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Inequalities in older LGBT people's health and care needs in the United Kingdom: a systematic scoping review

  • Dylan Kneale (a1), Josie Henley (a2), James Thomas (a1) and Robert French (a3)

Abstract

The hostile environment that older lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people faced at younger ages in the United Kingdom (UK) may have a lasting negative impact on their health. This systematic scoping review adds to the current knowledge base through comprehensively synthesising evidence on what is known about the extent and nature of health and care inequalities, as well as highlighting gaps in the evidence which point the way towards future research priorities. We searched four databases, undertook manual searching, and included studies which presented empirical findings on LGBT people aged 50+ in the UK and their physical and mental health or social care status. From a total of 5,738 records, 48 papers from 42 studies were eligible and included for data extraction. The synthesis finds that inequities exist across physical and mental health, as well as in social care, exposure to violence and loneliness. Social care environments appeared as a focal point for inequities and formal care environments severely compromised the identity and relationships that older LGBT people developed over their lifecourse. Conversely, the literature demonstrated how some older LGBT people successfully negotiated age-related transitions, e.g. emphasising the important role of LGBT-focused social groups in offsetting social isolation and loneliness. While there exist clear policy implications around the requirement for formal care environments to change to accommodate an increasingly diverse older population, there is also a need to explore how to support older LGBT people to maintain their independence for longer, reducing the need for formal care.

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Copyright

This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Corresponding author

*Corresponding author. Email: D.Kneale@ucl.ac.uk

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Inequalities in older LGBT people's health and care needs in the United Kingdom: a systematic scoping review

  • Dylan Kneale (a1), Josie Henley (a2), James Thomas (a1) and Robert French (a3)

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