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For example, doctors or pharmacists can prescribe lubricants, moisturizers or vaginal estrogen to help with dryness.
Medication, such as Cialis and Viagra can also be prescribed to help manage or even reverse erectile dysfunction in men.
However, one area of senior health is often neglected – sexual health.
Sexual health is an incredibly important aspect of life and our relationships, and this is no different for people in their senior years, yet it’s an aspect we rarely discuss.
She is active in her local community and currently volunteers with the Hamilton Naturalists' Club.
Kimberley earned a Master of Arts in English Literature and Language from the University of Windsor, an Honours Bachelor of Arts from Wilfrid Laurier University and a Bachelor of Education from the University of Toronto.
A study of “Sexuality and Health Among Older Adults in the United States,” published by the interviewed more than 3,000 adult Americans and determined that “the majority of older adults are engaged in spousal or other intimate relationships and regard sexuality as an important part of life.” Society has developed a preconceived notion that older people are no longer capable of – or interested in – having sex, however the statistics do not support this belief at all.
In fact, the numbers are staggering: Retirement communities are engaging and supportive environments that offer seniors the opportunity to enjoy activities and hobbies with people in their same stage of life.
A report by the Huffington Post suggests that many of today’s baby boomers were already married when sex education gained popularity in the 1980s and therefore missed the “safe sex” talks and never learned “safe sex etiquette.” Condoms were not widely used when seniors were first sexually active, and as a group they continue to use condoms less than any other demographic.
For some, including divorcees and widowers, these communities also offer a chance to experience love again.
One study which reviewed community relationships between seniors, concluded that intimacy and sexuality are “manifested in various ways,” including hand holding, intimate touch, intercourse and other less physically intense expressions.
A study entitled “Sexuality and Intimacy in Assisted Living: Residents’ Perspectives and Experiences,” published by the U. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, found that historically, “assisted living providers pay scant attention to clients’ sexual needs.” But times are changing and many senior living communities are focusing on creating a supportive environment. They’re educating staff about issues surrounding aging and sexuality, as well as providing advocacy training.
Studies have found this training elicits “positive, supportive attitudes that more effectively address the sexual health needs of residents to whom they provide care.” Declining physical health of seniors, including disability, illness, medication or surgery can also be a significant barrier to sexual health.
A study of “Sexuality and Health Among Older Adults in the United States” suggests that among the respondents who were sexually active, about half of them reported at least one bothersome sexual problem.