How everyone can help to Bring Dementia Out
1. See the person and not just the condition
Treat everyone as an individual. Look beyond dementia and respect all aspects of someone's identity.
2. Learn the right language and avoid making assumptions
It's okay to ask how a person would like to be referred to. If you're unsure of someone’s gender, use first names or gender-neutral pronouns, such as ‘they’ and ‘them’. Use terms like ‘partner’ (not husband and wife) and ‘child’ (not son or daughter).
- What does LGBT+ mean? 'LGBT' stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans. The ‘+’ recognises inclusion of wider spectrums of sexuality and gender. Learn more from Stonewall's extensive glossary of terms.
3. Understand the stigma
While everyone’s experience of dementia is unique, there can be many additional challenges that are specific to a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
- LGBT+ people with dementia who have faced discrimination or stigma may feel forced back into the closet, or their dementia could mean they feel they are still living in those times.
- Trans people with dementia may go back to a time before they transitioned, which can be distressing and confusing.
- Some LGBT+ people may feel isolated as they may have no long-term partner or family to support them.
Hear from people facing these challenges, and learn what is being done to help
Bring Dementia Out provides advice, guidance and support in Brighton and Hove, and Greater Manchester for:
Help is at hand
If you are living with dementia or supporting someone who is (carer, partner, friend or relative), get the support you need by speaking to your GP.
You can also order or download free resources, including Alzheimer’s Society's LGBT: Living with dementia booklet.
You can contact your local Alzheimer’s Society office to ask more about Bring Dementia Out:
- If you’re in Brighton and Hove, please call 01273 726 266 or email [email protected]
- If you're in Greater Manchester, please call 0161 962 4769 or email [email protected]
Our National Dementia Helpline provides help and support for anyone seeking information or advice. Our Dementia Advisers are here for you on 0300 222 11 22.
Follow these three steps:
1. Become dementia-friendly and help others to be dementia-friendly
- Become a Dementia Friend
- Become a Dementia Friends Champion
- Join your local Dementia Friendly Community.
2. Understand the experiences of people affected by dementia
Give people a voice by involving them in your work, reading and sharing their stories.
3. Support others to be LGBT+ inclusive
Talk to dementia organisations, and share your knowledge with health and social care professionals.
Follow these three steps:
- Find out more about dementia
- Become a Dementia Friend or a Dementia Friends Champion to help transform the way we all think, act and talk about the condition. Visit dementiafriends.org.uk
- Start the conversation about how dementia affects LGBT+ people by learning from the Bring Dementia Out resources
- Talk to friends and family members
- Talk at an event or group you’re holding or attending (for example, a university LGBT+ society or a book group)
- Share through your networks on social media or other channels.
Health and social care professionals may include GPs, care homes, hospitals and other organisations, such as charities.
Follow these three steps:
- Raise awareness among staff and volunteers by reading and sharing stories about the experiences of LGBT+ people affected by dementia and inviting them to share their story at events
- Create a safe culture for LGBT+ people affected by dementia:
- Look for training programmes and quality assurances about LGBT+ inclusivity, such as Opening Doors London
- Use value-based recruitment – see Health Education England’s guidance – and refer to these values throughout everyone’s employment
- Ensure any existing training, policies and publications that relate to dementia are LGBT+ inclusive (such as imagery, language and examples used)
- Ask open-ended questions that show that you're not making assumptions about a person's relationships:
- 'Who is important in your life?'
- 'Who is your next of kin?'
- 'Who have you brought with you today?
The National Dementia Action Alliance is helping health and social care organisations become more LGBT+ inclusive.
About Bring Dementia Out
Bring Dementia Out is an innovation that was tested in Brighton and Hove, and Greater Manchester in January and February 2019. The aim was to increase awareness and understanding of dementia and reach out to those who may not feel supported.
After the success of our innovation project, Bring Dementia Out is now being scaled at a wider level by LGBT Foundation, National Dementia Action Alliance, Switchboard (Brighton and Hove), National LGB&T Partnership and LGBT Consortium, and is being supported by the Guinness Partnership. Visit the website to find out more.
Many thanks to our Bring Dementia Out partners, stakeholders and experts who innovated with Alzheimer's Society. This includes people affected by dementia, national and local organisations, and LGBT+ communities.