RetirementHomes.com reported yesterday that one of the most common misconceptions about aging is that older people don’t have sex.
However, an Australian study, as reported by the Telegraph newspaper, found that in many Australian nursing care homes, elderly residents are effectively being prevented from having sex by staff.
The study, commissioned by the Australian Centre for Evidence-Based Aged Care, discovered that a combination of age discrimination, lack of privacy, and even worry about legal consequences on the part of nursing care homes, have contributed to the practical prevention of sexual activity among residents.
“For residents with dementia, sexuality is viewed with even greater anxiety, either being labelled 'inappropriate' or a 'challenging' behaviour or as a risk to the resident,” according to the study.
The newspaper cited the study, which mentioned that there are legal implications for many nursing care communities for residents with cognitive decline, but because there are stages to dementia, not everyone with mental decay should be treated the same way, and that there should be multiple approaches to sexuality among seniors.
For example, the study said, people with early stage dementia may be impacted by simply being forgetful, while people with more developed dementia may be significantly less capable of taking care of themselves.