Symposium Series: Marginalised Ageing and Inclusive Systems

Symposium Series: Marginalised Ageing and Inclusive Systems

Tuesday 22nd June 2021

Organised by: Irish Gerontological Society


Symposium Series: Marginalised Ageing and Inclusive Systems

This series of meetings is a collaboration between The Irish Gerontological Society (IGS), the Irish Centre for Social Gerontology (ICSG) and the Centre for Economic and Social Research on Dementia (CESRD), at NUI Galway. The series of webinars runs from December 2020 until May 2021

Sixth Meeting: Tuesday, June 22nd 2021.  15.00-16.30

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The Irish Gerontological Society in association with:

Championing Older LGBT People in Ireland

An Invisible Population

Irish research on older LGBT people shows that 40% are not out to their healthcare providers due to fear of discrimination or lack of understanding and acceptance. International research follows a similar trend. Isolation and loneliness are higher among older LGBT people as many do not have a family support network similar to married heterosexual older people with children and extended family.

Since 2018 LGBT Ireland has run the LGBT Champions Programme. A programme that develops the awareness, confidence, competence and commitment of the health and social care professionals working in older age services, so they can transform the care experience of older LGBT+ people to one of inclusion, respect, and dignity.

This interactive webinar is designed to explore the experiences of older LGBT people engaging in Health and Social care services, as well as outlining some simple and practical strategies for becoming more inclusive.

 This is a free event hosted by the Irish Gerontological Society, registered charity no. 18858.  Will you support our work with a contribution? If you would like to make a donation, please click here now.  The impact of COVID-19 on the physical, mental, emotional and social wellbeing of older people has been devastating and will be long-lasting.  ​Your backing means that we can continue to bring new, useable, research-based knowledge to the fore. In particular, delivering this support to those professionals who are best placed to translate emerging research evidence into improved practices and policies for older people. 


Welcome: Prof Rose Anne Kenny, President of the Irish Gerontological Society and Prof Kieran Walsh, Director of the Irish Centre for Social Gerontology

Moderators:  James O'Hagan and Dr Diarmuid O'Shea



LGBT Champions Programme Manager James O’Hagan will speak with Sean Vail, a 62-year-old gay man living in Skibbereen Co. Cork about how fear of potential discrimination has previously held him back from accessing care, and the importance of safe and welcoming environments for individuals from marginalised groups.


Following two years as part of the LGBT Champions Network and having recently completed a dissertation examining the experiences of sexual minority women receiving care in the home, Registered Advanced Nurse Practitioner Aoife Dillon reflects on the impact of making her practice more inclusive and how a hospital-wide commitment to diversity in St James’ Hospital has had positive repercussions for staff and patients alike.


LGBT Ireland Training Manager Collette O’Regan will speak with Denise Croke, programme manager of Older Voices Kildare (OVK) a unique Social Inclusion Initiative working to build the confidence and capacity of LGBT older people living in County Kildare through the development of a community-wide wraparound care model. In 2020 OVK brought together a group of professionals working throughout health care provision services, mental health provision services, and vital voluntary and community supports, including An Garda Síochána to undertake the LGBT Champions Training Programme, and develop a unified action plan for inclusion of LGBT Older People across Kildare.


Speakers and Panel:


Rose Anne Kenny is Professor of Medical Gerontology and Head of the academic department of Medical Gerontology at Trinity College Dublin. She is the present President of the IGS. She is also director of the recently established Mercer’s Institute for Successful Ageing (MISA) at St. James’s Hospital Dublin, which is a state of the art facility hosting ambulatory care, inpatients, education and research facilities for older adults. She is the founding Principal Investigator of Ireland’s largest adult population study on the experience of ageing– for The Irish LongituDinal study on Ageing  (TILDA). She has a high international standing for her research on ageing ranked in the top 5% of geriatric medicine publications.

