Researchers at the Australian Centre for Evidence Based Aged Care say that sexual relations between senior citizens in nursing homes is generally forbidden by the facilities that they spend the rest of their lives in. Seniors who want to have intimate relations with each other are denied privacy by staff. The staff say it is out of concern for their safety.
Compounding the problem is the fact that nursing home workers receive little training on the health needs and sex lives of the elderly, focusing primarily on their ability to make decisions and provide consent, Medical News Today has reported. Staff members also worry about the likely response from residents’ family members, if they were to discover that an elderly relative has begun a sexual relationship. Many nursing home staff workers look at the elderly as children rather than adults, given the constant care and attention that they require. There is also the fear of legal or medical repercussions if they are permitted to have sexual relations.
“It has been well established that sexuality and intimacy continue to be important in later life and are central to an individual’s health and well-being,” the Researchers at the Australian Centre have stated. In response, workers have voiced concerns that residents may become emotionally injured if a relationship is not permitted to flourish.
The debate as to how to properly handle the issue of sexual relationships in nursing homes is likely to continue for some time.
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