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Specialist dementia support for the LGBTQ+ community

Our newly created Consultant Admiral Nurse service for the LGBTQ+ community is an exciting step for Dementia UK.

About this new service 

At Dementia UK, we are committed to providing every family affected by dementia with tailored, specialist support that meets their unique needs – including those that are often overlooked by health and social care services.  

Our newly created Consultant Admiral Nurse service for the LGBTQ+ community is an exciting step for Dementia UK. It serves to represent the needs of people within the LGBTQ+ community, their families and carers, raising awareness of the challenges they face and advocating for inclusive and affirmative care.  

The service will provide clinical guidance to members of the LGBTQ+ community, their families and carers; as well as support in raising awareness, promoting inclusivity within the services we provide, influencing policy work, research and developing educational resources.   

Why is it so important to have a dedicated service for the LGBTQ+ community?  

Members of the LGBTQ+ community face many challenges and obstacles, particularly in accessing health care services. This can lead to poor health outcomes and people avoiding accessing timely support due to fear of judgement or discrimination.  

Having this service in place will ensure inclusivity remains at the core of the care and support we provide. It will reassure members of the community that they can access support from Dementia UK without fear of judgement, creating a safe space to share concerns and seek help with issues relating to dementia.   

What are some of the challenges experienced by the LGBTQ+ community? 

Every day, members of the LGBTQ+ community face challenges such as:  

  • homophobia, prejudice, discrimination and judgement  
  • a lack of specialised support services to meet their specific needs  
  • lack of available resources  
  • unequal treatment  
  • inappropriate curiosity  
  • lack of recognition of ‘families of choice’ and assumptions regarding relationships   
  • increased prevalence of depression, high alcohol consumption and social isolation leading to poorer health outcomes 

Ways we can all support the LGBTQ+ community:

  • Aim to become LGBTQ+ aware and promote awareness for the people around you 
  • Become familiar with available support services to signpost those within the LGBTQ+ community too   
  • Be aware that sexuality or gender identity may fluctuate in people with dementia. For example, a person with memory issues may not remember that they have come out as LGBTQ+ or that they have transitioned to a gender different from their gender assigned at birth. This could cause anxiety about family, friends or professionals finding out – when they actually already know  
  • Remain mindful that a person with reduced memory may unintentionally disclose their gender identity or sexuality where they have chosen not to before – which could also have implications for their partner  
  • When speaking to health and social care professionals, disclose only what you feel comfortable with. Informing them of the person’s sexuality and gender identity may help the professional provide person-centred care, but there is no obligation to do so 
  • Consider language used when supporting individuals who identify as LGBTQ+. Aim to use open questions such as, “Who are you closest to?” and avoid making assumptions about a person’s gender identity, sexual orientation or relationships  
  • Support the person with dementia as they present/identify at that particular time  
  • Be aware of the person’s life experiences. Reminiscence therapy is beneficial for many people with dementia, but certain memories might trigger past trauma caused by discrimination or prejudice 
  • Compile a record of important information about the person with dementia, such as a life story book, which could include details of their sexuality or gender identity. This can be given to professionals who are involved in their care, such as hospital or care home staff  
  • Be mindful of ‘families of choice’: close friends who have adopted a larger support role because of a lack of acceptance from the person’s family of origin 
  • Do report any prejudice or discrimination from professionals – this could lead to positive changes in how they support people. All health and care services must have a complaints policy explaining the steps to follow  

Dementia UK support for LGBTQ+ people living with dementia  

To speak to a dementia specialist Admiral Nurse about supporting a member of the LGBTQ+ community or any other aspect of dementia, please call our Helpline on 0800 888 6678 (Monday-Friday 9am-9pm, Saturday and Sunday 9am-5pm) or email

If you prefer, you can book a phone or video appointment with an Admiral Nurse.

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