In the beginning

Apparently there’s now a name for the condition that many of us feel when faced with returning to work after two weeks of over-indulging during the Christmas break – it’s called social jetlag. Thank you scientists for giving us a properly researched excuse for distractedly staring out of the window in early January and wishing we were somewhere else. Long holiday lie-ins really do mess with the body clock. But here’s a challenge to shake off the effect of too many eggnogs - 9 months to identify new solutions to growing older together. That’s our breezy challenge here at Tonic - what does it mean to grow older as a lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) man or woman in the UK today? According to much of the research, it doesn’t look good, with 45% of older LGBT people experiencing discrimination while using social services and 73% expressing discomfort in disclosing their sexuality to care home staff.

We’re being backed during 2015 by some of the UK’s largest charitable foundations to come up with ideas that will impact positively on those stats. We’ve already done some of our own surveying of the LGBT community which revealed an impressive 67% of older LGBT people would consider living in LGBT specific housing and a mighty 91% would consider accessing LGBT specific care/support services. That’s provided us with a useful indicator for the direction of travel perhaps, but we’re really embarking on this journey without pre-conceived ideas of what might make growing older that little bit easier- whether you’re from within the LGBT community or not. We have ideas on how we’re going to consult and research but we’re right at the very start of our road trip so please get in touch and suggest alternative routes. We’ll share our discoveries along the way through this blog and other social media. Feel free to participate and provide commentary at any point. The only current certainty – this is a positive remedy for social jetlag…