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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

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