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Sweden moves closer to nursing homes for gays

David Landes · 7 Jul 2009, 15:07

Published: 07 Jul 2009 15:07 GMT+02:00

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While the idea of creating an elderly-living facility catering specifically to members of Stockholm’s gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transsexual communities has been around for more than a decade, plans are finally starting to move forward in earnest.

According to Christer Fällman, a project leader for the planned Regnbågen (‘Rainbow’) nursing home, many gays in Sweden are interested in having the option of spending their final years in an environment suited to their particular needs.

“What we want to avoid is the situation which sometimes occurs today where a guy doesn’t dare to tell nursing home staff that it’s his boyfriend of however many years who is coming for a visit,” Fällman told The Local.

Currently, Fällman is working with representatives from Stockholms Äldreboende AB, which manages the provision of care of a nursing home in the northern section of central Stockholm, and Micasa Fastigheter, which manages all of Stockholm’s nursing home properties, to carry out a survey to determine the level of interest among Sweden’s gay community.

He explained that one of the major stumbling blocks to moving the concept forward has been an unwillingness of politicians to provide funding.

“The city supports the idea,” he said.

“But we haven’t been able to go ahead with things because the city has had trouble with the economic piece.”

According to Fällman, the city’s decision to turn over the management of much of its elderly care services to private companies has helped the process along.

“The privatization of nursing homes actually made it easier to move things forward because you have a profit-driven company involved which sees the market potential,” he said.

He likened the effort to create a nursing home for gays, lesbians, as well as bi- and transsexuals to efforts by other ethnic groups to have special, language-specific nursing homes.

“There are already nursing homes for Finnish speakers, and soon we will also have them for Turkish, Greek, and Spanish speakers,” he said.

“We’re looking to create a nursing home where LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender] people can ‘speak their own language’ and feel secure in who they are.”

He emphasized that while the planned nursing home would cater to the needs of homosexuals, including having staff specially trained in issues specific to the community, it would be open to anyone and would accept residents from around the country.

Story continues below…

“We don’t want this to be seen as a move back into the closet. Anyone will be allowed to live there. It would be another form of integration,” he said.

While efforts by those in Sweden’s homosexual community to realize their vision of a gay-friendly nursing home have come a long way, Fällman said it would be at least a year before such a facility opened its doors.

“But I expect we’ll get there within two years,” he said.

David Landes (david.landes@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

20:22 July 7, 2009 by spy
Meanwhile back at the funny-farm the Swedish gays, bisexuals and transvestites were having a lovely time in their own special nursing home.

Simply marvellous!
07:05 July 8, 2009 by peropaco
What about midgets, dwarfs, older multiple sex partners? Why give them special treatments?
09:35 July 8, 2009 by voiceofreason
The only reason why LGBTs feel insecure is because their lifestyle is unnatural and abhorrent.

If it was ok to live like this, no one will bat an eyelid regardlessof what they do.

They are just a bunch of people who have caved in to their depraved thoughts.

I heard this sometime, it says

"Sow a thought and reap an act"

"Sow an act and you reap a habit"

"Sow an habit and you reap a character"

"Sow a character and you reap a destiny"
10:36 July 8, 2009 by Miss Kitten
Actually it's one of the most natural things on this planet. Nearly every species of mammal on earth (as well as countless non-mammal species) engages in homosexual behavior. Whether it's abhorrent is a matter of opinion, but nature does a lot of abhorrent things.

As for this proposed gay retirement home, it seems to me that something like that would be counterproductive in the long run. Ultimately, gays want the same rights and treatment as everybody else. Therefore, as is the case with any minority group, offering them any kind of special treatment only emphasizes that they are "different."
13:03 July 8, 2009 by spy
Interesting but I think the 'natural' observation is a bit of a pink herring. Many species kill their own young. Does this mean murder is natural? Perhaps. One thing is certain there are many traits both common and uncommon, desirable and undesirable. Some may be the result of a genetic defect or just a break from the norm. One could argue everything is natural - so I don't think this supports any argument.
16:03 July 8, 2009 by Kaethar
"As for this proposed gay retirement home, it seems to me that something like that would be counterproductive in the long run. Ultimately, gays want the same rights and treatment as everybody else. Therefore, as is the case with any minority group, offering them any kind of special treatment only emphasizes that they are "different.""

I don't see any problem here. With schools or workplaces it would be a problem. But these people are old now and I think making them comfortable is the most important thing. Preaching tolerance will do no good here... We need to focus on the younger generations for that. :)
10:49 July 9, 2009 by mr_asp
I think that building a a guy retirement home only strenghtens the argument that homosexuality is not a normal phenomenom.If so why a special retirement home?
11:05 July 9, 2009 by GITM
Reading sh1t like this makes me think longingly of an UZI and a long line of intolerant idiots.

The irony in parts of the statement is not lost on me, so i will merely look on in disgust. And take the piss whenever i see fit.
11:13 July 9, 2009 by Renfeh Hguh
Clearly Swedish gays are as hypocritical as Swedish feminists. They want equality and be treated as normal, except when it is to their advantage.
11:47 July 9, 2009 by 7
now that's the old age home i'd choose to live in if i needed to be in a home. creative, fun-loving and open-minded. sounds like a dream place to live in when age will bring out the cranky, bad-tempered and unpleasant in all of us.

imagine a place where people are banging on a piano belting out show tunes, redecorating the hallways and getting dressed up in silly outfits. awesome.
12:02 July 9, 2009 by Sofia_stockholm
Speaking as someone who works with the elderly - the memory impared version - I think it is a very good idea to start a profile home like this. There is definitely a need for more profiled homes and I can only begin to imagine the problems that might occur in some homes where you mix and match.

