ELDERLY SEXUALITY ADDRESSED IN OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY THROUGH A FAMILY SCHOLARS LENS
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThis paper reviews literature concerning sexuality within the elderly population, elderly individuals’ utilization of occupational therapy, occupational therapists’ understanding of sexuality for elderly populations, and ends with recommendations for occupational therapists to better support their older clients. Positive sexuality, which involves having fulfilling sexual experiences and being comfortable with one's sexual identity, is associated with physical and psychological beneficial outcomes across the lifespan. It is not limited to young adults; maintaining sexual activity and satisfaction has positive effects on physical and psychological well-being as people age. Despite this, sexuality is often neglected for the elderly population. This neglect comes from societal biases at large, from medical professionals in general, and occupational therapists specifically.The narrative is often: older people are no longer sexual people.The extant literature creates a clear picture: individuals desire and enjoy sexuality well into their older years and the profession of occupational therapy is neglecting this reality. This paper ends with seven recommendations: (1) Counter Self-Fulfilling Narratives; (2) Understand Changing Life Demands that Affect Sexual Function; (3) Champion Affirmative Aging Views; (4) Leverage Relationships; (5) Work as a Team of Health Care Professionals; (6) Avoid Biomedical Model; (7) Consider Alternative Models Regarding Healthy Sexuality.
Degree ProgramFamily Studies and Human Development