Staff attitudes towards sexual relationships among institutionalized people with dementia: does an extreme cautionary stance predominate?
The subject of sexuality among elderly patients with dementia was examined, focusing on two main aspects: the sexual behaviour of institutionalized elderly people with dementia; and the reactions of other patients, staff and family members to this behaviour. The behaviour was found to be mostly heterosexual and ranged from love and caring to romance and outright eroticism. Reactions varied, being accepting of love and care but often objecting to erotic behaviour. Understanding of the sexual needs of elderly people should become an integral part of the training and continued education of health care staff, thus helping to resolve conflicts and clarify common misconceptions.