A survey carried out among nursing home residents in Drenthe found that gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex residents are not always open about their sexual identity.
Translation by Traci White
Dagblad van het Noorden reports that Zorgbelang Drenthe, a care organisation in the province, conducted the survey last year at 16 retirement homes across Drenthe to see what the attitudes of the staff and residents were towards LGBTI people.
The survey was conducted on behalf of Roze 50+, a Dutch foundation focused on the well-being and health of elderly LGBTI people. The care homes were asked if they had taken the possibility that residents or staff may come from sexually diverse backgrounds. Out of the original 16 institutions that were approached, only nine responded to the survey. Of those, seven said that they had not taken the needs of this group into consideration.
Words versus deeds
Jan van Loenen, the directors of Zorgbelang Drenthe, told the Dagblad that there is clearly a difference between a care home saying that everyone is welcome and that institution adopting policies that actually ensure that is the case. Van Loenen says the he suspects that these issues are harder to discuss in Drenthe than in other regions of the country. “People here are more reserved and less inclined to talk about personal things, and people living in a care home are already in a more vulnerable position.”
Roze 50+ ambassador Marije Lugtmeier says that the survey also revealed that employers do not always make sure that the care givers are not being discriminated against by the residents. “Some elderly people says that they do not want to be cared for by a person of colour, or a gay person, or a woman wearing a headscarf. If you respect that, then you are still contributing to a discriminatory environment.”
Based on reporting published during Pride Week in August, Dutch national broadcaster NOS stated that many older people end up going back into the closet when they move into nursing home facilities. Reporting by NRC stated that research into the lives of elderly LGBTI people found that they were more prone to experiencing loneliness than heterosexual people because they are less likely to have a partner or children and more likely to have a strained relationship with their family members.