Sexuality and desire is one of the last primal functions to leave us. You continue to feel love, desire and attraction long after you have stopped recognising your own children when you're suffering from many dementia related illnesses. We have, where I work, had several of our residents falling in love with each other and also engaging in sexual activity, be it not necessarily the penetrating kind. This has in one case caused immense problems as regards to spouse and children.

We have to face that we still live in a less than perfect society, and that gay people are still sneered at by certain people. I believe all people have a right to age with dignity and respect and should not have to risk getting sneered at for their love when they are old and vulnerable.

Great initiative!
12:29 July 9, 2009 by Kieruk
Are they askign for a gay ONLY home, or just one where it is ok? Would they let straight elderly people in??
12:43 July 9, 2009 by Sofia_stockholm
If I understood the article in DN correctly it is a home for gay, bi-sexual and transsexual people. It's called Regnbågen and they are currently searching for suitable premises to open up
13:43 July 9, 2009 by 7
the article specifies that it would be open to whomever.
13:44 July 9, 2009 by Miss Kitten
The article did state that the home would be "open to anyone"...

I think it'd probably be illegal to have a "gays only" retirement home.
14:05 July 9, 2009 by Muttlestar Galactica
Rather this than being shut up with some bitter pissed stained Christian who's become only too aware his faith has been pointless and is looking into the abyss.
14:11 July 9, 2009 by Kieruk
Yeah...I just managed to get the article open and read it through...it answers my question quite clearly
23:54 July 9, 2009 by Paulo +fab muscular than Jonnhy
...um...dunno, for them suffering and pain is the "way" to heaven. You know like having to spend their whole lives pretending they have control over their own thoughts and desires --- oh, yeah that filthy depraved mind does not belong to me, oh my Lord!!! Untill the day a paparazzi or a spouse either finds out the truth... LOL, but there's always forgiveness and everyone's sins are completely forgotten. Halleluia!!!!!
10:05 July 10, 2009 by Paulo +fab muscular than Jonnhy
Whaa? Who?
06:13 July 12, 2009 by tshrt_1999
I think it has been too long a time since many of you have been to a nursing home. Straight, bi, gay ... seems less driven. To say that attribute determines where you spend your final days seems less important than staff compassion, cleanliness, quality food and good medical care.
11:17 July 12, 2009 by Sofia_stockholm
Well, I am in a nursing home pretty much six days a week and I don't fully agree with you. Some people are less driven, yes, but I have seen many fall in love and even get involved in relationships - and we're not talking a "senior citizen sheltered accommodation" here, we're talking nursing home for the last stages of Alzheimer and dementia.

Staff compassion is the first priority, and in your run of the mill nursing home in Sweden today you can bet your bottom dollar that there will be at least one or two serious homophobes working. In a profile home it would be quite certain no one would have to be exposed to that.
15:01 July 12, 2009 by conboy
I would generally be concerned about a kind of a social apartheid already in a society that is fairly comprehensively segregated, there are also calls from many that immigrant pensioners be placed in other homes than those which ethnic Swedes are attending recalling the criminally insane decision to permit religously run Friskolor. Are we to have segregation from the cradle to the grave in Sweden? Just wanted to additionally express my appreciation of those who work at these homes and who do so in as compassionate manner as described by Sofia. Fair Play!
16:19 July 12, 2009 by Paulo +fab muscular than Jonnhy
I think those who should decide whether it is a negative segregation for themselves are gay people - NOT the other way around, that is the majority of society in which everything is conceived bearing their concepts in mind.

On the other hand, the current elderly generation is still quite homophobic. Don't forget that many WESTERN European countries 30-40-50 years ago had laws criminalising homosexuality, e.g.., England, Norway, etc., even though today are considered very progressive for LGBT civil rights.

Do you think that in a heterogenous group of elderly people as we do seem to have today there has been evolved a completely different mindset in terms of sexual diversity acceptance? I really don't know. Recent polls do actually show evidences that there's higher homophobia amongst this group of people. Perhaps children of today won't need it anymore when they get old.
17:09 July 12, 2009 by conboy
I see your point alright regarding discrimination against gays among the older population - I guess I was using the issue to make a more generalised point. I probably have to give the matter more thought.
17:14 July 12, 2009 by clswanson386
I may seem a lil ignorant, but I really wasn't aware that there was an elderly gay community. Someone please inform...I thought gay came around with the romans, then again in the 70's! Although, I am american and maybe it was different here???
17:19 July 12, 2009 by ziabach
lol, I hope your kidding about that. Gays and bi sexual people have been around from the early days of humanity.
18:15 July 12, 2009 by conboy
I think he is referring to the US only it's a common enough phenomena - American exceptionalism I believe.
19:03 July 12, 2009 by ziabach
Can I just say, (as a bisexual male, (your all probably going to hate me now)) I find this article quite interesting, it would be good for gay people to be around other gays but then again maybe its not. Out of all my friends I am the only person who is interested in the same sex and they are completely fine being around me and I don't complain that none of them don't like men. You don't have to be around your same "culture type" to be happy, after all, a gay guy could move into a retirement home and meet his best friend who is straight, you just never know.

What's next, the American's and British asking for there own retirement home in Sweden?
09:34 July 13, 2009 by Paulo +fab muscular than Jonnhy

10:59 July 13, 2009 by Inletwatcher
Well, something is up with the bible when all of us are stemming from two people, who had kids, then either good old Adam did it with his daughters, or, the sons did it with Eve to make more babies to proprogate the earth. We are, if the bible holds a bit of truth, a product of incest, straight up. Gross if you ask me.

Sorry for changing the subject.

Back to Gay friendly homes.. its about time. I think all elder homes should be friendly to any person/race/creed/color. So should hospitals, restaraunts and gyms. I have too many to list.

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