Sex and the Single Septuagenarian

sexRecently there was a court case in Coralville, Iowa.  A married woman whose husband lived outside the nursing home.  Her lover lived in the home.   He was 78. She was 87.  She had Alzheimer’s.  He had dementia.  He was dying of cancer.  Both had children.

They were discovered en flagrante in her room, sitting on her bed–talking.  They were naked from the waist down.  Her Alzheimer’s manifested itself in extreme aggressiveness and agitation.  She was calling him by her husband’s name.   But she seemed happy.    The nursing home did not have a problem with any of this.

The nursing home notified both families. At the time, they had no probem either.  Neither moved their parents.   Then it happened again. They were in the man’s room.   She hit the staff as they broke it up.  They gave him drugs to curb his sexual appetite.  The nursing home did not notify the state authorities.

When it was discovered during a record audit in 2010, the Administrator and Director of Nursing were fired and the nursing home was fined.  The man was forced to find a new residence.   In 2011, the woman’s family decided to sue.   The case was settled in 2012. The Director of Nursing lost her license over it.

According to, 38.5 % of men and and 16.7 % of women between the ages of 75-85 are sexually active.   Along with the idea that just a few women must be having multiple men,  additional issues have been raised.   Some of the sexually active have Alzheimer’s.   Some of them are in nursing homes.

This could be us in the not too distant future.

I used to think that me and my friends would all end up at a place called the Rock and Roll Nursing Home.   Like Rock and Roll High School, only in wheelchairs.  I never thought about having a boyfriend there.  Or a husband.   And now that I am thinking about it, I can’t believe there are going to be any problems.   Since when did the age of consent have a downside?

At this time, only New Jersey, Rhode Island, Vermont and Colorado have laws in place protecting conjugal activities between unmarried adults in nursing homes. 18 other states protect the rights of married people to private visits. Guess the “The Notebook” took place in one of them.

The rest of the states follow the current federal guidelines.  There is a bill of rights for nursing home residents.   Privacy is mentioned; the details relate more to keeping personal belongings.   Figures.

There is a center for medicare and medicaid services (CMS) deep inside our goverment.  They are the ones who set the standards.  They are the ones who forced the Coralville home to evict the man.   There is a similar agency in the Veteran’s  Administration.

The issue in Coralville was the woman’s ability to give consent.  Eventually,  it was determined that she had given consent.

It is unknown as to whether she consented to her family’s lawsuit.

The two main groups advocating for nursing home residents are:

Friends of Residents of Long Term Care

Foundation for Aiding the Elderly

Neither has specifically addressed sexual expression.  But they do emphasize self-determination.

On the bright side, there is one woman who has been thinking about this for a while.   Her name is Joan Price.   She has written two books on the subject and recently edited a book of erotic fiction called “Ageless Erotica”.

“Talkin’ ’bout my generation”–The Who


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