Sex amongst members of the elderly who suffer from Alzheimer’s and dementia is rapidly increasing, with carers and families now having to confront these scenarios.
One such occurrence took place on Christmas Day 2009, when Tiffany Gourley, who worked as a nurse at the Windmill Manor nursing home in Coralville, Iowa, walked in on a 78-year-old male resident having sexual intercourse with an 87-year-old.
Both of those involved in the act had dementia, but whilst the man was divorced, the woman was still married.
Karen Etter, who was the director of the nursing room at the time, stated, “It ruined my life,” whilst Steve Drobot, a former administrator at Windmill Manor, remarked, “It’s the most difficult thing I’ve ever had to live through.” Both have since left the company. This is just one of thousands of cases that have been reported across the country.
More than 5 million people suffer from Alzheimer’s in the United States of America, but a 2007 study explains that the desire for human touch doesn’t disappear with age.
The journal which was published in the New England Journal of Medicine, reported that 53 percent of people aged between 65 to 74 years old and 26 percent of those who are 75 to 85 are sexually active. This includes kissing, fondling, or even sexual intercourse with another individual, whilst half of these people admitted that they have sex between two to three times a month.
Baby boomers, who are currently progressing to 65-years-old and over, are more sexually free, as they grew up in the liberated age of the 1960s, plus they have access to drugs like viagra.
Dementia and Alzheimer sufferers crave intimacy and they use sex as a way to comfort the loss of their family and friends. Whilst for Alzheimer sufferers, touch is the last sense to deteriorate.
Beth Kallmyer, the vice president of constituent services for the Alzheimer’s Association, remarked, “You can get response from people in the final stages of the disease by giving them a massage or a pedicure.”