Sexual Expression in Nursing Homes and Care Communities

By Pamela D Wilson CSA, CG, MS, BS/BA

Discussions surrounding sexual expressing by residents living in care communities and in nursing homes should occur more often, but do not. Care staffs often discover themselves in embarrassing situations or without knowledge of how to appropriately respond to situations where residents may be engaging in sexual expression.  Is sexual expression a resident right? How might care staff become more informed about the different types of sexual expression and provide support to residents rather than giving dirty looks or making inappropriate comments about “dirty old men”? A care community founded in 1917 leads the charge with respect to encouraging sexual expression among residents.

A 2013 article in The New Haven Register reports that Hebrew Home in Riverdale, NY broke with industry practice by encouraging sex and intimacy among its elderly residents, including those with Alzheimer’s and forms of dementia.  In 1995, the home adopted a four-page policy supporting sexual expression by residents.3   Attorney Evelyn M. Tenenbaum has also been an avid supporter of the rights of sexual expression and intimacy.

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© 2014 Pamela D. Wilson, All Rights Reserved.

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