Alzheimer’s, Dementia and Sex (part 2)

June 30, 2008 by  
Filed under ALZHEIMER'S

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Okay, so let’s finish this conversation.

Like I said the other day, if you want to see anyone on the caregiving spectrum from a teenager to an adult child blush-talk about their loved one’s sex life.

I mean, I am grown, have children of my own and have literally written the book on teen sexuality (Straight Talk, How Teens Make Wise decisions About Love and Sex, Review and Herald, 2000). Yet, I just can’t imagine my mom and dad uh……….. well, you know…having (whisper) sex. And furthermore, I really wouldn’t want to have to make decisions about their sex lives, especially when they were in their golden years and one of them had already died – because that would mean that one of my parents was having sex with someone other than my other parent.

However, putting your head in the sand, and ignoring the issue isn’t going to make it go away. I’ll never have to consider such things, as both of my parents are now deceased. But YOU may and again, like other care concerns, it’s better to give the issue consideration now, before it becomes a major problem.

Honestly, when I first read the story of Dorothy and Bob in Slate, I was amused. However, as I read and considered the depth of Dorothy and Bob’s relationship and the obvious furor of Bob’s son, I realized that this is no laughing matter. Most importantly, when I read of Dorothy’s depression and despondency after the relationship was abruptly forced to an end by Bob’s son, It made me realize that this issue of seniors, dementia and sexuality is an area that must be given serious consideration.

Here are some questions to consider:

  1. Can someone with dementia give consent?
  2. What if the current behavior violates grandma’s long standing moral principles?
  3. What if the relationship violates the primary caregiver’s morals or principals?
  4. Do facility employees have a right to get involved?

In this situation, there may be more questions than answers. Personally, I’d want my family to make decisions for me based upon my life’s principles, morals and values up to that point. The problem is that if I had dementia, I wouldn’t be logical enough to understand my family’s possible “restrictions” on my desires.

It’s something to think about and seriously consider. My advice. Think about it now. Consider it before it becomes an emergency. Talk about it with potential long term care providers and be prepared. As baby boomers age and the number of people with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia increases as well. This won’t be interesting or amusing. It will just be another issue that caregivers consider as they battle, the monster, Alzheimer’s disease.

What do you think? Have you been forced to think about and consider your loved one’s sex life?

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7 Responses to “Alzheimer’s, Dementia and Sex (part 2)”
  1. Loretta Spivey says:

    Hey Erika, thanks so much for stopping by. I did do a couple posts on brain games, but there is much more to explore. Please send whatever information you have. Thanks Again!

  2. Erika says:

    Hi Loretta,
    I noticed you haven’t posted on brain fitness. While studies are still in the early stages, there are research results that indicate exercising your brain regularly can help prevent or delay memory loss. I work closely with Dakim who is at the forefront of this brain fitness movement. If you’d like to know more about this topic, I can send you more information and their initial research backgrounder.


  3. Thanks Dee, spread the word. All the best to your friend. it is my hope and prayer that my experience will be of benefit to someone else. Thanks for stopping by. Loretta

  4. Dee Lindo says:

    Hey Loretta,
    Very nice. There are many people who will benefit from this. I have a friend who needs this information as she is going through this. Great Idea and Great job!!!!!

  5. Thanks Rick, appreciate your comments. For now, for many caregivers, this is all new ground to be covered. I can imagine having this discussion in a few years, when all those 60’s love children come of Alzheimer’s age. Care facilities are really going to have to begin setting policies that consider these issues. Thanks again for stopping by. Do you know if you have any clients that are in long term facilities?

  6. Rick says:

    Great take on that article about dementia and sex. I felt that it was the senior’s right to be sexually active. I am a part owner in and we have a lot of customers that are in the starlight of their years. They tend to get strap-ons and shrink cream.

    If I were older I would want to be doing it too. I know it would be a difficult thing for a son of a widow or widower, but it wouldn’t be any different than single parents’ relationships when they are in their thirties.

    The trifle is when it is someone with dementia. Who knows what they are thinking. I know one thing for sure, they should be given the utmost of care and freedoms (within the confines of their personal safety.)

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