• March 3, 2009 at 4:01 pm

    This is a difficult topic and one most families or caregivers don’t like to acknowledge or talk about. The reality though is that in the 30 years I’ve worked with older adults with dementia, it comes up a lot in private conversations with caregives — generally, described as “problem or inappropriate behavior”. I’ve been asked to do a workshop on this topic by our state adult day association because of some of the questions and challenges that caregivers face not only in adult day settings but also in long-term care settings. In the course of doing my research and literature review I thought it would be helpful and interesting to get some feedback, input and insight from other resources like this one. I would appreciate your thoughts on this. Thanks — Joy

  • March 5, 2009 at 3:24 am

    Joy—There are at least 2 topics that must be covered in any discussion about Sexuality and Dementia.

    One is inappropriate behavior (wandering hands/self gratification/and exposure).

    In my opinion there is little that can be done about wandering hands…Except reminders (that will probably be forgotten) that touching is not nice or for others to attempt to avoid them.

    In my opinion self gratification should be overlooked as long as it takes place in a private area. Someone having dementia does not have the rest of their body does not shut down.

    Exposure (either by males or females) is relatively normal…but…Not accepted in public. The only way that I can think of to stop this is through “adaptive clothing” (for example jumpsuits or other garments that button up the back and are not easy to get off)

    The other aspect that should probably be covered is sex (both by married individuals and residents in a facility).
    I don’t honestly know how this can be done. I do feel that unless one partner in a marriage objects…Sex between then should not be hampered. I lean toward feeling that 2 consenting residents in a facility should also be left alone unless there is suspicion of one bullying the other.

    Personally, if I ever had to place my loved one, I would not be hurt (and would continue visiting) if he became infatuated with someone else. Life anywhere can be lonely…Who am I to judge? Our brains sometimes give out quicker than our bodies.

  • March 7, 2009 at 5:16 am

    Thanks for posting and thanks for providing some smiles to this topic. Good for your nursing home, Marcus. It sounds like a humane place.

  • March 7, 2009 at 3:30 pm

    skericheri wrote:
    Thanks for posting and thanks for providing some smiles to this topic. Good for your nursing home, Marcus. It sounds like a humane place.[/Thanks so much for everyone’s input — Please continue to share your thouhgts – both positive and negative. It’s encouraging to hear positive outcomes to some basic human needs.]
  • March 7, 2009 at 3:36 pm

    (Sorry skericheri, I added my comment by mistake to your post – but I do agree with you)

    Thanks so much for everyone’s input — Please continue to share your thouhgts – both positive and negative. It’s encouraging to hear positive outcomes to some basic human needs.