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Supporting expression of sexuality focus of new dementia grant

Creating care environments that better support the verbalisation and expression of sexual preference, need and desire is at the heart of newly funded Australian research.

Dr Cindy Jones from Bond University has been granted a $75,000 share of the $1 million Dementia Australia Research Foundation Project grants.

It’s one of 17 new projects that will share in the initiative.

Jones said project will help aged care professionals understand and honour the sexual preferences of older adults, particularly those living with dementia.

“Relevant care staff need to be more equipped to start these conversations and make progress in this area,” Jones said.

“People living with dementia’s ability to express their sexuality is important to their physical and sexual health, quality of life and psychosocial wellbeing.”

In an earlier interview with Aged Care Insite, Jones said care staff often find it quite challenging to respond to the sexual needs of people with dementia.

She said staff often see expression of sexuality as a problem rather than an expression of need, but added staff knowledge and attitudes are shifting in a positive direction.

“It’s important, within reason, to try to support as much as possible sexual expression of older people, including those with dementia, in an aged care environment.”

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