Navigating Personal Networks: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans Older People's Networks of Support Towards the End of Life
The paper discusses findings from the qualitative strand (60 in-depth interviews) from a large two year mixed methods UK project investigating the end of life experiences and care needs of older LGBT people (aged 60 or over), funded by the Marie Curie Research Programme. Findings revealed a number of barriers and stressors impact on well-being and care experiences, related to respondents' LGBT identities. These included anticipatory and/or real fears and experiences of discrimination; hetero-normative assumptions and lack of recognition of relationships. Many expressed a preference to rely on personal networks rather than formal care services. Respondents' networks varied from those who were extremely isolated to others who had strong connections incorporating friends, families and kin. It is clear that older LGBT people's histories and pathways have profound influences on well-being and access to support towards and at the end of life.