Desmond Ford

Day Presenting:  Tuesday 30 October
Time: 11:00am-11:30am
Session Concurrent C2-Research
Presentation Title Queer/Questioning People
Position Title Head-Program and Business Development
Company COTA SA

Abstract: 

COTA SA and the SA Rainbow Advocacy Alliance (SARAA) formed a partnership to deliver the LGBTIQ People Ageing Well Project, which took place over 2017-18. This piece of action research aimed to engage with older LGBTIQ people across South Australia with the aim of speaking with as a broad a cross section of community members as possible.

Co-design was one of the guiding principles for the project and an Advisory Group of older LGBTIQ people guided all aspects of the work, which was undertaken by Project Manager Desmond Ford. Over the course of the project more than 200 older people, from metropolitan and regional areas, joined the conversation about what mattered most to them as they aged; sharing their hopes, challenges and aspirations.

This research is one of the largest of its type ever undertaken in Australia and is the first time the question has been put specifically to this generation. Participants were clear, consistent and thoughtful in their responses, acknowledging the good work being done, making suggestions for change and being mindful of those more marginalised older LGBTIQ people who perhaps couldn’t be involved in the conversations.

From the conversations 5 key themes emerged which are critical to aged care providers wanting to provide meaningful and responsive services to the LGBTIQ community. This presentation will outline the key themes, which include accessing aged care services and housing services. It will also provide insight into the needs of this community and enable providers to understand how they need to respond in the age of consumer driven services.

In addition, this presentation will outline the next steps to build a “consumer and peer advocacy” approach to compliment services that support older LGBTIQ people to represent the needs and ambitions of their communities across the spectrum of ageing.

Biography:

Desmond Ford currently works at COTA SA as the Head – Programs and Business Development. He has a long history of working in social services in both NGO’s and Government, having held a range of Senior Management positions as well as significant experience in project management. His work in the LGBTI community includes having established projects in both metropolitan and regional centre’s, working alongside community members and key stakeholders. He has also run training for a range of professional bodies on LGBTI Inclusion, including teachers, mental health workers, allied health workers and aged care workers. Desmond has just been elected as the SA Director of the National LGBTI Health Alliance.