Institutional and personal bias Staff members sometimes disapprove or are repelled by the idea of sex among older adults, Doll says. Staff members are taught to knock and pause before entering a room. Administrators often decide it's easier to ignore or actively discourage sexual expression. Using "substituted judgment," the most widely used standard, you look at the person's previously held values and decision-making in determining what they'd choose now, such as an extramarital affair. Tenenbaum gives the example of a gay man who has lived his life in the closet and begins a gay relationship with a fellow resident after developing dementia. A man likes to fondle fellow residents in his Minnesota dementia-care unit; nobody assesses whether the women invite or welcome the touch or are being assaulted. This way, they get to know them and can act as their advocates, Doll says. Family emotions Couplings in a nursing home seldom involve just two people. More staff training Just an hour's exposure to this once hush-hush topic "works miracles," Doll says.
Family emotions Couplings in a nursing home seldom involve just two people. You have to have some way to evaluate each situation. Or is sex more an impulse akin to eating, a pleasurable appetite that one retains the ability to indulge? Administrators often decide it's easier to ignore or actively discourage sexual expression. What happens when the interests of a cognitively-impaired resident collide with the interests of his or her family? Social connections and human touch help ward off the depression and loneliness that old age and institutional living can bring, he adds. Its pioneering ideas are leading changes like these: Problems occur when the family finds out about the situation unexpectedly, notes Evelyn Tenenbaum, a New York attorney who has written about the issue. Staff members are taught to knock and pause before entering a room. This way, they get to know them and can act as their advocates, Doll says. Some spouses are relieved — as O'Connor was — that the new attachment brings happiness to the spouse with dementia. A broader definition of "whole person care" Compassionate policies start with acknowledging that older adults still have sexual needs, including the very basic human need for touch. In the wake of several high-profile cases, facilities — eager to avoid liability — have begun to develop guidelines that preserve residents' right to pursue sexual pleasure in privacy, while protecting them from unsafe, unwanted or abusive situations. You can no longer jump out of planes, but you can still generate excitement in your life," says geriatric psychiatrist Ken Robbins, a clinical professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Often, however, the new romance leaves the healthy spouse distraught or upsets adult children. After a recent presentation at a Mennonite-run home, she says she was surprised to hear a staffer say, "I wish you'd come back and cover LGBT issues because we'd like to be more enlightened about that area. He seems happy, but his wife and children are confused and withdraw. Almost half said that developing a policy was "planned" or "uncertain. It can still be a shock. More staff training Just an hour's exposure to this once hush-hush topic "works miracles," Doll says. Tenenbaum gives the example of a gay man who has lived his life in the closet and begins a gay relationship with a fellow resident after developing dementia. In , former state representative Henry Rayhons, now 79, was charged with third-degree sexual abuse — for having sex with his wife, Donna Lou. Many simply don't like to think about Mom's sexuality, or family members might disagree about what's best. It's not unusual for someone with Alzheimer's to develop a comforting, beneficial attachment to a fellow resident and forget the nonresident spouse, for example see sidebar. Homes usually apply one of two principles when deciding the appropriateness of sexual contact for someone with dementia, says Evelyn Tenenbaum, a professor at Albany Law School and Albany Medical College who specializes in health law, bioethics and civil rights. A man likes to fondle fellow residents in his Minnesota dementia-care unit; nobody assesses whether the women invite or welcome the touch or are being assaulted.
Video about nurse sex at home:
Ex-prison nurse charged for sex and drugs behind bars
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