, social care and housing needs of LGBT older people is influenced by a number of forms of discrimination which may impact upon the provision of, access to and take up of health, social care and housing services. Understanding of the health, social care and housing needs of older LGBT people is limited and research in this area is scarce. The research which exists has been criticised for using small samples and for tending to exclude participants from less affluent backgrounds. The focus of research tends to be on gay men and lesbians; consequently, the needs of bisexual and transgender people remain largely unknown. Additionally, research which does exist tends to focus on a narrow range of health issues, often related to the health needs of younger LGBT people. Discrimination in various forms has a major impact on needs and experiences, leading to marginalisation of LGBT people both in the provision of health and social care services and neglect of these groups in public health research.

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