If you're lucky, you'll be old one day!
Maybe you've had visions of a long happy retirement on a beach, or enjoying endless long lunches with friends and reading all those books you never had time for. On the other hand, the prospect of senior years can also be quite worrying. There are so many things to consider such as health, financial planning, housing and – inevitably - care. It's not something that many of us want to think about and we rarely talk about, but we need to. At best, we're all going to grow old and, unfortunately, we live in an expensive, complicated world. Did you know that, if you own your home or have savings of more than £23,250, you are expected to pay for and arrange your own care? It's quite a minefield and I know about it from personal experience, having been a full-time carer for my great aunt. But not everyone has family to rely on. The result is that many of our elders can end up isolated. Social distancing measures due to COVID can leave older people feeling even more lonely, and many are finding the current situation distressing.
What are the challenges faced by older adults within our LGBT+ community?
Let's consider those within our community born in the 1930s, 1940s, 1950s and even 1960s. Their early, formative adult years were spent in a Britain where homosexuality was illegal or considered a mental illness. Whilst much progress has been made since then, many senior citizens in our community are still reluctant to be open about their sexual identity, fearing discrimination. It is also true that older adults from within our community are less likely to be married than their heterosexual peers, less likely to have children, and are more likely to live alone. LGBT+ individuals from ethnic minority communities or with disabilities face additional inequalities. A 2019 UK government report found evidence of LGBT+ communities facing numerous barriers when accessing services, and that people can encounter discrimination, inappropriate questions and curiosity. These barriers can prevent people receiving fair and equal treatment in health and social care settings.
What LGBT+ friendly care options are available?
When I first lived in Brighton, as a young gay man, I semi-joked about opening up a gay care home on the seafront where we could all grow old disgracefully. Maybe one day that ambition will come true, but it looks like Manchester will be the first UK city to achieve that dream. This is great news. We all agree that there is a need for greater residential provision that caters for LGBT+ communities.
Enabling Independent Living in your own home
However, increasingly many of us choose to remain in our own homes as we grow older. This raises other issues that need to be considered. Some of us might like a helping hand with practical tasks around the home such as support with housework, gardening, pet care, repairs and maintenance, grooming and beauty, home technology and more. Others may be seeking sympathetic companionship: a friendly person with whom to go out for a drink or a meal; or help with a trip to the shops or garden centre. The experience of going to the cinema, theatre or to a sports match can be improved by having someone to discuss it with. Some may want help organising transport, days out or holidays, whereas others might like to connect with someone who would visit them at home, maybe to play cards, discuss books or cook a meal together. Further down the line, some of us are likely to require more intimate personal care, respite care, emergency care, dementia care, live-in care or even palliative care. We don’t like to confront this prospect, but it will be a reality for many.
Why Choose Kingsway Care?
Chris and I started Kingsway Care to provide our clients with a full range of high-quality services to enable independent living at home. We value the knowledge and life experiences older adults have acquired and see all of our clients as unique individuals rather than a faceless mass. As such, we aim to provide person-centred care tailored to suit people’s many and varied needs as they grow older. We can offer as little or as much help as is required. Our goal is to make a positive difference and bring joy into our clients' lives through delivering kind, considerate and imaginative care.
Kingsway Care are a Brighton & Hove Living Wage employer
We also strive to be ethical employers. Kingsway CareGivers and Personal Assistants are valued, paid the Brighton Living Wage (as a minimum) and provided with full support, first class training, and a structured career path. We also have a scheme to recognise and reward staff for their commitment to providing exceptional care. Our CareGivers feeling valued and motivated results in our clients receiving higher standards of care.
We love our vibrant local community and are committed to investing in it further through volunteering and fundraising initiatives. Throughout December we hosted two free online Christmas parties (featuring Drag With No Name, Beverley Knight, Sooty & Sweep, Caroline Lucas MP, Peter Kyle MP, Tim Loughton MP, Brighton & Hove’s Mayor, Brighton & Hove Albion & others) to help combat loneliness and isolation. We also hosted two online pantomimes (Cinderella and Jack & The Beanstalk) and a Carol Concert on Christmas Eve (from St Peter’s Church, Brighton).
We have continued the fun into 2021 by introducing Quizzical Thursdays, a pub style online quiz, broadcast via our Facebook and YouTube channels every Thursday at 7pm. We’re also very excited that our Kingsway Coffee Club will launch soon, managed by Scott Burey (aka Drag With No Name) and Darren Cavill. This will be an inclusive, warm hearted coffee shop, open to all, offering the highest quality food, and beverages. It will also be a community space for film screenings, activities, talks and events.
Contact Kingsway Care
Although we are particularly interested in serving our local LGBT+ community, our services are inclusive and open to all. If you are interested in receiving or providing any kind of care, have ideas for other ways in which you might like to be involved, or have knowledge you would like to contribute, we would love to hear from you.
Stay up to date!
To stay up to date with our activities, please like the Kingsway Care Facebook page:
You can also contact us via www.kingswaycare.com, email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone the friendly team on 01273 077444.