University Of Tasmania
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Older Lesbians’ experiences of ageing in place in rural Tasmania, Australia: an exploratory qualitative investigation

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-20, 17:50 authored by Ruby GrantRuby Grant, Briohny WalkerBriohny Walker
While there is increasing awareness of the specific health and aged care needs of older lesbian and gay people, little is known about their needs and experiences of ageing in rural communities. In Australia, older people are over‐represented in regional and rural areas, however, rural communities face particular challenges to age friendliness, including infrastructure and transport limitations, reduced health and social services. In this context, few studies explore older lesbians’ gendered experiences of ageing in place. To address this gap in the literature, this article draws on qualitative interviews with 13 rural Tasmanian lesbians over the age of 55, exploring their perceived barriers and enablers for ‘healthy ageing’ in their communities. Findings reveal that geographical isolation was a literal barrier to accessing specialist healthcare and lesbian‐inclusive services, which may be absent in rural areas. The women perceived community health initiatives and social activities aimed at ‘healthy ageing’ in rural towns as heteronormative and unappealing for lesbians. In some cases women reported experiencing homophobic discrimination in these social groups. In contrast, rural communities were positively associated with a good quality of life derived from closeness to nature and feelings of reciprocity with rural neighbours and communities. These findings suggest that specific approaches to lesbian‐inclusive rural health and social care are required. Rural communities are well‐placed to build on community strengths to ensure higher quality of place‐based health and social care for isolated older people, including those of diverse genders and sexualities.


Publication title

Health and Social Care in The Community










School of Social Sciences


Blackwell Publishing Ltd

Place of publication

9600 Garsington Rd, Oxford, England, Oxon, Ox4 2Dg

Rights statement

Copyright 2020 John Wiley & Sons Ltd. This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Grant, R, Walker, B. Older Lesbians’ experiences of ageing in place in rural Tasmania, Australia: An exploratory qualitative investigation. Health Soc Care Community. 2020; 28: 2199– 2207., which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Health related to ageing; Rural and remote area health

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