Sex and Dementia

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Following each lesson, there is a quiz.  You must achieve a score of 70% to move on to the next lesson. The use of quizzes satisfies the CCL regulation that online courses be interactive.

Sex and Dementia
This course focuses on dementia and sexuality, intimacy, and sexual behavior in care homes—a subject which remains one of the last taboos of long-term care. The onset of old age or a cognitive impairment does not erase the need for affection, intimacy, and/or relationships, and yet this aspect of aging has often been ignored and sidelined in policy and practice.

While the issues involved can be complex, controversial, and sensitive, and may challenge our own beliefs and value system, it is essential that we understand more about them to foster a more person-centered approach to dementia care. Care home residents with dementia often have complex care needs and trying to understand and respond to the more intimate and sexual aspects of a resident’s personality can be challenging.
This course will also aim to challenge negative attitudes and misconceptions about older people with dementia and their sexuality.

There is a common belief that older people do not engage in or enjoy sexual activity. This belief ignores the fact that all human beings have the capacity and need to express their sexuality no matter their age or disability. Sexual expression is more than a physical sex act; it is the essence of what makes us male and female. The course objective is to provide care providers with the knowledge to enable sexual expression in people suffering from dementia in a meaningful way without loss of dignity or self-esteem.

How do we provide care to individuals with dementia that encompasses the need for sexual expression without putting our own values, feelings, and constraints on the person? Care providers are often in a difficult position of having to judge what is acceptable behavior. These decisions may cause distress to either the person with dementia or their families. It is hoped that this course will shed light on this difficult topic by a deeper look at the meaning and expression of sexuality in dementia.