Date of Paper

5-2012

Type of Paper

Clinical research paper

Degree Name

msw

Department

socialwork

First Advisor

Sarah Ferguson

Abstract

Sexual needs do not disappear as a person ages. It is possible for older adults to maintain their desired level of sexual activity if the environment is accepting and accommodating for the adults’ needs. Those who are institutionalized in nursing homes often have fewer opportunities to meet their needs than those who are not. The purpose of this project was to explore nursing home caregivers’ attitudes toward sexual behavior in their residents and thus assist in identifying areas for further education and educational programming that will allow residents to lead full and happy lives and meet the needs of the older adult. Data was gathered in nursing homes in a Midwestern metropolitan area using a survey comprised of questions from the 2009 AARP sexuality study. Statistical tests including t-tests, ANOVA, and correlations were used to examine the relationship between demographic variables and the attitude scale score devised for this study. The findings indicated that there were no significant relationships between the variables and the attitudes scale score. The scale score itself was distributed indicating only moderate acceptance of sexual behavior by caregivers. The findings indicate that further education on the sexual needs and rights of older adults may be necessary to allow for nursing home residents to meet their needs without facing judgment and shame.

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