Retirement centre for gays a first in Sweden
by FFE EU News staff
Elderly members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community in Sweden finally have a place to call their own.
On Friday, Regnbågen seniorboende (Rainbow Senior Living Facility) opened in Gärdet neighbourhood. The facility is the country’s first senior LGBT co-operative renters association, the idea of which was first hatched back in 2009.
Renbågen chairman Christer Fällman said ‘We’re looking to create a care home where LGBT people can “speak their own language.”
Regnbågen serves people aged 55 and older and has 27 flats on the top three storeys of a building on Sandhamnsgatan. The facility will provide space for the needs of elderly LGBT members and will be staffed with people who have been trained in the issues of the community. However, the facility will also be open to anyone from Sweden.
Fällman explained that ‘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.’
Forty men and women have already moved in. Lars Mononen, Renbågen resident and association vice-chair, said that ‘Some of our members are younger people who are in their thirties who are planning for the future by getting in the queue now.’
He explained that Renbågen is a place where LGBT members can feel comfortable in their later years. ‘We don’t have kids, generally, and often aren’t that close to other family members, and when you stop working you really miss that social interaction.
‘Renbågen gives us all a little bit of an extra social safety net lets us be a part of an active community. This is a place where people actually seek out contact with their neighbours, rather than try to avoid it.’
Mononen adds that Renbågen won’t be the last gay-friendly retirement home to be built in Sweden.
‘I know already they are looking at doing something similar in Gothenburg.’