Unheard voices: a qualitative study of LGBT+ older people experiences during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in the UK

Trish Hafford-Letchfield, Michael Toze, Sue Westwood

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Abstract

This paper reports findings from a qualitative study into the immediate impact of social distancing measures on the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT+) older people (≥60 years) living in the UK during the first lockdown of the COVID-19 pandemic. It draws on in-depth interviews with 17 older people and 6 key informants from LGBT+ community-based organisations, exploring the strategies used to manage their situations, how they responded and adapted to key challenges. Five themes emerged related to: (1) risk factors for LGBT+ older people and organisations, including specific findings on trans experiences; (2) care practices in LGBT+ lives; (3) strengths and benefits of networking (4) politicisation of ageing issues and their relevance to LGBT+ communities and (5) learning from communication and provision in a virtual world. The findings illuminate adaptability and many strengths in relation to affective equality and reciprocal love, care and support among LGBT+ older people. It is vital UK that the government recognises and addresses the needs and concerns of LGBT+ older people during emergencies.

Original languageEnglish
JournalHealth and Social Care in the Community
Early online date6 Aug 2021
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 6 Aug 2021

Keywords

  • ageing
  • care practices
  • COVID-19
  • LGBT+
  • lockdown

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