Visit it today! A woman in Iowa complains when her roommate's husband, who doesn't live in the facility, climbs in his wife's bed to snuggle and, she claims, have sex. 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. Remember when roles were reversed when it came to fretting about sex drives? 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. Almost half said that developing a policy was "planned" or "uncertain.
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The assisted living industry provides residential, medical, nutritional, functional, and social services for approximately 1 million older adults in the United States. Also presented are practical recommendations and policy implications for addressing the sexual and intimacy needs of current and future cohorts of assisted living residents. Data for this article were drawn from 3 National Institute on Aging—funded ethnographic studies conducted in 13 assisted living settings over 9 years. The assisted living industry, a form of long-term care primarily marketed to older populations, currently provides residential, medical, nutritional, functional, and social services for approximately 1 million older adults in the United States National Center for Assisted Living,
James M. Sexual expression can be an important aspect of well being for older adults with dementia living in nursing homes. There is a tension in the nursing home, however, between ensuring autonomy of residents for sexual expression and protecting residents from harm. This article argues that although such assessments can be useful in the initial evaluation of capacity, this is a somewhat flawed approach to sexual decision making and a finding of incapacity should not necessarily preclude sexual expression.