Older LGBT+ health inequalities in the UK: setting a research agenda
Lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans+ (LGBT+) people report poorer health than the general population and worse experiences of healthcare particularly cancer, palliative/end-of-life, dementia and mental health provision. This is attributable to: a) social inequalities, including ‘minority stress’; b) associated health-risk behaviours (e.g. smoking, excessive drug/alcohol use, obesity); c) loneliness and isolation, affecting physical/mental health and mortality; d) anticipated/experienced discrimination and e) inadequate understandings of needs among healthcare providers. Older LGBT+ people are particularly affected, due to the effects of both cumulative disadvantage and ageing. There is a need for greater and more robust research data to support growing international and national government initiatives aimed at addressing these health inequalities. We identify seven key research strategies: 1) Production of large datasets; 2) Comparative data collection; 3) Addressing diversity and intersectionality among LGBT+ older people; 4) Investigation of healthcare services’ capacity to deliver LGBT+ affirmative healthcare and associated education and training needs; 5) Identification of effective health promotion and/or treatment interventions for older LGBT+ people, and sub-groups within this umbrella category; 6) Development an (older) LGBT+ health equity model; 7) Utilisation of social justice concepts to ensure meaningful, change-orientated data production which will inform and support government policy, health promotion and healthcare interventions.