Sexual Activity and Expression among Older Adults

September 13, 2013 | Aging Services Risk, Quality, & Safety Guidance

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​Studies have negated the pervasive stereotype of the “asexual” older adult, underscoring the importance of supporting older adults’ sexual health and behavior, according to a review article in the August 2013 Journal of the American Medical Directors Association. In a U.S. study, 73% of people age 57 to 64, 53% of people age 65 to 74, and 26% of people age 75 to 85 reported being sexually active. In a study conducted by AARP, many older adults indicated that they want healthcare providers to cultivate an open, accepting environment in which sexual issues can be discussed. Other studies have found that older adults often want to discuss sexual issues with their physicians but usually do not raise such matters unless asked. Only a little research has addressed sexual activity in long-term residential care.

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