An estimated 90,000 people live with dementia in Scotland, around 3,200 people are under 65 and there is no known cure for the illness.
Campaigners want to increase the awareness of the condition within the LGBT community and help inform us all of the support available for dementia sufferers.
Dementia describes a set of symptoms that may include memory loss and difficulties with thinking, problem-solving or language, and sometimes changes in mood or behaviour.
For LGBT people living with dementia, it can lead to problems remembering who you have told about their sexual orientation or gender, leading to distress and confusion. The condition can also lead to memories from a person’s distant past becoming more accessible than very recent memories, sometimes causing distress if they are remembering a time before they came out, or share experiences with family or carers who may not know about different sexual partners from the past.
Since the condition is progressive, the symptoms are likely to get worse over time, making it also important to consider who can make decisions on your behalf in the future.
Jennifer Hall from Alzheimer Scotland said:
“We strive towards Alzheimer Scotland becoming inclusive and representative of the communities we engage with. If you are lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender (LGBT) we welcome you to our organisation. Whether it be for support, information or advice, or as a volunteer member, we need your help to support our mission that nobody should face dementia alone.”
“With over 90,000 people living with dementia in Scotland we are encountering poor awareness, lack of knowledge and information to support the LGBT community and their families. It is therefore imperative we make every effort to address the inequalities that exist for this significant minority. We endeavour to ensure our communities become more dementia friendly but this needs to take in account the diversity of our society and encompass the needs of the LGBT community.”
The organisation is helping raise awareness of the support available to LGBT people living with dementia and recently spoke at an event with ‘Out in Glasgow’ at the DoubleTree by Hilton. Workers also took part in the Pride Glasgow parade in 2017 and have established an LGBT Champions network for staff and volunteers.
You can find out more about coping with dementia by contacting Alzheimer’s Scotland or reading this resource: