a publication of the sexuality and aging consortium at widener university

Nursing Home Sex Stifled by Safety Fears

Submitted by Joan Garrity

“Older adults need to have pleasures, because that’s what helps counterbalance the challenges they face when they become infirmed and move into a nursing home,” says Robin Dessel, director of memory care services and sexual rights educator at the Hebrew Home at Riverdale.

The Hebrew Home at Riverdale New York is an oasis of compassion and courage in a large desert of misunderstanding and fear.  While the benefits of physical and emotional intimacy never leave us, too many residential facilities for aging adults are not able to manage their own discomfort and unwillingness to face the very real complexities of accommodating this very real and human need.  This article beautifully illustrate how residential facilities can overcome those fears and provide the safe space their residents deserve to continue to celebrate their sexual selves.  Through our conferences and the expertise of our members, the Sexuality and Aging Consortium at Widener University offer opportunities to develop the skills and understanding needed.


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