Valentine’s day is this weekend. For many it has become a Hallmark holiday (ie the card I picked up & put down, for my husband was $12.00) however let the day serve as a reminder of the importance of love, romance and sex. The baby boomers are getting older and while 60 has become the new 40, and 75 the new 60, healthy sex continues to be a favorite topic. However it may still be a subject that is often ‘under the covers’ and not comfortably discussed.
Adult children don’t typically want to hear about their parent’s sexuality and vice versa; however professionals need to be comfortable in asking and answering questions. Regardless of your own personal definition of sexuality and what it means for different age groups, it should include an understanding of safe sex and sexually transmitted disease awareness. People often assume that once someone becomes a senior that they also become asexual. This is not the case. I am glad to add that I am aware of at least one home health care company that includes ‘Sexual Wellness & Intimate Lifestyle Products’ which can be delivered to your home.
It is important that discussions are held with people of all ages around safe sex practices regardless of one’s own bias’ associated with senior’s sexuality. Just because someone has dementia, doesn’t mean that they don’t have interest in being sexual. However sexual relationships between residents of retirement/long term care homes who have dementia is another area where better understanding is needed. Staff at long term care homes are not quite sure how to respond to questions regarding sexual activity amongst residents. There are issues in regards to consent, and when participants may be married to others. There is a need for discussion, staff education, and guidelines so that appropriate guidelines and practices can be developed accordingly.
Be safe and be smart about sex- regardless of your age! and yes, seniors ‘do it’.