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In this day and age, there is greater openness and willingness to have important conversations regarding sexuality, sexual expression, and sexual health than there was even just a decade ago, and a great deal of attention has been placed upon shaping understandings and discussions of sexuality to better promote safe, healthy, and fulfilling sexual relationships. The reality is, however, that these efforts are most often directed towards those in adolescence and adulthood, and very little emphasis has been placed upon working to promote a willingness to talk about the sexualities of older members of the population. Popular discourse tends to support the notion that seniors and older adults lack any form of sexual drive or desire. The common understanding, influenced in large part by the taboo that still accompanies discussions of seniors’ sexualities, is that older individuals no longer take part in sexual activity or have the same degree of sexual desire as younger members of the population. Contrary to these beliefs, however, sexual intimacy continues to be an enriching and important aspect of life for many seniors.
Being able to drive around means that seniors can take themselves to their appointments, go on enjoyable outings whenever they want, visit friends and family without a great deal of fuss, and really just navigate their time without having to consult with other people about how to get where they want to go. With all of the changes that take place for seniors in older age, many individuals feel as though they are slowly losing aspects of their independence and self-sufficiency but by bit, and the notion of not being able to drive anymore can come as a devastating blow. For this reason, many seniors want to keep driving as long as possible, even if they are noticing that driving is becoming more challenging. For family members, friends, and caregivers of seniors, it can be challenging to determine when the time has come for them to stop driving and how best to navigate the discussions and arrangements that must follow when that point has been reached.
Despite this, it is important not to abandon hope or assume that trying to communicate effectively is a lost cause. Even the smallest or most fleeting of moments during which a sense of connectedness is experienced can be so incredibly meaningful, and there are strategies that can help facilitate and nurture better communication with seniors who have Dementia that can help to bring those special moments to life. Even as new challenges present themselves, remember that there is always room for hope.