24 Feb Elderly Problems: Sex in Nursing Homes
Sex is an integral part of our lives and is as undeniable as any other bodily need. It is a normal, healthy human drive, and down playing its importance in nursing homes will create an unnecessary disturbance as we, the baby boomer generation start residing there.
First and most importantly, psychological articles and research reveal that most elderly people exhibit a diminished sex drive due to common elderly problems but our sex drive does not completely disappear. Therefore, sex in nursing homes is an issue that needs to be discussed and properly addressed. One thing is certain. The baby boomer generation and our beliefs about sexual freedom and civil rights will surely bring about a change in many current “restrictive” aspects of the nursing home environment which will undoubtedly include sexual activity.
Psychological articles report that younger people are uncomfortable with the older generation engaging in intimate acts. They argue it’s hard for them to imagine their parents having sex, let alone their grandparents (or anyone of an older age). It is therefore important that concerned agencies explain to nurses and staff the importance of sexuality for older adults, identifying and attempting to eliminate barriers of any elderly problems to fulfill sexual desires and devising strategies to assist the residents. Sometimes rearranging the furniture or arranging the bed for someone who requires physical therapy is all that is required.
Psychological articles frequently remind us that our senior years can be very lonely and intimacy and companionship can go a long way in alleviating the elderly problem of these negative emotional states. Being a part of the baby boomer generation, sexuality means more to us than just its physical aspect, as it is also a great way to ease loneliness and depression. Barring elderly nursing home residents from this normal part of life will almost guaranteedly cause difficulties for the nursing home administration, and additional elderly problems for the populace. Moreover, if sexual interest is present in the elderly nursing home population and psychological articles tell us it is, it will continue to manifest regardless of any elderly problems such as unavailability of a suitable partner, lack of privacy or poor health.
In many psychological articles, Viagra is touted as a miracle medication as it assists sexuality by allowing the baby boomer generation to overcome elderly problems and be able to participate in sex. However, this oral administration of virility amongst aging boomers and booming senior men is an increasing concern for the administration of nursing homes as it allows more residents to engage in sexual behaviors. On the positive side, psychological articles have reported that Viagra has forced nursing home administrators to address this issue and rethink their ignorant or provincial attitudes towards elderly sex.
It is important to take note that some of the nursing home administrators and family members concerns regarding elderly residents’ sexuality are valid and should not be overlooked. For instance, adult children of nursing home residents and other family members may worry about the health of their elderly loved one if active sexuality is pursued, and how these new relationships might take a toll on their parents’ well being. It is therefore imperative that administrators ensure that all elderly residents’ behaviors are safe and do not in any way compromise health. And then there is the emotional issue wherein the elderly resident’s children might fear that the bonds of a new sexual relationship might be strong enough to lead to exploitation or the adult child’s taking a back seat in importance compared to the elders new intimate partner.
In addition to the aforementioned elderly problems, there are other safety measures that need to be addressed. For instance, residents need to be properly educated about HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases, and some might even need extensive physical therapy to achieve coitus. However, the most complicated situations arise due to residents suffering from Dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, as their inappropriate sexual behavior creates havoc for themselves, their potential partners, their family members and nursing home staff.
Religion and beliefs play an important role in this situation as well. There are some nursing homes which are run by religious groups that might oppose the baby boomer generation mindset of liberal sexuality. The staff members view their work as a religious motivation and thus would view this issue from the perspective of their religious beliefs and ethical teachings.
Nursing homes administration and staff need to adjust their attitude towards elderly sex and recognize residents as consenting adults who have the right, within reason, to do what they want to do. The family, too, should encourage their elderly loved ones to enjoy life despite their elderly problems.
We at Boomer Yearbook recognizing that nursing home sex can be a sensitive subject. We welcome your thoughts and opinions.
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