Alzheimer’s, Dementia and Sex

June 23, 2008 by  
Filed under ALZHEIMER'S

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If you want to make a teenager or young adult blush, mention their parents having sex.

Let’s face it, there aren’t very many “children” be they teens, young adults, baby boomers or elderly who want to talk about their parents (aunts, uncles, grandparents) um….er……uh sex life.

Now, toss in dementia affecting one or both of the parties, and now you’ve really got something to talk about or not talk about.

I mean, first of all, what caregiver wants to think about, much less talk about their loved ones sex life? And then, who gets to make the decision as to whether the relationship continues? Let’s say John and Mary live independently, and one or both has dementia and they decide that they want to engage in a sexual relationship. Should their children or other family members get involved?  When the spouse is primary caregiver, it’s complicated too.  Can a person with dementia “consent?”

Another scenario. What if Joe and Martha (one or both have dementia) are in an assisted living facility or even a nursing home and they decide they want to be sexually active. Should the facility or family members have a say or just allow the relationship to go on?

Over the next two days, we are going to delve into this subject and discuss the pros and cons of dementia, dating and sex.

According to the CDC, Alzheimer’s disease has surpassed diabetes and is now the sixth leading cause of death. They say that 10million people will suffer from Alzheimer’s disease. So, in essence, what makes a cute kind of tongue in cheek story today could tomorrow necessitate careful thought, planning and possibly even policies regarding the sex lives of people living with Alzheimer’s disease.

There are many questions to consider, but the hardest part my be getting caregivers to add their loved one’s sex lives to the ever growing list of things to think about and handle as they battle Alzheimer’s disease.

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