Take a look inside Queensland’s first LGBTI aged care residence


arcare parkwood lgbti aged care suite gold coast queensland aids council rainbow tick
Photo: Arcare Parkwood

Queensland’s first ever LGBTI aged care residence, Arcare Parkwood, will open its doors to community elders next month.

Aged care provider Arcare’s new five-star residence at Parkwood in the Gold Coast hinterland will provide 90 suites for LGBTI elders.

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Arcare Parkwood will provide a mix of both permanent and dementia care. Facilities also include a wellbeing centre, theatre, hair salon, private dining, activity and entertaining areas, and dementia support rooms.

On Saturday, November 9, the residence will open its doors for its public open day. The first residents will enter on Monday, November 11.

Arcare CEO Colin Singh said the provider is very proud to officially open the LGBTI residence, a first for both them and Queensland.

“We’ve been working with the Queensland AIDS Council on our recruitment and team training so that Arcare Parkwood can meet the needs of Queensland’s diverse LGBTI communities,” he said.

Singh said team members are trained according to the National LGBTI Health Alliance’s Silver Rainbow aged care training package.

“This will be delivered by QuAC and we have also formed an advisory group with QuAC and members of the LGBTI communities,” he said.

Parkwood staff are also working on a range of LGBTI-specific social activities to offer residents.

Arcare Parkwood will hold its public open day on Saturday, November 9 from 9am-3pm at 2 Woodlands Way in Parkwood, Queensland.

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Queensland AIDS Council supporting Arcare Parkwood

Sadly, LGBTI elders in aged care often feel forced “go back into the closet” out of fear of discrimination on the basis of their sexuality or gender identity.

Queensland AIDS Council (QuAC) CEO Rebecca Reynolds said they’re “immensely proud” to be supporting Arcare on the Parkwood project.

“We’ve seen the impact that the Silver Rainbow Aged Care Training we deliver has had in the aged care sector,” Reynolds said.

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“We’re excited to support Arcare to continue to apply that knowledge to its work and evaluate its impact.

“The actions Arcare is taking now will ensure that its LGBTI Brotherboy and Sistergirl residents are able to continue to live their lives proudly and celebrate who they are as they move into aged care.

“Importantly, with the choice for the first time in Queensland for that to be in an LGBTI residence, QuAC is immensely proud of being a partner in that journey to date.”

Arcare CEO Colin Singh said Parkwood has consulted QuAC on the residence’s interview processes to ensure they’re LGBTI-inclusive.

“We have also updated our application forms to adhere to and reflect various genders and sexualities,” he said.

“We are also working towards getting our Rainbow Tick accreditation, which we will make significant progress on next year.”

How Queensland’s first LGBTI aged care residence began

Queensland nurse Trudi Murray was horrified to see her mother’s cousin vilified growing up because of his sexual orientation.

As a result, she decided to dedicate her land on the Northern Gold Coast to a dedicated LGBTI aged care residence for elders like him.

Partnering with businesswoman Ann Robilotta, the pair then worked to secure a development application. In September 2017, the federal government awarded them 60 bed licenses, which they later increased to 90.

Faced with the huge undertaking, they took the project to aged care provider Arcare. They were confident Arcare could deliver their vision of a sanctuary for LGBTI community elders.

Emma Donaldson, one of Arcare Parkwood’s enrolled nurses, belongs to the LGBTI community herself. She said she’s excited to belong to the team helping to provide support to the elderly LGBTI community in ways not seen before.

“This topic is often a taboo among this generation. They’re not 100% accepting or, if they’re part of the LGBTI community, they’re very private about it,” she said.

“I’m excited to work in an environment where we can share so much of our personal lives together and openly speak about our personal experiences.”

For the latest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) news in Australia, visit qnews.com.au. Check out our latest magazines or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.