Elderly denied the right to sex - paper

2012-06-26 12:00

Paris - Care facilities often deny elderly people the basic right, and one of their few remaining pleasures, to continue having sex, according to a paper published on Tuesday.

Many older people, including those with early stage dementia, enjoy sex while they live at home, but this changes once they move into residential care, said the Australian authors of a paper in the Journal of Medical Ethics.

They blame a lack of privacy, age discrimination and fears about the legal implications should a patient be found mentally incompetent to give consent.

"The formation of relationships, physical intimacy and the expression of sexuality are a basic human right and a normal and healthy part of ageing," wrote the authors from the Australian Centre for Evidence-Based Aged Care.

Yet most facilities do not have formal policy guidelines or staff training aimed at allowing residents to continue being sexually active.

"Privacy remains a problem, with residents often not able to lock their doors and most rooms equipped only with single beds," said the paper.

Consent issues

"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 team acknowledged the difficulties in determining the legal threshold for informed consent in elderly patients with dementia, but argued this should not be an excuse for denying them their rights.

"It is important to remember that dementia is defined in stages, with early or mild dementia manifesting as mild forgetfulness or confusion that is often mistaken for a normal part of ageing," they wrote.

"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."

  • farmfreund - 2012-06-26 13:38

    laat hulle pomp man, ek wil ook op 80 nog pomp

      duanne.dames - 2012-06-26 13:56

      Crude, but true. Do they really need to be treated like children?

  • duanne.dames - 2012-06-26 13:44


      gieljam.gomtor - 2012-06-26 17:12

      It is a fact when sex stops you start seezing up , prostrate pops , Johnny colapses , shrinks and fades away so get some privacy and make their day...

  • James - 2012-06-26 15:26

    Dammit....don't think of old people having sex.....don't think of old people having sex.......DAMMIT - 2012-06-26 15:40

      hahahhaahaaa! Oh wait...DAMMIT!

      gieljam.gomtor - 2012-06-26 17:15

      When I was in grade one 1 I also thought that way untill my friend told me his 75 year old grand dad still went mad ...

  • Preshen - 2012-06-26 17:28

    They should be make it a criminal offense

      rooinekk.smit - 2012-06-26 18:40

      You are a criminal offense

      Penny - 2012-06-27 10:34

      And you too will grow old. May you remember your words and regret them.

      sean.redmond3 - 2012-06-27 11:29

      yes, for comments like yours.

  • Rory Neil Price - 2012-06-26 23:22

    They obviously not married to each other

      neddard.mcphearson - 2012-06-27 10:08

      What difference does that make?

  • mariska.stephens - 2012-06-27 05:30

    Well, places like these are quite expensive and you'd expect that they take proper care of your elderly loved ones. I'm sure these rules are set with these people's best interests at heart. Many 15 year olds would love to have sex, but mentally you are really not equipped to deal with a relationship of that magnitude. I guess the same goes for the elderly.

  • winston.mullany - 2012-06-27 07:25

    Go Grandma:-)

  • piet.hannibol - 2012-06-27 08:06

    Wow at 75 just imagine how much experience a person has accumulated. Kama Oldra

  • Woofie - 2012-06-27 09:32

    Talk for yourselves, my kiddie-winks! My old man and I, (we are in our mid 70's) still enjoy and partake of nookie when we feel the urge. Obviously our coupling is not as frequent as in prior years, and at time we have to resort to a bit of sexy film footage to rise to the occasion, and if one is too tired, we can fall back on what is medically known as "genital pleasuring" which is enjoying the closeness and stimulation and satisfaction sex gives one without actual penetration. What is also great, there is no fear of a pregnancy ensuing and no fear one of the bloody kids will wander into the room! Just wait my sweeties, you'll get old one day too. What spoilsports you are. Shame on you!

      anwar.ismail.35 - 2012-06-27 12:48

      You go Woofie!! Gonna send you my wife's email so you can encourage her until we get to 70's lol.

  • lloyd.burton.33 - 2012-06-29 09:48

    Well said Woofie. Can you believe in an OA Home in Somerset West the staff interfered whenever a loving old couple wanted to get it on? Disgusting. Keep it up, cuz.

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