Sexuality and the Human Rights of Persons With Dementia

C. Peisah*, L. Ayalon, H. Verbeek, S.M. Benbow, E. Wiskerke, K. Rabheru, O. Sorinmade

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

We explore barriers to enjoyment of human rights to sexuality of persons with dementia and remedies for addressing these. Enjoyment of sexuality is contingent upon actualization of rights to dignity, autonomy, respect for will and preferences, abuse safeguarding and equitable access to highest standards of sexual health. Persons with dementia living at home or in care face systemic barriers to enjoyment of sexuality fueled by ageism, apathy and ignorance, compounded by complex legal barriers in relation to consent. Such challenges can be tackled with awareness raising and education of care staff, families and physicians, including training for capacity assessment with dimensional, noncategorical conceptualization of capacity, leaving room for supported decisionmaking. These measures, together with strengthened legislative and human rights frameworks to cater to the specific needs of older people, may allow people to live well with dementia and exercise their human rights to enjoy sexuality in a safe and lawful manner. (Am J Geriatr Psychiatry 2021; 29:1021-1026)
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1021-1026
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry
Volume29
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2021

Keywords

  • Sexuality
  • human rights
  • intimacy dementia
  • CARE
  • EXPRESSION
  • RESIDENTS
  • JUDGMENTS
  • INTIMACY
  • CAPACITY
  • CONSENT
  • COUPLE
  • VIEWS
  • HOME

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