By Dr. Catherine Barrett and Carolyn Whyte
Val’s Café has been working to improve the health and wellbeing of older lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans and intersex Australians since 2009. Val’s focusses on building the capacity of service providers to be LGBTI inclusive as a means to improving the health and wellbeing of older LGBTI people. Through undertaking research and professional development, resourcing and support, Val’s is building a network of organisations that are equipped to provide LGBTI inclusive service.
In 2013 Val’s was contracted by the Commonwealth Department of Social Services for a three year project to support the development of LGBTI inclusive aged care services nationally. The project involves research, resource development, capacity building and promoting the visibility of older LGBTI people. Val’s is working with LGBTI community groups as well as national bodies such as Alzheimer’s Australia and Carers Australia to undertake these projects, many of which are already underway, including:
Dementia Research Project
Val’s Café is excited to be collaborating with Alzheimer’s Australia, South Australia; Alzheimer’s Australia, Victoria and Alzheimer’s Australia nationally on an important research project. To date, no research in Australia has specifically documented the needs of older LGBTI people with dementia The aim of the project is to understand the needs of older LGBTI people with dementia in order to support the development of LGBTI inclusive services. Once the research is complete resources and an education package for service providers will also be developed. There will be a dedicated session at the LGBTI Ageing and Aged Care Conference looking at this project and the unique issues associated with dementia for older LGBTI people.
Older LGBTI Film Project
Our film project Then & Now: Exploring the Experiences of older LGBTI people in Australia, is in its early stages. We have 5 incredible community groups on board, each advising on one of the 5 films that will separately explore the historical and contemporary experiences of older lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex people. Giving the project an intergenerational dimension, some talented young people from Minus18 are also on board to assist on the production side of the film. It is an exciting project that seeks to raise the visibility of older LGBTI people and their experiences and perspectives, both from then and from now. When completed, the films will provide a valuable resource and an important acknowledgment of the unique struggles and successes of Australia’s LGBTI elders.
LGBTI Ageing and Aged Care Conference
On October the 28th and 29th of October 2014, Val’s Café will be presenting the Inaugural LGBTI Ageing and Aged Care Conference at the Melbourne Town Hall. The sessions will explore the experiences of older LGBTI people in Australia and examine the research that currently exists relating to the health and wellbeing of older LGBTI people. LGBTI inclusive practice in aged care will also be a major focus, with sessions being delivered by service providers who are working within their organisations to create change. Specific ageing issues as well as LGBTI community projects will also be featured and explored. It is going to be an incredible event. Booking details as well as the conference program will be released soon.
In addition to these projects Val’s is also working on research and resources to understand the needs of Carers, older trans and intersex people as well as workforce diversity and LGBTI inclusive practice in the aged care sector. News about all of our projects is available on our website and through our monthly newsletter.
Val’s Café is always seeking new members, simply go to valscafe.org.au and enter your email address to join. To contact Val’s Café email the project co-ordinator Carolyn Whyte via email: firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 03 9479 8739