While dementia can affect anyone, people over 50 are at greater risk.
In addition, research suggests that LGBT people are will experience difference challenges and concerns about dementia compared to the general population.
For example, LGBT people with dementia may experience additional layers of distress due to life-long health inequities and barriers to accessing healthcare. They may, even before being diagnosed with dementia, have felt unsafe expressing their identity for fear of discrimination and how others will treat them.
Memory loss is probably one of the most distressing symptoms of dementia for both the individual and those closest to them. As dementia progresses, past traumas, anxieties and distressing experiences may begin to resurface.
Some LGBT people may not remember that they have ‘come out’ and re-live fears and concerns about their sexual orientation including internalised homophobia or biphobia. For some older people, this could include experiences related to conversion therapy.
Trans people may not remember transitioning and again struggle to relate to their acquired gender or feel triggered by pictures, early memories and experiences prior to transitioning. Similarly, if their partner has transitioned, they may not remember and this can cause extreme distress.