This week on the weekly news round-up for the 14th Global Conference on Ageing, the IFA is spotlighting Dr Gloria Gutman (Professor Emerita, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, Canada) who will be presenting at the Conference – along with colleagues – on the need to raise awareness of elder abuse within the LGBTQI community.
Older LGBT adults are often an invisible population, as stigma and isolation keeps them ‘stuck in the closet.’ At the same time, they may be at increased risk for some types of elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation, since research shows that they are more likely to live alone, less likely to be partnered, and less likely to have children, or if they do, to find them supportive. If LGBT individuals do experience abuse or neglect, the desire to be seen as ‘normal’ may make them even more reluctant than other older adults to report it.
The research addresses these concerns in an innovative way – an intergenerational arts project and collaboration between LGBT elders and youth.
The intergenerational research team is drawn from two preexisting groups – the Queer Imaging & Riting Kollective for Elders (Quirk-e), an arts collective, and Youth for a Change, a group of young activists and educators. The two groups collaborated on an intergenerational show in 2014, and have established trust and clear ways of working together.
In Phase 1 of the project, the groups came together with elder abuse/family violence researchers to create LGBT-relevant awareness raising materials. Stage 2 featured Town Hall meetings in 6 communities in British Columbia, Canada plus two “Dialogue Sessions” with individuals providing services to older adults from the two largest ethnic minorities in the province (Chinese; South Asian).
About Dr Gutman:
Dr Gloria Gutman developed the Gerontology Research Centre and Department of Gerontology at Simon Fraser University (SFU) and was director of both from 1982-2005. She is currently a Research Associate and Professor Emerita at SFU. Dr Gutman is author/editor of 23 books, the most recent (with Andrew Sixsmith) of which is Technologies for Active Aging (Springer, 2013).
Her research interests are wide-ranging and include seniors’ housing; long term care; health promotion; seniors and emergency preparedness; gerontechnology; prevention of elder abuse and neglect; and most recently, increasing access to advance care planning among marginalized groups.
During her career, Dr Gutman has held a number of high profile roles including two terms as President of the Canadian Association on Gerontology, President of the International Association of Gerontology and Geriatrics, and President of the International Network for Prevention of Elder Abuse.
Currently, she is President of the North American chapter of the International Society for Gerontechnology, a member of the World Health Organization’s Expert Advisory Panel on Ageing and Health, and on the Research Management Committee of the Canadian Frailty Network (CFN-NCE).
To learn more about Dr Gutman’s research, click here.