Highlighting issues regarding sex and dementia

The Guardian has today highlighted the tricky issues regarding dementia patients and sex.

With the onset of dementia, residents of care homes are likely to lose legal capacity and with that the ability to consent to sexual activity. However the onset of old age and dementia does not mean the desire for sexual activity and physical relationships disappears. It is also recognised that positive physical relationships are beneficial to an elderly person’s mental health and well-being.

In addition, this is of course a delicate subject for the families of residents to deal with. The article in the Guardian today highlights a case study of an elderly couple who had moved into a care home together. The couple’s adult children became disturbed by their physical relationship and a decision was made for them to live on separate floors within the home. This resulted in a lot of upset for the couple with them displaying more challenging behaviours.

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SCIE video – useful guidance on helping those living with dementia

The Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) has re-circulated a useful video highlighting the importance of those caring for people with dementia to do so with empathy and to get to know the individual.

Dementia remains a growing challenge for the NHS and for care providers. It is estimated that over 69% of people living in care homes have dementia and in England and Wales, the number of people living with dementia who need palliative care will almost quadruple by 2040 (source: Alzheimer’s Research UK). There is considerable economic cost associated with the disease and this is ever increasing. It remains a key priority for both NHS England and the Government with a focus on providing the best support and care for individuals with dementia and also for their families and care providers.

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