A freelance chartered psychologist has won a fellowship to travel to Australia and the USA to research LGBT inclusivity in elderly care homes.
Jane Youell, a mother-of-three from Newport Pagnell, was awarded the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Fellowship to bring oversees healthcare methods back to the UK.
Jane said: “We are talking about over 75s who have lived through a time when homosexuality was illegal and morally wrong.
“If you have lived through that history you are going to be reluctant to talk about it.”
Jane will be visiting healthcare centres in Australia where a rainbow tick system is in use and will learn how to implement this in the UK.
She said: “The rainbow tick means that care homes have an accreditation so everybody knows and can be reassured it is a fully inclusive care home.
“The LGBT community can then actively seek those care homes.
“We do have some LGBT training here in the UK but it is quite localised, e.g. in Camden, Brighton, Manchester. I am trying to look at ways to do this across the country rather than just areas that are gay-friendly.”
Jane’s focus on looking at the older population comes from the assumption made about their sexual inactivity and she wants to take this a step further by raising awareness about sexuality for people with dementia.
She said: “If we can get people to see beyond age, they can see how important intimacy is for all ages. I want to break down assumptions that sex is only for the young and beautiful.”