Public Perspectives Toward the Sexual Behavior of an Individual With Dementia Residing in Long-Term Care [2017]

Objective: This study examines public perspectives toward sexual behavior within a heterosexually married couple in which one individual has dementia and resides in a long-term care facility.

Method: Respondents included 318 adults in the Southern United States. Paired sample t tests were used to understand how the diagnosis of dementia statistically influenced participants’ responses, and a logistic regression model was used to understand how a vignette character’s sex and respondent characteristics influenced attitudes.

Results: Fifty-eight percent of respondents believed that a sexual relationship should be permitted for an adult with dementia, and t tests revealed that dementia had a statistical effect on participants’ responses. Sex of the vignette character was not a predictor of attitudes. Participant’s qualitative rationales are offered for additional insight.

Discussion: Respondents who felt that a couple should not engage in a sexual relationship commonly cited consent-related issues as their primary concern. Implications for policy development are discussed.

Erin L. Yelland, PhD, Adam W. Cless, BS, Allen B. Mallory, MS, Jessica D. Cless, MS
Journal of Aging and Health, Vol 30, Issue 5, 2018