Sexuality in aging: older people also have sex

They recently spoke about sexuality in the elderly in his latest research Feliciano Villar, Carme Triadó, Montse Celdrán and Josep Fabà; Psychogerontologists with extensive training and experience. They refer to the point of view of the institutionalized elderly person, but also to the point of view of the professional.

It is clear, on the one hand, that many drugs that treat neurodegenerative diseases in the elderly and the elderly cause as a side effect behaviors related to hypersexuality and / or disorders of sexual behavior so complicated to treat. or to be redirected by a healthcare professional. social and health care. In fact, the uninhibited behavior of the elderly towards the Auxiliary is generally common.

That is why this article deals with sexuality in aging, As well as the most important conclusions that these authors approved after their research; because it is very important to have a good understanding of sexuality in aging in order to treat older people with person-centered care and to provide the best possible quality of life.

    Sexuality in aging

    It is a reality that almost all people from birth to death have sexuality, as well as the need to have sex with others and alone. It is therefore also a reality that today in residential centers there is a very significant lack of privacy as well as an individualized follow-up of the elderly for lack of resources, professionals and especially training and communication.

    In fact, as Villar, F., Triadó, C., Celdrán, M., Fabà, J. (2017) say, after interviewing senior residents and professionals, some of them comment that there are professionals who tend to have pejorative reactions to older people expressing their affective-sexual needs both in the public and in the private sector; in general, we do not react naturally to the elderly or to professionals, precisely because there is a stigma in the third and fourth ages, in addition to AGE (Discrimination on the basis of age).

      What are the sexual needs of aging?

      According to elderly research participants and professionals, in this case 83 out of a total of 100, explain that sexual needs are maintained during the aging process, but not completely. However, some particularly consider that “the interest is maintained but the practice decreases” and that the intensity of the sexual urges decreases but does not disappear.

      In any case, sexual needs during aging, as in adulthood, will depend primarily on life history, as well as vulnerability to certain neurodegenerative and / or neuropsychiatric diseases, as sexual desire is closely related to those diseases which are also so common. This set must therefore be reviewed by a health professional, in this case the psychogerontologist in residential centers or in home care start-ups; in order to preserve the person’s privacy as well as possible and to facilitate sexual expression because there are, according to the authors, two barriers that require work:

      Internal barriers

      Smells and feelings of shame before the sexuality in the old age they are the majors edadismos that exist, the greater estimation, the most internal barrier. We are talking about moral rules and generational factors like repressive education.

      External barriers

      The context in residential centers as the context in the home as well as the infrastructure of the space in which the older person is located is the main external barrier. In residential centers, due to lack of resources, they usually live in shared spaces with an obvious lack of privacy and the home, infantilization and overprotection are generally common. In this case, in the centers the single rooms would be a Facilitator and at the House it would be an adequate clinical evaluation of the elderly person according to his context.

        Obstacles and facilitators to the expression of libido

        What can professionals do about it? According to Villar, F., et al. When asked about the most common sexual behaviors among residents, most of whom respond (many residents do not, because they consider that this dimension is absent in an institution), masturbation is the most mentioned. Virtually all professionals mention this type of behavior, which in many cases has been unwittingly witnessed. “So what are the goals and strategies to follow?

        1. With regard to the elderly

        Also get to know your life story firsthand assess and treat their neurodegenerative diseases and to study the possible side effects of their psychopharmacological treatment.

        2. In relation to the context

        Due to lack of resources, it is difficult to have single rooms in residential centers, so ultimately the best option is to make sure to delay and / or avoid admission to these centers with the help of new home care startups.

        3. With regard to all professional staff

        Facilitate continuous communication between nursing assistants and psychogerontologists in order to provide the best person-centered care. Counseling is also one of the main characteristic functions of social and health professionals for the elderly and the elderly.

        Sexuality and dementia: 3 points to consider

        When dementia and sexuality overlap, the following points should be considered.

        1. Discern consent

        Nursing assistants with more than one patient in charge are usually faced with situations in which they do not know how to handle the situation. It is clear that a sexual relationship between two people with dementia or in a couple in which one of them suffers from a neurodegenerative disease creates a lot of uncertainty, so it is difficult to know how to discern the consent of the elderly person. . This is why prevention and FOLLOW-UP are importantor carried out between psychogerontologists and auxiliaries horizontally to find a solution through the PCA.

        2. Advise and request information

        Sometimes the reactions of professionals as well as nursing assistants, social workers, nurses, psychogerontologists, etc., and / or relatives are not correct. infantilization can occur. This is why it is essential to be informed and to ensure communication between professionals in order to advise and request information from the various parties concerned.

        3. Dramatize

        de-dramatize and avoid the uninhibited behavior of the elderly, Where appropriate, are the key in which professionals work to promote the well-being of the elderly; still, however, of the PCA approach and evaluation and treatment in a clinical setting.

        Disinhibited behavior of the elderly towards the nursing assistant

        Psychotropic drugs such as antidepressants and benzodiazepines, which are usually prescribed in the aging stage to usually treat neurodegenerative diseases or dysthymic symptoms or symptoms of anxiety they can alter sexual libido, sexual desire or trigger disturbances in sexual behavior if adequate follow-up is not carried out on the elderly person.

        Uninhibited behavior refers to socially sassy behaviors such as exhibitionism, impudent language and the sexual intentions of the other without consent – decided unilaterally -. It can then be due to neuropsychiatric symptoms and / or coexist with neurodegenerative symptoms.

        In general, these behaviors usually occur in the face of the nursing assistant who is the professional who is physically and day to day with the elderly person residing in a center or in the SAD, the home service. In both cases, it is important to know the person receiving the service well in order to offer them the greatest possible well-being.

          Conclusion: psychogerontologists and auxiliaries working at the same time

          In short, the solution to the stigmatization of the sexuality of the elderly and to the lack of privacy lies mainly in the work of professionals, whether they are assistants, psychogerontologists, nurses and assistants in direct contact with the elderly. This is why it is important to prevent (know neurodegenerative diseases), know how to discern consent, advise and ask for information and, above all, dramatize situations in which affectionate behavior occurs, In addition to finding solutions to inappropriate behaviors, always from the approach of person-centered care and assessment in the clinical context.

          Bibliographical references:

          • Villar, F., Triadó, C., Celdrán, M., Fabà, J. (2017) Institutionalized sexuality and the elderly: the resident’s point of view and the professional’s point of view. Madrid: Pillars Foundation.

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