There is growing recognition that social isolation and loneliness can have significant negative impacts on our health and well-being – both physical and mental. The World Health Organisation have identified social isolation and loneliness as a priority health problem during the UN Decade of Healthy Ageing (2021-2030).
Our rainbow communities have always understood the impact of isolation, creating social opportunities for our communities in response to the all-too-familiar loss of contact with friends and relatives experienced when coming out. Our ‘chosen families’ become a lifeline, filling that gap of connection and belonging, often being the only people with whom we can be our true selves.
We become accustomed to calling on these networks in times of need, often fuelled by distrust for institutions and systems that haven’t always been friendly to us. But what happens as we age? When networks start to drift away, or their time is up. Where do we find our connection and our family – our people – when it becomes a challenge to leave the house, or we find ourselves in a system or an institution where we’re unsure about being our true selves?
Working It Out are becoming the Tasmanian provider of the new Aged Care Volunteers Visitors Scheme (ACVVS), specifically for LGBTI folks who receive in-home aged care services, or who are living in aged care homes. Since July 2022 (and previously in 2021 as a pilot) we have been hosting Pride Morning and Afternoon Teas in aged care homes for residents and staff with two aims – to raise awareness about LGBTI people through having a chat over a cuppa, and to develop a team of volunteers to provide the one-to-one visits that will form the core of the ACVVS.
That’s where you come in – we’re still looking for volunteers! If having a chat, and a laugh, and possibly a cry with an older member of your rainbow family over a cup of tea, or accompanying them to a film or a show, sounds like something you want to be part of, then sign-up today! We provide a full introduction to the role, and pair you up with someone fabulous. And if you know (or are) an older LGBTI someone who’d like a new friend, please get in touch.
For more information and to register email Worthy at firstname.lastname@example.org, scan the QR code to register directly, or call 6231 1200.