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Care Homes Often Deny Elderly People the Right to Have Sex: Research

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It’s not easy for care takers to deal with the sexual needs of the elderly, especially when the patients are suffering dementia. But this is no excuse to deny them the right to consensual sex, according to researchers from the Australian Centre for Evidence-Based Aged Care (ACEBAC), which is what’s happening now at many care homes.

‘Privacy remains a problem, with residents often not able to lock their doors and most rooms equipped only with single beds,’ they write in the paper. ‘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.’

The researchers defend that care homes should pay more attention to this issue, taking into account the circumstances of each case.

‘Clearly there is a significant difference between the capabilities of a person with mild dementia and one with advanced or final-stage dementia and, therefore, a single approach to sexuality and ‘people with dementia’ is inappropriate,’ they write.

Source: The Telegraph

Photo via EFA, from the movie Wolke 9

Laura Tarzia, Deirdre Fetherstonhaugh, & Michael Bauer (2012). Dementia, sexuality and consent in residential aged care facilities Journal of Medical Ethics DOI: 10.1136/medethics-2011-100453

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