LGBTQ+: Living with dementia

If you are LGBTQ+ and have dementia, these pages are for you. They have information and advice about how to live well with dementia.

What we mean by LGBTQ+

The term ‘LGBTQ+’ is widely used and can mean different things. In these pages it refers to people with a range of different identities, including:

  • Lesbian – a woman who has an emotional, romantic or sexual orientation (attraction) towards women.
  • Gay – a man who has an emotional, romantic or sexual orientation (attraction) towards men.
  • Bisexual – a person who has an emotional, romantic or sexual orientation (attraction) towards men and women.
  • Trans – someone who doesn’t identify with their assigned gender at birth, or who sees themselves as between, beyond or outside of the two standard categories of male and female.
  • Queer – a term that some people use to describe their sexual orientation or gender identity. This can include, but is not limited to, lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people.

We also use the following terms:

  • Heterosexual – a person who has an emotional, romantic or sexual orientation (attraction) towards people of the opposite sex.
  • Cisgender – a person whose gender identity is the same as the sex they were assigned at birth.

The plus sign at the end of LGBTQ+ is to show that different people define themselves differently. Some people do not identify with any of the terms above. For example, some people identify as intersex, asexual or non-binary. We include these and other groups when we use the term LGBTQ+.

Living with dementia as an LGBTQ+ person

Everyone experiences the challenges of dementia in their own individual way. Being LGBTQ+ and having dementia can bring other additional challenges. It can help to be aware of and prepared for these issues.

You may feel that lots of the information, advice and support you are offered isn’t right for you. You may have, or feel you have, different circumstances to heterosexual or cisgender people. This could be because of your experiences or living arrangements, the support you receive and who you have around you.

Our dementia advisers are here for you.

How dementia might affect an LGBTQ+ person

Some of the symptoms of dementia can have particular implications for LGBTQ+ people. For example, memory problems might make it harder for you to remember who you have told about your sexual orientation or gender identity.

Dementia is a progressive condition. This means that the symptoms get worse over time. As your condition progresses, you will find it harder to manage day-to-day things and you will need more help and support.

Planning ahead can help you prepare for this, and there may be specific things to think about if you are LGBTQ+. For example, this might include getting a Gender Recognition Certificate or ensuring that your partner has the ability to make decisions on your behalf.

You may also want different things from the services and support you access. For example, you may want services that are LGBTQ+ inclusive and who understand how important your gender identity and sexual orientation are to you.

It’s important to know that you aren’t alone. Support and advice are available, there are services and care settings designed to support you, and the law protects your rights to equal treatment and privacy. By knowing your rights, finding the right support, and planning for your future, it can be possible to live well with dementia.

If you’ve recently found out you have dementia, see The dementia guide: Living well after your diagnosis for more information on a range of topics.

Caring for an LGBTQ+ person with dementia?

You might find it helpful to read our pages on Supporting an LGBTQ+ person with dementia.

Find out more
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