Embracing Residents’ Sexuality

We all have different perceptions when we hear the word “sexuality.” The World Health Organization’s definition connects sexuality to our sense of mental and physical well-being across our lifespan: “[Sexuality] encompasses sex, gender identities and roles, sexual orientation, eroticism, pleasure, intimacy, and reproduction. Sexuality is experienced and expressed in thoughts, fantasies, desires, beliefs, attitudes, values, behaviors, practices, roles, and relationships.”

Regardless of age, sexuality can evoke sentiments of joy, romance, affection, and feelings of closeness and being wanted and valued as a human being. Within health care settings and senior living communities, sexuality can be regarded as a delicate topic, and discussions of patient and resident sexuality often create hesitance and discomfort in employees.

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