Senior Intimacy – Why You Need to Talk to Your Parents about Sex

Still cringe at the thought of your parents being intimate even though you’re well into adulthood? You’re not alone. Seeing our parents as virile beings can make even the most open-minded adult go “ick”, but getting over the ick factor is important when it comes time to consider senior care and the best options for your parents.

Stats Show That Seniors Are Getting’ Busy More than Ever

Better health, a longer lifespan, and the invention of drugs like Viagra have all contributed to better sex lives for seniors. Data from the 2015 English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA), found that 31 percent of women and 54 percent of men over 70 were still sexually active and a third of them were having frequent sex. This is comparable to data from an earlier study published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

This focus on sex in the older population has also brought to light issues faced by seniors when it comes to sexual health, including a lack of conversations about sex and also the impact of the lack of privacy faced by those in assisted living facilities.

Let’s Talk About Sex

As uncomfortable as it may feel to talk to your parents about sex; an active sex life has many benefits on a person’s physical and emotional well-being and is something that needs to be considered when planning care for the elderly.

The American study I mentioned covered the negative impact that living in assisted living facilities has on the sex lives of residents because of practices such as bedroom checks, reporting resident’s sex lives to their relatives, and unlocking doors without permission. This stresses the need for open conversation about intimacy with your aging parents because it is an important, yet often overlooked, aspect of elderly care.

In-Home Care Is the Better Choice for Sexually Active Seniors

While some seniors may have medical issues that require the care offered by assisted living facilities, most are able to get the care they need, including advanced home care / medical home care, so that they can continue living in the comfort of home.

Home care providers offer the discretion that is lacking in many assisted living facilities. Staying in your own home and enjoying the privacy you always have promotes intimacy. Seniors can get the care that they need without sacrificing their privacy and the ability to be intimate when the mood strikes.

Some Health Benefits of Sex

Still feeling weird about talking to your parents about sex? Perhaps some insight into how sex can keep your parents happy and healthy will be the incentive you need to get over your embarrassment and have “the talk” with your aging parents.

The following are just some of the proven health benefits of sex:

  • better heart health
  • lower blood pressure
  • a stronger immune system
  • better sleep
  • improved mood and emotional health
  • more energy
  • improved bladder control in women
  • better memory
  • lower risk of depression and loneliness
  • longer lifespan

One uncomfortable conversation could help ensure that the best possible choice is made for your parent’s when it comes to elderly care, so go ahead and have the talk. You’ll all be glad you did.

David Porter, CPCA
Director

Living Assistance Services – Senior Home Care

 

 

Article Resources:
Sexuality and Intimacy in Assisted Living: Residents’ Perspectives and Experiences. (2015). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4283937/
A Study of Sexuality and Health among Older Adults in the United States. (2008). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2426743/
Sexual health and wellbeing among older men and women in England. (2015). https://www.research.manchester.ac.uk/portal/files/30110830/POST-PEER-REVIEW-NON-PUBLISHERS.PDF

How Caring for Your Elderly Parent Impacts Your Health

Caring for an aging parent has become more difficult than it once was as we are in the throes of what has been coined the “sandwich generation”.

The term “sandwich generation” refers to a generation of people, usually middle-aged, who care for their aging parents while still supporting their own children.

Elderly Care Usually Falls on the Daughter

According to the Canadian Women’s Health Network, women do up to 80 percent of the caregiving. Trying to provide elderly care for a parent(s) while also supporting a child and balancing work and life responsibilities can quickly take a toll on your physical and mental health, as well as your relationships with loved ones and even colleagues.

The Impact of Caring for Loved Ones

Several studies have confirmed links between caregiving and psychological and physical health problems, noting that the intensity of the caregiving greatly impacts the caregiver’s health. Providing home care for your parent becomes even more challenging as they age or when they’re dealing with chronic illness.

A survey by Statistics Canada found that caregivers reported physical and emotional symptoms brought on by the stress of caregiving, including:

  • Fatigue
  • Anxiety
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Anger and irritability
  • Feeling alone or isolated
  • Depression
  • Loss of appetite
  • Sleep problems

It’s not surprising that the stress of being the one providing elderly care for a parent while also trying to juggle parenting and work leads to more illness, sick days from work, and in some cases an extended leave of absence to deal with medical emergencies and illness.

