What are the issues around sexual activity in nursing homes for individuals with dementia?

1 answer | Last updated: Sep 26, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

What are the issues of sexual activity or lack of for men and women in nursing homes with dementia. Is this a topic discussed or avoided with patients that have Dementia living in nursing homes or assisted living facilities. Thank you

Expert Answers

Deborah Cooke is a gerontologist specializing in dementia, delirium, caregiving, and senior fitness. She is a certified dementia care provider and specialist through the Alzheimer's Foundation of America. Cooke currently manages several multidisciplinary programs to enhance well-being for hospitalized seniors and other vulnerable patients at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital in New York City. She also serves on the board of NewYork-Presbyterian's Patient and Family Education Advisory Committee. She has 18 years of experience working with the aging and caregiver communities.

Hi. I answered a similar question a while ago. You can reference that.


In short, alternative living environments should have a policy for sexual activity. Not all do as many are just recognizing that these issues are significant.

The tough part of handling it with dementia individuals is that they often do not have control over these thoughts and even remember if something does or does not occur. I think this type of discussion is on a case-by-case basis. Many may not understand the point of the conversation or be able to process it appropriately to make a difference.

Consult the policy and if there isn't one, encourage them to establish it.