Let’s Talk About Sex

Let’s Talk About Sex

Ayasha and Heather talk about SEX! If you want to know more, you've gotta watch! 😜...
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Transcript

Let’s Talk About Sex

 

Ayasha Thomason

Hi. I’m Ayasha Thomason.

Heather Stalling

And I’m Heather Stalling.

Ayasha Thomason

And today we’re going to change it up a little bit. With all the craziness that’s going on with COVID, we want to take a break from all the negative this week and let’s talk about something more fun. 

Heather Stalling

Let’s talk about sex, baby.

Ayasha Thomason

Yes, today we’re going to talk about sex in long term care facilities.

Heather Stalling

And luckily, Ayasha is an expert.

Ayasha Thomason

Actually. Yes. My PhD is in research with women in long term care and assisted living settings regarding their sexual needs and their gynecologic needs as well. 

Heather Stalling

Seriously, though, sex among residents in nursing homes and other long term care facilities is still a very taboo subject. And, yes, it happens a lot.

Ayasha Thomason

Exactly. People just seem to think that because you’re getting older and you need assisted living or you need nursing home care means your desire for intimacy just goes away. And that’s absolutely not the case. Maybe you physically can’t do the same things that you used to do, but the desire is still there. And that’s one thing that I did find in my research. Studies also suggest that 40% of seniors and long term care are still sexually active. Married, single, doesn’t matter.

Heather Stalling

Yes, and now that we’ve been through a pandemic, it’s been proven that loneliness contributes to depression and mental health decline. Now more than ever. And more and more residents are seeking comfort of intimacy in some level and forming romantic relationships to combat these feelings of isolation, which is a good thing. 

Ayasha Thomason

Yeah. And then very often, nursing home staff struggle with some of this. They have some negative attitudes, possibly towards seniors and their sexuality. And even, like, if residents have out bursts of sexual acts. Now, some of it can be behaviors with dementia, and we have to make sure that our nurse practitioners are helping with some of this and ruling out dementia versus just true natural sexuality. No one likes to think of their grandmother getting it on or anything, but this mindset can lead to residents’ sexual desires being overlooked, ignored and even discouraged. And that’s not okay. So, sexual health is still an important part of the resident’s health. And in situations like this where the staff isn’t properly trained, it can lead to spread of STDs or other infections. For example, in the years prior to COVID, there were significant increases in chlamydia infections in adults over 65. Syphilis has actually increased by 52% as well in this population.

Heather Stalling

Most people are shocked by these statistics. I know I was. But I mean, really, think about it. With the evolution of the little blue pill for men with erectile dysfunction and hormone replacement, therapies for post-menopausal women sexual encounters among the aging is definitely on the rise. 

Ayasha Thomason

That’s why our nurse practitioners are trained to be open and honest about sexuality with their residents. Nursing homes need to nurture this as well. We also can provide education to caregivers as well as the staff in some of these facilities. Aside from openly discussing sexual activity and protection options, some other examples are providing quiet private spaces, adopting privacy rules and policies, knocking before you enter, and having open dialogue about the risk, and make sure the residents get proper testing. 

Heather Stalling

Yes, so it may be hard to have that conversation with your mom, dad, grandma or grandpa, but it is a very important one. Our jobs and the jobs of nursing staff is to keep your loved one happy and healthy. So go ahead and have that talk we didn’t like to have as kids, and make sure your loved one gets the protection and care they deserve and let them live their lives to the fullest. 

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