6/27/2012 1:49 PM
Researchers with the Australian Centre for Evidence-Based Aged Care (ACEBAC) published a study in the Journal of Medical Ethics calling for more access to sex for nursing home residents. As it stands now, those living in nursing homes have limited privacy, often sleep in single beds that are not big enough for two, and face negative attitudes from nursing home employees that make it hard to get it on.
This results in a situation that the authors state is blatantly unfair and harmful to people living in assisted living facilities. The study's authors say, "the formation of relationships, physical intimacy and the expression of sexuality are a basic human right and a normal and healthy part of aging." Sex also possesses well-documented powers to improve moods and help with depression, and could be an important part of helping those living in nursing homes keep their spirits up.
Part of the problem is that most nursing homes do not have explicit policies in place that outline how to deal with relationships between residents. Many workers, left to make decisions on their own, treat their patients like misbehaving horny teenagers and separate those who become sweet on one another.
Some workers are concerned about safety and liability issues. Problems of dementia also play a role. However, researchers say that dementia comes in stages, and that those who still possess most of their faculties should be allowed to have sexual relationships if they choose. The study's authors aruge that a resident with dementia may not be able to operate a car or consent to a medical procedure, but still have the ability to decide on what flavor of ice cream he wants. The authors say, "decisions about whether or not to engage in sexual behavior are closer to those about ice cream than surgery."
Additionally, nursing homes have been seeing rising rates of STIs for several years. If they're going to be having sex, residents need easy access to condoms to cut down on STI transmission.
The baby boomers are now in their 70s. As the population ages, more and more people will find themselves unable to live on their own, but still wishing to get a bit of action between the sheets. It's a brave new world, and nursing homes are going to have to adapt to the needs of randy seniors.