Despite the onset of age, it is now accepted that people continue to have an abiding interest in sex. This is particularly evident in people in old age homes and long term care where the administrators and nurses accept the fact as normal.
However, there are occasions when inappropriate sexual behavior is manifest. In such cases, young nurses are generally the targets of approach. Furthermore, sufferers of dementia are often the victims of abuse in homes.
Being able to recognize and address such acts of sexual misbehavior is part of the training of nursing staff in such institutions.
Surprisingly little is known about normal sexual behavior of older adults, much less sexual misbehavior. Often an evaluation has to be made on the spot. Statistics indicate that ‘compulsive’ sexual behavior is estimated to affect between 3 and 6 percent of Americans regardless of age or gender. But this is likely to be evident more in men than in women. It is generally accepted that such behavior is due to changes in the brain’s circuitry that comes on with age.
Sexual misbehavior in older adults should be treated as any other symptom of a psychological -- or in rare cases physical -- malfunction and should be investigated as such. A thorough study should be made of the patient’s sexual history, past relationships and sexual conduct toward arriving at a course of treatment.
Behavioral management should be the first route of intervention with the active involvement of the relatives of the adult. If this approach seems ineffective, then medication will have to be resorted to.
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