Monday, December 29, 2008

Accommodating sexual desires in nursing homes & assisted living facilities

OK guys, I am not saying that we are old but at some point in our lives, many of us will be dealing with sexual privacy issues.

What if we are living with our kids one day or living with our spouse in a nursing home or an assisted living facility? Or what if only one of us is living in a facility and our spouse comes to visit? Should we be allowed privacy for sex? How should we view the sexual aspect of the relationships of our own parents and other elderly relatives? If you could make those decisions today for your life down the road, how much sexual freedom would you like to see?

I found this article on sex in nursing homes to be quite intriguing. Think about it--- Why should the elderly have to stifle sexual desires they may have if they are in the same nursing home or assisted living facility with their spouse? For that matter, what if our spouse is no longer with us and we're living in a facility? Should we be allowed privacy to MB if/when we need a physical release? Am I the only one who thinks about these things?

10 comments:

Odo said...

Ouch, Gemma! Painful topic! I saw that same article recently. Our three remaining parents spent their last years in nursing homes. None of them were in a position to need to address the subject due to dementia and other serious health issues. But none of the nursing homes we were involved with had more than a tiny handful of private rooms and none seemed to have provision for security/privacy. It seemed that the vast majority of the residents wouldn't have been thinking of the subject. Most were in such poor health and with various stages of incapacity that sex was probably the furthest subject from their minds. It was a rare person indeed that I saw that might have been remotely concerned with it. As for thinking of DW and I in that painful situation? I'd rather drive off a cliff ala Thelma and Louise than go THERE. Seriously, we know too much of the Lord and His will for healing and for healthy living to think we'd be that bad off. Again, OUCH, Gemma! Painful images. I need to go hug DW long and firmly...

Gemma said...

It could be a painful topic and I realize that "old age" is not pleasant conversation but it is a reality in life. Some of us will die young and some of us will develop sickness and disease that will prevent sexual intimacy. But some of us will live to an old age and still enjoy being intimate with our spouse so it's natural to think about this, I think.

And really, we all want to live a long and healthy life to the end but does that mean it will happen? Do we have assurance? I don't think so because I've known too many godly saints who developed cancer and other sicknesses and diseases and in spite of their Christian Faith, they suffered with sickness anyway. I guess that's why I think about these things.

scotty said...

It's not a pleasant thought I must say. I guess I have more concerns about nursing homes than the ability to have sex there though. My mother lives several thousand miles from me and we have no opportunity to have her live with us (she'd need to move country! and doesn't want that). If she's incapacitated it would be a state run facility for her. The thought makes me cry because I worked in one when I was much younger.
On a lighter note I had little old men proposition me on a regular basis :O Try bathing a little naked man when he's got that on his mind!
I also agree Gemma that health is not promised to us as Christians - to say so is a misunderstanding of scripture. Blessings!

Odo said...

Yes, we've lost two wonderful people to cancer in our church. As believers, we are ALL in process. Believing is a process and we are all somewhere along that timeline. And life happens. No, none of us knows all we need to know about receiving from Him and about His healing. But we are striving to learn as much as we can about healing and prevention. God knew what we would go through on earth and we've been going through it for millenia. But we are always wanting to know more of Him and His Will for us. Yes, we have to look at the downside of things so we aren't blindsided when the...manure hits the spreader, so to speak! Blessings to you in the new year, Gemma & GR!

job29man said...

I've worked in Skilled Nursing Facilities as a consultant (coming and going through lots of SNFs), and can't say as the subject has ever come up.

Many of the residents are widowed.

Many seem to be incapable of sex, but that doesn't mean they couldn't have some kind of sexual pleasure.

I have heard that some SNFs are pressured to provide accommodations to those who want to engage in fornication. That seems wrong.

But I'm all for a special "Marriage Suite" that could be available to residents by appointment (like a hotel room), with guaranteed privacy, but with emergency accessibility by SNF personnel in case of a fall or other accident.

It should not be embarrassing to the resident to say "I'd like to book the suite for a visit with my hubby this weekend."

Our elders should have all the rights we do. Including the right to have a glass of wine with dinner, which is rarely accommodated in SNFs.

Cocotte said...

Hopefully, with our aging population, these needs will be addressed.

This reminds me of when I took my Girl Scout troop to a nursing home a few years ago and we helped them make holiday door hangers with that fun foam stuff. I overheard one of the men say to the women "I've got something to hang this door hanger on." The guy was pretty obnoxious, but the other troop leader and I still crack up about it.

Gemma said...

To all of you who responded--

I realize that this is not a fun topic but I brought it up after reading an article about it. Once in a blue moon, it is something that crosses my mind. We set goals for other areas of our lives. Why wouldn't we think about how our sexual desires may be in our older age and think about how we will be able to deal with it? So I mainly posted it as "food for thought".

Gemma said...

Job said:
It should not be embarrassing to the resident to say "I'd like to book the suite for a visit with my hubby this weekend."

Our elders should have all the rights we do. Including the right to have a glass of wine with dinner, which is rarely accommodated in SNFs.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I so agree with you here, Job.

Gemma said...

Cocotte said:
I overheard one of the men say to the women "I've got something to hang this door hanger on." The guy was pretty obnoxious, but the other troop leader and I still crack up about it.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I would have too, Cocotte. While we were helping Dad care for Mom in their home during the last couple of weeks before she died, we accidentally stumbled upon one of Dad's prescriptions. It was for Viagra and my parents were in their 70's then. One of my sisters was horrified to see the little blue pills but I thought, "Good for them!" They enjoyed intimacy with each other until the end.

Sensuous Wife said...

This post reminded me of The Notebook and the idea that erotic love doesn't go away when youth does. It's so important that sexual needs are discussed in a respectful way. I think about how far we have come in the last 10 years talking about sexual healthcare and considering sexuality as a valid part of life. Even if intercourse wasn't medically possible, if I were elderly living in an assisted living center, I'd still want to be able to be naked with Delighted Husband and enjoy the intimacy of skin-to-skin. I would want each one of us to enjoy whatever sexual pleasure and release we were capable of. Dignity and respect for sexuality is ageless. Great topic, Gemma.