Thanks to medical advances and changing attitudes about sex, it is no longer taboo for nursing homes to allow intimate relations between residents. One Brooklyn nursing home even has a dating service for its residents.
The introduction of Viagra and similar “lifestyle” medicines, as well as changing views on sexual relationships outside of marriage, has caused nursing homes to deal with something previously taboo.
Today, many nursing homes have had to think about what to do with their residents who are in relationships with each other.
Recently, The New York Times, in an article entitled “Too Old for Sex? Not at This Nursing Home,” wrote about a nursing home in Brooklyn that has a comprehensive sexual expression policy for residents and even has a dating service and a senior prom.
While nursing home residents having sexual relationships might seem like an unimportant story, it actually is an important elder law issue. Sexual relationships in nursing homes raise the possibility of abuse and false claims of abuse.
Having guidelines is a way to let staff know how to act when there are relationships and how to look out for signs of abuse. Nursing homes do not necessarily need to go as far as the one in Brooklyn, but having policies and guidelines is important.
In the coming years, more and more nursing homes will grapple with these issues and come up with a wide variety of policies.
The good news for seniors is that they should have options for choosing a facility that suits their needs.
Reference: New York Times (July 12, 2016) “Too Old for Sex? Not at This Nursing Home”
Suggested Key Words: Elder Law, Nursing Homes, Elder Abuse