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Welcome to CareNotes. In this special section we will feature a reader's letter and provide an opportunity for an interactive exchange that will help find some answers and possible solutions to concerns. If you wish to respond to this letter, simple follow the link provided at the end of the letter and add your comments and thoughts to our CareNotes Board.

This Week's Carenote - 11/24/09

My father-in-law is in a nursing home.  I asked how to handle his attention to the ladies, and was told to "Take the door off".   Well, the nursing home said the fire regulations will not allow them to do that.  So, they've increased his progesterone and anti-depression meds.  The lady now says she's married to him.  He does not admit to being married to her.  

Both Doctors say they are of  "sound mind".  They are both going to see a psychiatrist and hopefully he will say they are NOT of sound mind.  THEN the nursing home can  be more assertive about keeping the door open, etc., etc.

Any suggestions??


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Name: Michelle
Location: Washington DC
Date: 11/24/2009
Time: 07:49 AM


Without all the necessary info it's hard to answer, but remember that sexuality is a part of adulthood...even the elderly. There is some affect on sexuality where in anti-depressants tend to reduce Labido. The issue in persons who are not "of sound mind" is really do they understand enough of what they are doing and can the consent to or say no to advances of others. Is one party more inpaired than the other? Is it rape? For some seniors it may just be appropriate to give them a private area to share in their intimacy as you would if they were 50 years old or 40 or 30 and married. Loneliness is a terrible thing and we need to be careful how quickly we judge intimacy in seniors, while protecting those who might be vulnerable to unwanted advances.

Name: Anne Nuss
Location: Reading PA
Date: 11/25/2009
Time: 05:26 AM


Oh, these are such complex issues for nursing homes and awkward for families. Personally, I think our "rights" are often protected beyond what's good for us. In this case, I wonder what the real concerns are? Are these 2 adults welcoming each other's attention? Are they wanting to cuddle or have sex? Is one annoying and overbearing to the other? I wish our culture would worry as much about violence as we do about physicial and emotional expressions of love. Being proven not of sound mind which results in isolation and deprivation of touch and caring doesn't sound like a great conclusion to me. That being said though, each of these residents needs to be safe and protected, and from each other if the attempted actions are undesired or unwelcome.


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