There are over 6 million carers in the UK.
Caring can take on many forms. You may:
- do the shopping and prepare meals for your partner who is ill
- help your mum to manage her finances because she has dementia
- help your disabled child to take a bath and go to the toilet
- provide emotional support to your brother who is addicted to drugs and alcohol.
Carers face many issues. You may worry about:
- juggling work and care
- debt and other money issues
- finding time for yourself
- looking after your own health and well being
- getting help in an emergency, or
- navigating your way through social services
Being lesbian, gay, bisexual or trans and a carer can bring about additional issues. One such worry may be that existing services to support you and the person that they care may not be LGBT friendly, or you may also feel uncomfortable about ‘coming out’ to people who can help.
On these web pages you will find information and links to places that can support you as an LGBT carer.
As a lesbian, gay or bisexual person looking after a partner, there may be pressure to ‘come out’ about the nature of your relationship with the various professionals involved in their care.
If you are caring for a parent or another family member, your own lesbian or gay identity may feel as if it is pushed to one side.
Try to ensure that you make time for your own needs and interests. Social services are required to do a separate carer’s assessment in which you can request time away from your caring role and be advised on relevant benefits.
Care is generally offered by staff who will not judge you. Since the implementation of the Government’s Equality Act 2010, no service provider may discriminate against anyone because they are lesbian, gay or bisexual.
If you ever experience prejudice or intimidation from a care worker relating to your sexual orientation, make a complaint to the service manager. You have the law on your side. If you are not satisfied by the response from the service manager, you are entitled to pursue the matter further through the Care Quality Commission.
Housing & residential care
There are currently no specialist housing options for older lesbian, gay and bisexual people in the UK. However ‘extra-care’ housing - the privacy of independent flats with the support of a care home can offer positive choices for older lesbian, gay and bisexual people. When looking at care homes or sheltered housing , find out more about the attitudes of the manager and staff. Be confident to ask the manager directly what their policy is towards lesbian, gay and bisexual residents.
Carers UK, General help and advice for all carers.
0808 808 7777 (free call to landlines)
Care Quality Commission
The LGF’s Online Carers Forum & Advice