Sexuality, Age and Care in an Inner City Borough
Sociology University of Surrey Guildford, Surrey, UK
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences Kingston University Kingston upon Thames, UK
This paper focuses on the complex interrelationship between sexuality, gender, caring and community amongst a sample of older lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) adults, aged 50-73, living in an inner-city borough in the UK. Drawing on qualitative research data obtained as part of a collaborative research project between academic researchers and a local authority equality team, it focuses on quality of life issues, institutional support and/or barriers to accessing care in later life experienced by this group of residents. To this end, the paper contributes to a small but growing body of research that has sought to increase understandings of sexual diversity in later life. However, rather than adopting an approach, which may view sexuality as a ?problem? in later life, or another sociological variable that needs to be explored, the paper argues that older LGB adults experiences indicate important issues relating to care, support, community and social networks applicable to all adults, whatever their sexual orientation. Indeed, the paper argues that rather that marginalising their experiences, the biographical narratives of older LGB adults can inform sociological debates concerning ageing in contemporary, late modern society, whilst simultaneously extending our understandings of what it is to age. The paper concludes, therefore, with recommendations for both policy makers and practitioners who are concerned about sexuality and care in later life, together with sociologists concerned with gerontology more generally.