8. Care settings
It is important to find the care settings that are right for you. In this section we explain what to look for.
With the right support, it is possible for people with dementia to live in their own homes for as long as possible. However, as your condition progresses, you will need more support. Eventually there may come a time when you need to think about moving into supported living or a care home.
This may be difficult for you. Your home may be where you feel safest and the idea of having to move may be distressing. You may be worried about having to move into supported living or a care home for many reasons – for example, having to go back ‘in the closet’, or fear of being isolated and not having your needs met.
There is a shortage of suitable housing options for LGBT people with dementia. There are some good ones, but it can be harder to find them. It may help to look into options as soon as you feel able, and then you will be ready if the time comes. It might feel very early to think about this right now, but it is important to do so as soon as you feel ready.
It can also help to talk to those close to you, where appropriate, about what you want in the future. You might also want to record your wishes about the kind of care setting you would want, when the time comes. For more information on this see ‘Planning ahead’.
When looking for supported living or a care home, it is a good idea to look into as many options as possible. You may want to contact or visit a variety of places to see if they seem suitable. First impressions are often a good guide too – if you don’t feel comfortable and safe then it is unlikely to be the right place for you.
The tips on the previous page about choosing a service will apply to supported living or a care home as well. Some other things to think about include:
- Does the culture of the home make you confident that your sexual orientation or gender identity will be respected?
- Are there private areas for visitors to talk to residents?
- Will you be able to express your relationship without threat and be given the same respect as different-sex couples?
- Is there space for you to be intimate with your partner if you want to be?
- If you have LGBT friends, ask them if they know anything about the home you are considering. For example:
- Has anyone you know been a resident?
- Do you know of any LGBT members of staff who work at the home? The existence of LGBT members of staff does not guarantee an LGBT-friendly environment, but it might give you some confidence.
- You could ask if you can choose who can support you. You may feel more comfortable with a certain person or you may want to have one or two people who know you and your needs and are able to meet them, rather than potentially having different people who aren’t aware of your situation. For information and advice about housing options, including for older LGBT people, Stonewall Housing may be able to help. Their contact details are in 'Other useful organisations'.