Hard to Love
Addressing Sexuality in Long-Term Care: A Person-centered Approach to Intimacy and Dementia

by Wendy Boren, BS, RN
QIPMO, Clinical Consultant/Educator

In 2004, Nicholas Sparks shocked the world with his movie The Notebook, a cinematic portrayal of love and Alzheimer’s. Until that time, families and caregivers tended to view any type of dementia with a clinical kind of sigh and despondency. But within the love story of Allie and Noah, we find the range of human emotions that still exist as Allie copes with her memory loss and her emotional and physical attraction to the man currently in her life (who turns out, of course, to be her Noah.) Roach (2004) states that “sexual sensations are among the last of the pleasure-giving processes to deteriorate”.(1) Added to that, every person with or without dementia, is an individual. Therefore, why would we, as caregivers, create a blanket rule and take away arguably the strongest, most primal emotion to be experienced by anyone, particularly those who no longer have the stress of paying bills, fighting political adversity, and time management? If you think about it, sex and intimacy is a huge part of taking those normal stressors away. Imagine how much more sensational, literally, it would be when that is your sole focus.

The full article can be found HERE!