Leading charity develops workshops to break the taboo around sex and dementia

The Alzheimer’s Society has developed a workshop to help care homes tackle the stigma around sex and the intimacy needs of people living with dementia, which will launch at the UK Dementia Congress in Brighton next week.

Research conducted by the charity revealed rights and needs of those in care homes are often overlooked when it comes to sexual activity and being intimate, so the charity has working with care professionals, sector experts and those living with dementia to create ‘Lift the Lid.’

The ‘Lift the Lid’ campaign is a series of workshops in a box based on three creative activities to challenge perceptions and behaviours.

Research from care home teams showed many had not considered the sexual and intimacy needs of their residents before, while others did not know how to approach the subject or lacked guidance on the subject.

‘Lift the Lid’ was designed by the charity to help care teams agree shared value and actions to take.

Colin Capper, head of research development at the Alzheimer’s Society, said: “Sex and intimacy in the context of a care home raises countless questions that many people don’t know how to answer or don’t even want to think about – and when you consider that 70% of people in care homes are living with dementia, the conversation gets even more complicated.

“Many see this as a taboo topic, but we believe care home staff are best placed to tackle this challenge and make a real difference to the lives and loves of people with dementia.

“There is no ‘one size fits all’ solution but ‘Lift the Lid’ is a flexible tool to help care home staff talk through the issues in a create and constructive way.”

‘Lift the Lid’ was tested in 10 care homes run by Bupa, Four Seasons Health Care and Berkley Care Group.

“Dementia research isn’t all about finding a cure; we’re also investing in vital care research and innovate projects like ‘Lift the Lid,’ because we owe it to the 850,000 people in the UK currently living with dementia to understand the condition better so that they can live better.”

The workshops will help care homes put a sex and intimacy policy in place, so care teams feel confident they’re delivering person-centered support in line with the Care Quality Commission’s guidelines.

They are also designed to support care homes achieve ‘outstanding’ rating as it would demonstrate commitment to inclusion, human rights, diversity, innovation, quality and responsiveness.

‘Lift the Lid’ will launch at the UK Dementia Congress on 6-8 November and has already been shortlisted in the National Dementia Care Awards 2018 as an outstanding innovation.

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