Meet Jane

Jane is a prime example of the sandwich generation and its effects. When her elderly mother was no longer able to live on her own, there was no question in her mind that the best place for her was at home with Jane, her husband, and two sons. She was sure that she could balance her career, being a mother and wife, and a caregiver. At first, it seemed manageable, but within a couple of months Jane was exhausted. Even though her sons were teenagers, they still required rides to hockey practice and other activities. Her husband did what he could to help with his long hours, but most of the responsibility fell on Jane.

Everyone could see it was all taking a toll on her but she continued to put on a brave face and do it all until recently when she broke down and admitted that she was feeling overwhelmed, hopeless, and trapped. You could hear the guilt in her voice when she admitted that she felt like she just wanted to run away from it all.

Getting Help with Home Care

Jane, like many others in her situation, thought that private home care was too expensive or only for those who required very advanced home care because of illness. Fortunately, that’s not at all the case; home care services can be catered to your specific needs and budget. After going through the different senior care services offered, she was able to get help that worked not just for her elderly mother, but her entire family.

Respite care allows Jane to take a break from the stresses of caregiving as little or as often as she needs each week. Jane is now able take her sons to practice and even have a few hours to run errands or unwind over coffee with a friend, all while knowing her mother is in the capable hands of a senior care professional.

She learned that home health care agencies have services that she can adapt with her mother’s changing health so that she always gets the best possible home care.

It may not be easy to hand over some of the responsibility, but getting professional home care assistance has helped Jane balance the challenges of caregiving and her other responsibilities and it can do the same for you.

David Porter, CPCA
Director

Living Assistance Services – Senior Home Care

 

 

Article Resources:
http://www.cwhn.ca/node/40811
http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/75-006-x/2013001/article/11858-eng.htm

Hearing and Vision Loss as We Age

We rely on our hearing and vision for everything from communicating to navigating the world around us. As we age, these two important senses begin to decline. According to the Canadian Hearing Society, hearing loss is the most prevalent chronic condition affecting older adults and the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB) reports that age-related macular degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss in Canada. Dealing with a decline in either of these can be difficult, and many seniors experience both.

What causes these issues as we age?

Gradual hearing loss as we age is called presbycusis. Approximately 30 to 35 percent of adults between 65 and 75 have hearing loss and the number is estimated at 40 to 50 percent in those over 75. Along with aging, hearing loss can also be caused by genetics, certain medications, ear infections, and medical conditions.

Though age-related macular degeneration is the leading cause, vision loss can also be caused by cataracts, glaucoma, and diabetes.

The impact of hearing and vision loss on seniors

Hearing and vision loss can have a several negative social and emotional consequences, such as depression and social isolation. It can also impact a person’s safety and cause mobility limitations. This has been shown to be especially difficult for older adults, often leading to a poor quality of life.

Every day activities can become difficult for someone whose vision or hearing is declining, such as:

  • Cooking and preparing meals
  • Exercising
  • Socializing
  • Medication reminder
  • Attending medical appointments
  • Light Housekeeping

Home care services for those with hearing or vision loss

If you or an aging loved one is living with hearing and/or vision loss and finding certain tasks difficult, a home care provider can help.  Some of the home care services we provide that can be beneficial include:

  • Help with meal preparation
  • Medication reminder
  • Light Housekeeping
  • Accompanying the care recipient to medical or social appointments
  • Shopping
  • Help with correspondence

A caregiver can also help improve household organization and assist in minimizing the risk of falls by tidying up, ensuring the floor is clear of objects, and leaving lights on. And, our services are flexible and easily adapted to suit your changing needs.

One of the main advantages of in home care over assisted living facilities for a person with vision or hearing loss is the ability to remain in surroundings you are familiar with. A qualified caregiver can provide as much or as little help as needed to help you or a loved one continue to enjoy excellent quality of life, with respect and dignity.

David Porter, CPCA
Director

Living Assistance Services – Senior Home Care

 

Article Resources:
https://canadianaudiology.ca/for-the-public/causes-of-hearing-loss/
https://canadianaudiology.ca/for-the-public/causes-of-hearing-loss/
http://www.cnib.ca/en/about/media/vision-loss/pages/default.aspx
http://www.chs.ca/causes-and-types-hearing-loss