An integrated literature review on sexuality of elderly nursing home residents with dementia

Int J Nurs Pract. 2015 May;21 Suppl 2:80-90. doi: 10.1111/ijn.12317. Epub 2014 Apr 24.


This study presents an integrative literature review on sexuality among elderly people with dementia living in nursing homes. Original research studies published from 1980 to 2012 were included in the review. Sexual expressions ranged from holding hands to sexual intercourse. These behaviours were sometimes directed towards caregivers while the latter were providing daily care. Sexual expressions were sometimes assessed and reported subjectively without context. Responses to sexual expressions varied from positive to negative. Some sexual expressions were dealt with inconsistently, and some were considered to be problematic due to a lack of policy or privacy. It is important to assess and report sexual expressions objectively, preferably with a standardized form, and to consider context in doing so. Effort is required to provide privacy for residents' sexual expressions and a safe environment for all residents and caregivers. It is important that a policy and guidelines for care be established regarding issues related to sexuality among elderly people with dementia.

Keywords: aged; behaviour; dementia; nursing homes; sexuality.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Dementia / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Nursing Homes*
  • Sexuality / psychology*