Kieran Walsh is Professor of Ageing & Public Policy in the Discipline of Economics, and Director of the Irish Centre for Social Gerontology at the National University of Ireland Galway. He has served as Chair of the European COST Action CA15122 on 'Reducing Old-Age Social Exclusion - Collaborations in research and policy' - ROSEnet. His research focuses on social exclusion in later life, critical transitions in older age, and the mediating role of place and community in processes of exclusion.

James O'Hagan is the LGBT Champions Training Programme Coordinator with LGBT Ireland. Prior to LGBT Ireland, James worked on network development in the Irish Institute of Pharmacy. James manages LGBT Ireland advocacy work with older members of the LGBT community, including coordinating the LGBT Champions Programme and network, providing support to older LGBT people through an online community established during the early stages of the pandemic restrictions, and developing a communication strategy to highlight the needs of older LGBT people.

Diarmuid O’Shea is a Consultant Physician in Geriatric Medicine in St Vincent’s University Hospital and Registrar of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland (RCPI).  He is a UCD medical graduate.  He was Clinical Lead for the National Clinical Programme for Older People with the HSE until 2019 and Chair of the Irish Committee on Higher Medical Training from 2017 to 2019.  He has held the position of Vice-President of Education and Professional Development in the RCPI and acted as the Masterclass Series Convenor in the RCPI since its inception in 2007.  He is immediate past president of The Irish Gerontological Society of Ireland.

Born in 1959 on the Canadian/American border, Sean Vail grew up in the hay day of LGBT+ culture. From Dallas to Hollywood and LA to Boston, America was definitely the place to be gay in the ’70s.  Sean moved to Bantry, West Cork, in 1991 to join his family. “Moving to Bantry was like going back to 1950 America where tolerance and acceptance of LGBT+ people hadn’t developed yet."  Now retired, Sean does research and advocacy work for the over 60’s rural LGBT+ population.

Aoife Dillon is a Registered Advanced Nurse Practitioner in St James’s Hospital, Dublin. She completed her MSc in Advanced Practice with Trinity College Dublin in 2019. She has spent the last 17 years working with older people across acute and ambulatory care settings. Her current role is with Home FIRsT, assessing frailty and facilitating the safe discharge of older people who present to the Emergency Department.

Collette O'Regan is Senior Training & Advocacy Coordinator with LGBT Ireland. Her background is in adult & community education/development both in Ireland and overseas (Africa, Asia). Collette holds an MSc in Equality Studies. Collette manages LGBT Irelands advocacy work with marginalised groups within the LGBT community including LGBT Travellers and Roma, Asylum Seekers and people living in Direct Provision.

Denise Croke is the coordinator of Older Voices Kildare, a Social Inclusion Initiative working to build the confidence and capacity of older people living in County Kildare. Older Voices Kildare (OVK) is focused on creating a Kildare where older persons are included and empowered within a vibrant community. Denise’s works to support the Social Prescribing Programmes, and coordinates supports for those with Alzheimer’s or dementia through the Alzheimer’s cafe, and the dementia-specific initiatives.

Ms Deirdre Lang, Director of Nursing/National Lead Older Persons Services/Clinical & Integrated Programmes, Office of Nursing & Midwifery Services Director. RGN, Scottish Quality & Safety Fellow (Cohort 10), FFNMRCSI, MSc Leadership, BNS (Hons), Dip Mgt, HDip Gerontological Nursing, HETAC level 6 Special award in coaching. Deirdre initially trained in St Vincent’s Hospital, Elm Park, as a Registered General Nurse. During the early part of her career, she spent a number of years working in acute services both in Australia and in Ireland. She has had a variety of experiences in healthcare, having worked in mental health nursing and in practice development. Her experience in Older Persons Services includes the role of Clinical Nurse Manager 2, Assistant Director of Nursing and Director of Nursing both in the HSE and private sector. Her role as Director of Nursing Older Persons Services brings together all aspects of her experience to date, together with her passion for the older patient and those who provide their care. Her approach to life is Henry Fords “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t ………you are right”.  Deirdre is a member of the National Executive Committee of the Irish Gerontological Society.